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New app scans your acne then writes you a scrip


A new mobile app makes getting skin care treatment for your acne easy peasy.

Woman taking a selfie

Photo credit: Fabrice LEROUGE/ONOKY/Getty Images

PocketDerm is a new mobile app that was created by two board certified dermatologists. It’s based on teledermatology, which uses technology to manage some skin issues such as acne, which are diagnosed on a visual basis.

“Studies on teledermatology show that dermatologists can provide excellent diagnosis and treatment based on high-quality photos and a detailed medical history,” Dr. David Lortscher said.

So what are the pros and cons to using this new service? We’re about to find out.

Pro: Easy signup and processing

Upon signing up, users answer questions about their medical history, acne treatment background, skin type and sensitivities. Next, they upload images of their skin. One of the dermatologists then analyzes the information and prescribes a custom-tailored acne treatment.

Pro: Custom skin care

These folks aren’t just prescribing medications — they will hand-blend a solution at their San Diego office. Lortscher said the formulas usually contain three prescription acne ingredients: tretinoin, a retinoid to unclog pores and lower skin discoloration; clindamycin, an antibiotic; and azelaic acid, which helps to prevent bacterial resistance and reduces redness and discoloration.

Pro: All-inclusive

For $29.95 a month, the service comes with a personal consultation, customized anti-acne products and shipping. Members can also message their doctor at any time with questions or concerns. It takes just 24 hours to hear back after you submit initial information.

Pro: No health care coverage required

Whether you have health care coverage or not, PocketDerm may be an affordable solution to replace costly visits to the dermatologist.

Con: You still need to see a dermatologist in person

So, can you skip your annual appointment with your dermatologist? Not quite. Those doctors are still vital to help with other issues and give your skin an in-person, top-to-bottom screening.

Con: It’s only for acne

If you deal with acne, PocketDerm may be an easy solution to keep that condition under tabs. To check for other conditions, and undergo routine skin cancer screenings, you’ll have to visit a doctor in his or her office.

Con: You never meet the doctor

If you’re an in-person kind of person, maybe PocketDerm isn’t right for you. You’ll never be able to meet the doctor and get his or her expertise for other skin concerns — they just handle acne. If the PocketDerm doctor thinks you need additional care, they make recommendations for the patient without an additional charge.

With pros and cons to the service, it’s really up to the individual to decide if they should consider PocketDerm. Still, it’s cool to know that having great skin is literally just at your fingertips.

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