PocketDerm: One month in | Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog

07 August, 2014

PocketDerm: One month in

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At the end of June I wrote about how I was starting acne treatment with PocketDerm, so since a few weeks have passed I thought this would be a good time to write about how it's going. The short version? Not bad. Want me to be more specific? Keep reading.

In case you've never heard of PocketDerm, it's an online service for treating acne. Here are some details:

  • PocketDerm costs $19.95 per month. The price includes online consultations with a dermatologist, topical acne medication, and shipping costs. By default you're set up to do a consultation and receive new medication every 90 days, but you can request it more often if necessary at no extra charge.
  • When you sign up, you will be paired with a specific dermatologist. At present, PocketDerm is available in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, Washington, D. C., Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
  • Your assigned dermatologist will diagnose you based on photos you provide and the questionnaire you fill out when you sign up. PocketDerm is only for the treatment of acne at this time.
You can also look at my first post about PocketDerm or their website for more info.

I don't have any before and after pics to share because I feel like my results have been pretty minor so far, so I'll try to be as descriptive as possible. Just as a reminder, my current formulation is 0.018% Tretinoin, 1% Clindamycin, and 8% Azelaic Acid.

  • After about a week of usage I experienced what seemed to be an acne "purge" - mostly small whiteheads and closed comedones on my forehead. I'm assuming this was a result of PocketDerm because (a) I've read that tretinoin can do that and (b) I didn't try any new makeup, skincare, or haircare around that time. The "purge" went away after about two weeks.
  • My skin feels a bit drier after using PocketDerm, but I haven't experienced any excessive flaking or dryness. This actually surprised me because I've read a lot of things about flakiness as a result of tretinoin usage.
  • The base product is fragrance-free, but it smells kind of like crayons to me. I don't love it.
  • There is spot on the side of my face that often becomes a cluster of cystic acne and redness. That seems to have diminished since I started using PocketDerm.

That's about all I have to report so far. I've seen good results from the product in the sense that it's helping clear up that nasty cystic spot on my face, but otherwise I haven't really seen much of an improvement in skin texture. I wonder if I might need a slightly higher % of tretinoin. This is something I will consult with my derm about soon.

Not a very exciting update, but hey, it's better than some horror story about how my face burned off. I'm curious: If anyone else out there reading is using PocketDerm, how have you found it so far? Are you experiencing excessive dryness and flaking? Am I a freak for not having it?

If you want to try PocketDerm for yourself, you can get your first month free by signing up through my referral link. Or somebody else's referral link. But you should really use a referral link because free things are good.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, check out my full disclosure policy.


  1. Thank you for posting this, I've been wanting to try it!

  2. I plan on posting an update Friday! I definitely see progress and most of my cystic acne cleared up, but I've recently limited the oral prescription he gave me and saw some bumps come back

  3. Interesting. I wasn't given an oral prescription so I wonder how big of a difference that makes? My acne was fairly minor to begin with though. I look forward to reading your update!

  4. Thanks for this post! I've been thinking about getting this service for the acne on my back? Do they do that? Or is it face only?

  5. Hmm, that's an interesting question and I'm not sure of the answer. When I signed up I was prompted to provide pictures of my body (if I wanted to) and my derm suggested I use an AHA treatment (because my main body issue is really more just KP at the moment), but I don't know if they'd suggest using the topical medication under more severe circumstances. You could write them and ask? Or go through the signup process and consultation to see? The first month is legitimately free (they didn't bill my card the $19.95 until the end of my first month) so there's not a whole lot to lose.

  6. No problem! I hope it works for you.

  7. I've been using tretinoin regularly for just under 2 years now, and I still get flakiness if I don't moisturize well. It's really only around my mouth, though. I usually just top off my evening skincare with a layer of Aquaphor and that gets rid of it.
    I'm kinda surprised you're not having better results from it. Tretinoin was kind of like my miracle product. It got rid of my acne plus it makes my skin feel so nice and soft. Maybe it'll wow you in a few weeks!

  8. Out of curiosity, do you remember what % tretinoin you started with? And how long it took for you to see results? I'm hoping that the impact will be more noticeable in another month. I do follow it up with heavy night moisturizers so that may be why I'm not getting the flakies, who knows.