Frequently Asked Questions


PocketDerm offers online prescription acne treatment from any smartphone or computer.
Questions? Email [email protected] – we're here to help!

General

  1. Will I have my own dermatologist?
Absolutely. One of our board-certified dermatologists (with an active medical license in your state) will review your sign-up consultation and photos. The same doctor will follow up to make changes to your regimen as necessary, and you may message him or her at any time. No phone calls; no waiting rooms.
  1. How is PocketDerm different from Proactiv?
PocketDerm contains prescription ingredients, while ProactivTM does not. When used appropriately, prescription medications can be much more effective than non-prescription products. Learn more

  1. Will I get 100% clear skin?
No physician can offer that type of guarantee. Unlike engineering or mathematics, medicine is not an exact science, given the unique nature of individuals. We promise to treat you in the most ethical, up-to-date, and safe way possible. We hope you will be delighted with your care -- and with the improvement in your skin!
  1. I already have a dermatologist. Should I use PocketDerm?
We recommend you stay with your dermatologist rather than become a PocketDerm member. Your current doctor can continue to treat you in a face-to-face manner that is not available through PocketDerm.

Your current dermatologist has expertise in prescribing various products that are proven to be effective against acne. Many of these prescription products have active ingredients similar to what you might receive in a PocketDerm formulation.

The people who will benefit most from PocketDerm are those who would not otherwise have access to a board-certified dermatologist.
  1. What if I am seeing an aesthetician for treatments?
It's great that you are taking measures to care for your skin! We advise that you continue with acne facials (extractions), light peels and/or aesthetician-recommended home use products, as long as you are tolerating them and feel that they are helpful.

Your dermatologist at PocketDerm can take your treatment to the next level if you need a little more help. In fact, aestheticians often refer their clients to PocketDerm for collaborative care.

Our Customized Medications

  1. What makes PocketDerm medications so unique?
Powerful Prescription Ingredients
PocketDerm medications combine multiple prescription ingredients into one light, nourishing cream. We use proven ingredients that are only available with a doctor's prescription. The ingredients work together to unclog pores, fight acne-causing bacteria, and decrease inflammation in the skin.

Personalized
Your dermatologist prescribes your specific ingredients based on your photos, your skin sensitivity, your treatment history, and any medication allergies. Your dermatologist may adjust your medication as your treatment progresses.

Easy to Use
Our regimen fits easily into your daily routine — just apply it every evening before bed.

Gentle
Our products are non-comedogenic (meaning they don’t clog pores). They are free of dyes and fragrances.

Made in the USA
Based on our dermatologists’ prescriptions for each patient, all PocketDerm medications are custom-made using state-of-the-art equipment at our office in San Diego, CA.
  1. How do I use my PocketDerm medication?
Your PocketDerm medication should be be applied once daily before bed, so that the ingredients work while you sleep. PocketDerm members receive specific advice on skin care and how to use their product.
  1. How do I use your medication bottles?
PocketDerm bottles are custom-made with an airless pump delivery system. The airless pump is a complex mechanism that helps prevent contamination of the bottle’s contents. It also helps prevent excess oxygen from coming into contact with the product.

Tips for using our airless pump bottles:

1. Never try to open the bottle - this can compromise the airless pumping mechanism.

2. You will occasionally experience a few empty pumps before the product comes out - this is completely normal for airless dispensing systems.

3. If no product comes out after 5 pumps, you should “prime” the pump. To do this, put the cap on, hold the bottle upside-down, and gently tap the top of the bottle against a flat surface.
  1. Where are PocketDerm medications made?
Based on our dermatologists’ prescriptions for each patient, all PocketDerm medications are custom-made using state-of-the-art equipment at our office in San Diego, CA.
  1. What ingredients will be in my medication?
The active ingredients are determined by your dermatologist on a person-by-person basis. Commonly used ingredients include tretinoin, clindamycin, and azelaic acid.

The inactive ingredients are: water, glycerin, aloe vera leaf juice, PEG-100 myristate, sweet almond seed oil, methyl paraben, propyl paraben, tocopheryl acetate.

The inactive ingredients have been specifically designed and tested to be pharmacologically stable with the active ingredients we use.
  1. What is the pH?
The pH of our medications is approximately 4.5, which is in the natural range best suited for optimal skin care.
  1. May I request a prescription for a manufactured acne product such as Retin-A?
We pioneered a way of creating individualized acne regimens, and our patients love it!

The active ingredient in Retin-A (tretinoin) may be present in your PocketDerm prescription formula, along with other active ingredients. Your dermatologist will assess your complexion and create a topical prescription for your unique needs.

At this time, PocketDerm does not prescribe manufactured topical products such as Retin-A. For patients who would like such a product, we encourage you to find a board-certified dermatologist near you at www.aad.org/find-a-derm.
  1. Is PocketDerm FDA-approved for acne?
The active ingredients we use have been FDA approved to be safe and effective in the treatment of acne. Because we make every bottle individually depending on each patient’s needs, the individual bottles are not FDA approved.
  1. Can PocketDerm help reduce signs of skin aging?
Our formulations often contain the ingredient tretinoin, best known as the active ingredient in Retin-A™, which is FDA-approved for the treatment of acne. It is available only by prescription.

Evidence shows that tretinoin can reduce fine facial wrinkles and brown spots in patients who use comprehensive skin care and sunlight avoidance programs.

If your dermatologist determines that tretinoin is indicated for your acne treatment, it will be one of the active ingredients in your PocketDerm formula at a strength selected by your dermatologist.

Pricing

  1. How much does PocketDerm cost?
PocketDerm membership is $19.95 per month.

Membership is all-inclusive, including doctor consultations, messaging, and shipments of your prescription acne medication. Membership is charged monthly to the credit card on file.

Our average patient has consultations with their dermatologist every 30-90 days. We never charge extra for patients who require more frequent consultations.

Shipments occur as often as you need them. We never charge extra based on frequency of shipment, and there is no extra charge for shipping and handling.
  1. Do you accept insurance?
While we do not currently accept insurance, we aim to provide exceptional value for our patients. Our membership price includes dermatologist consultations, messaging, and shipments of your customized acne product.

In the event that you are prescribed antibiotics pills, these medications are covered by most insurance plans.
  1. Is PocketDerm less expensive than seeing a dermatologist at a medical office?
In many cases, it is less expensive to use PocketDerm than it is to go see a dermatologist. Aside from the time it takes out of your day, the price of visiting a brick-and-mortar dermatology office often includes specialist copayments in addition to the copayments for various medications that you would be picking up from the pharmacy.
  1. How much time does PocketDerm save me compared to going to a medical office?
One visit to a dermatologist can take hours out of your day when you account for driving, signing in, and waiting for the doctor. And don't forget to tack on time for a trip to the pharmacy. We believe PocketDerm saves the average patient several hours in the first three months of treatment alone.
  1. How can PocketDerm be so affordable?
Our board-certified dermatologists have spent much of their careers treating patients in traditional brick-and-mortar dermatology offices, which come with a lot of expenses. By eliminating the need for a physical office, we reduce our overhead, allowing us to pass on the savings to you.
  1. Is it easy to cancel?
  1. Do you have a money-back guarantee?
Our patients' satisfaction is our highest priority. If you are unsatisfied for any reason, we will refund 100% of the money you have been charged. This is valid any time within the first 90 days of membership.

To request a refund, just email [email protected] from your registered email address and we will refund 100% of your money to the credit card you used for your purchase.

Technical

  1. Can I use a smartphone to see my doctor?
Yes, PocketDerm's web application was engineered to work on all of your devices. You may sign up, upload photos, and message your dermatologist using any smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  1. How often do I receive doctor consultations and product shipments?
Our average patient has consultations with their dermatologist every 30-90 days. We never charge extra for patients who require more frequent consultations.

Shipments occur as often as you need them. We never charge extra based on frequency of shipments, and there are no extra charges for shipping and handling.
  1. How do I take high-quality photos of my skin?
Remove any makeup before taking the photos. Use a well-lit room.

You may take photos with your smartphone or with any digital camera. For best results, have someone take your photos for you.

Your face should fill the entire frame.

The more photos you upload, the easier it is for your dermatologist to evaluate your skin.
  1. I would like an in-person or video visit. Can you help me?
Our proprietary web app is set up for easy messaging with your dermatologist, as well as uploading photos at any time. It is not set up for in-person, telephone, or video consultations.

An in-person visit may be necessary for good medical care in some cases, and we want you to receive the best care possible. If you would like to find a local dermatologist, you may go to www.aad.org/find-a-derm for assistance. You may have to expand the search radius if you are in a rural area. You will find well-qualified dermatologists, and we trust that you will soon be on your way to clearer skin.
  1. How does PocketDerm's messaging system work?
Our messaging system aims to make contacting your dermatologist as easy as sending a text message. The goal is to eliminate barriers so that each patient can have all of their questions answered.

You may send any questions to your dermatologist from your smartphone, tablet, or computer, and your dermatologist will respond to you as soon as possible. When you have a response, you will be notified by email. Our web interface also allows you to securely upload photos at any time.

There is never an additional charge for messaging your dermatologist.
  1. If I am prescribed antibiotic pills, where do I get them?
Some PocketDerm patients receive optional prescriptions for pills in addition to their topical medication. This is determined on a case-by-case basis between the doctor and patient.

If your dermatologist recommends this for you, we will transmit the prescription to your local pharmacy. We do not charge extra for this service, and we prescribe medications that are covered by most insurance plans.
  1. What happens if I run out of antibiotic pills that you prescribe?
Some PocketDerm patients receive optional prescriptions for pills in addition to their topical medication. This is determined on a case-by-case basis between the doctor and patient.

After you pick up the pills from the pharmacy, there will be an area on the bottle that designates the number of refills that were given by your doctor. If you have refills remaining, all you have to do is call the pharmacy in order to receive another month's supply of the pills.

If there are zero refills remaining, you need to complete a follow-up consultation with your PocketDerm dermatologist in order to receive a prescription refill. This is because it is important for your doctor to assess your progress and any side effects that you may be having.

As always, there is no extra charge for follow-up consultations.

Medical

  1. Is it safe to diagnose acne online?
Absolutely. Acne is a visual diagnosis, and an experienced dermatologist can treat it based on high-quality photos and the answers to some important medical questions.

In some cases your PocketDerm dermatologist may recommend that you see a local dermatologist, in which case you would not be charged by PocketDerm.
  1. What is "teledermatology"?
Teledermatology is the use of secure communication to provide dermatologic care over a distance. It is a valuable tool for bringing reliable and effective treatment to a wide variety of patients.
  1. Who is performing my consultation?
Every PocketDerm patient is partnered with a board-certified dermatologist who is licensed to practice medicine in the patient's home state. Every follow-up consultation and all patient-doctor messaging are forwarded to that same dermatologist.

Our dermatologists live and practice in the United States. They graduated from leading medical schools, and completed dermatology residencies that are accredited by the American Board of Dermatology.
  1. What can I expect regarding improvement in my skin?
Improvement typically occurs gradually, with some occasional setbacks, even as the general trend is a positive one. Dermatology textbooks, in general, state that one should not judge how a patient is responding to a prescribed regimen until at least 6 weeks have passed. So, we do prescribe a little patience along with your medications!
  1. What if I need a doctor immediately or feel that I am having a side effect from my medication?
It is important that you to be seen and evaluated promptly if you have any concerns. PocketDerm is not set up to handle medical emergencies. If you feel that you need a faster response than we can give you via our messaging system, we recommend that you contact your Primary Care Physician and/or go to your nearest Urgent Care Center or Emergency Room.
  1. Can you communicate with my local doctor about my prescriptions from PocketDerm?
Absolutely. Let your dermatologist know and he or she will be happy to communicate with your local doctor.
  1. Will PocketDerm permanently cure my acne?
Because acne is caused by normal hormones, your PocketDerm regimen will not permanently "cure" you. Once you find a treatment that is successful in clearing your skin, you need to stick with it!

We make it easy to stick with your PocketDerm regimen by eliminating the need for trips to the doctor's office and by shipping a convenient once-daily formulation.
  1. What is the difference between prescription and non-prescription acne treatment?
The primary non-prescription (over-the-counter) ingredients for acne are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. These are the ingredients in many non-prescription acne treatments such as ProactivTM, Clean & ClearTM, MuradTM, OxyTM, and StridexTM. For some people they can be irritating or simply not work.

Prescription ingredients require a doctor's evaluation. Common examples include tretinoin (Retin-ATM, TriLumaTM, ZianaTM), adapalene (DifferinTM, EpiduoTM), clindamycin (CleocinTM, BenzaclinTM), erythromycin (benzamycin), azelaic acid (FinaciaTM, AzelexTM), and dapsone (AczoneTM).

When used appropriately, prescription treatments can be more effective and less irritating than non-prescription acne treatments.
  1. Is PocketDerm better than other prescription acne treatments?
Our patients love PocketDerm because it’s convenient, it’s customized, and it’s powerful (each bottle contains multiple active ingredients that are only available with a doctor's prescription).

It’s important to note, though, that PocketDerm uses ingredients similar to those available in other prescription acne creams.

If you have tried various combinations of prescription acne creams and they have not been successful, we recommend continuing to work with your current dermatologist. He or she may decide to try different treatment options, possibly including prescription pills for acne.
  1. What about facial hair waxing?
If your medication contains tretinoin you should not have any facial hair waxed, as this will result in a rash. However, threading and tweezing are perfectly fine!

Eligibility

  1. Is there an age limit?
We do not treat patients who are under 13 years old.

For patients between the ages of 13 and 18, parental consent is required and treatment occurs in a collaborative fashion with the patient's parent or guardian.
  1. Can I get treatment for any other skin conditions?
At this time, PocketDerm is for acne only.
  1. Does PocketDerm get rid of acne scars?
If you do not have acne but only have acne scars, you should visit a dermatologist in person. PocketDerm is meant for patients who currently have acne - and by getting rid of active lesions, it helps prevent future acne scarring.
  1. My acne is really bad; can you help me?
If you have very severe acne, with large nodules, cysts, and scars, we may be able to help you or we may advise that you see a local Dermatologist for evaluation. Do not give up. There are multiple options for treatment and at times there may be a need for blood tests to monitor your treatment or to check for hormonal abnormalities that may be making your acne worse.
  1. Do you prescribe isotretinoin (Accutane)?
Isotretinoin is an acne-fighting pill for people with severe, treatment-resistant acne. "Accutane" was the original brand name for isotretinoin and while that particular brand is no longer available, the name is still commonly used.

Patients who are prescribed isotretinoin must be seen in-person by their dermatologist and must be monitored with blood tests (and pregnancy tests, if female).

For these reasons, we do not prescribe isotretinoin at PocketDerm.

Most in-person dermatology practices do prescribe isotretinoin to select patients who do not see improvement with other prescription treatments. To inquire about this treatment, we encourage you to find a board-certified dermatologist near you at www.aad.org/find-a-derm.
  1. Is PocketDerm available in my state?
PocketDerm is already available across most of the United States, and we're working hard to provide access to people in every single state.

Currently, our dermatologists are licensed in 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, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Washington, D. C., Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
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Anti-Aging – Launching Soon


We're excited to be launching PocketDerm Anti-Aging later this month.

In the meantime, please visit PocketDerm Acne to see a dermatologist online and get a prescription acne treatment shipped to your door.

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Acne or Anti-Aging?


Both PocketDerm Acne and PocketDerm Anti-Aging can help with dark spots and wrinkles, as both include prescription tretinoin.

If you have significant acne, PocketDerm Acne is the best option for you, as it provides you with additional acne treatment options.

If your primary goal is anti-aging, PocketDerm Anti-Aging provides you with the best treatment options targeted at improving dark spots, wrinkles and skin texture.

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PocketDerm Membership


Membership is all-inclusive
Your $19.95 monthly fee includes all doctor consultations, messaging, and shipments of your prescription acne medication.* Membership is charged monthly to the credit card on file.

Unlimited consultations
Our average patient has consultations with their dermatologist every 30-90 days. We never charge extra for patients who require more frequent consultations.

Unlimited shipments
We ship your prescription medication to you as often as you need it. We do not charge extra based on frequency of shipments, and there is no extra charge for shipping and handling.

Hassle-free cancellation
At any time, simply email us at [email protected]. No phone call is necessary.

Our unbeatable guarantee
If you don't love PocketDerm within the first 90 days, we'll give you a full refund. Learn more

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PocketDerm Anti-Aging


Custom-formulated medication
Every 90 days you will receive a new customized medication (and consultation) for the all-inclusive price of $49.95. Shipping is always free, and we make it easy to reschedule or cancel online anytime.

Dermatologist consultation
Before each shipment, you may choose to complete a dermatologist consultation for no extra charge to adjust your prescription.

Friend referral discounts
Earn $20 credit for every friend that joins. Refer more than one and the credits accumulate (one discount per shipment). Plus, your friend gets their first month free!

As low as $29.95
When you refer a friend, your next 90-day supply is $29.95 (equivalent to $9.98 per month).

Our unbeatable guarantee
If you don't love PocketDerm within the first 90 days, we'll give you a full refund. Learn more

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Money-Back Guarantee


Our commitment to you
Our patients' satisfaction is our highest priority. If you are unsatisfied for any reason, we will refund 100% of the money you have been charged. This is valid any time within the first 90 days of membership.

Hassle-free refunds
To request a refund, just email [email protected] from your registered email address and we will refund 100% of your money to the credit card you used for your purchase.

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Prescription vs. Non-Prescription


Prescription treatments can eliminate 84-90% of acne lesions. Non-prescription treatments may eliminate only 16-34%. Below are some university-based studies as examples. You may also see this Consumer Reports study discussing the limited effectiveness of over-the-counter treatments such as Proactiv.

Burkhart CG, Burkhart CN. Treatment of acne vulgaris without antibiotics: tertiary amine-benzoyl peroxide combination vs. benzoyl peroxide alone (Proactiv Solution). Int J Dermatol. 2007 Jan;46(1):89-93. View abstract

Toossi P, Farshchian M, Malekzad F, Mohtasham N, Kimyai-Asadi A. Subantimicrobial-dose doxycycline in the treatment of moderate facial acne. J Drugs Dermatol. 2008 Dec;7(12):1149-52. View abstract

Biswas S, Mondal KK, Dutta RN, Sarkar DK. Comparative evaluation of the efficacy of four topical medications individually or in combination to treat grade I acne vulgaris. J Ind Med Assoc. 2009 Apr;107(4):219-22. View abstract