Agency is a new personalized anti-aging skincare brand, brought to you by the founders of the buzzed-about brand Curology. The goal behind Agency Skincare is to offer anti-aging products that are customized for each person’s unique skin with the help of the brand’s licensed dermatology providers.
In this Agency Skincare review, we’ll give you all the details on how this brand works, what products they offer, the key ingredients used in the formulations, and the research that supports (or doesn’t support) the use of these ingredients.
What is The Difference Between Agency and Curology?
Both Agency and Curology were founded by board-certified dermatologist Dr. David Lortscher, and both brands share the same network of providers and skincare facilities. However, Agency and Curology are separate brands with different skincare focuses.
While both brands offer customized formulas, Agency and Curology each leverage different active ingredients to treat specific skin concerns. Curology’s ingredients are customized to target acne skin concerns, while the Agency Skincare custom formulas are designed to treat signs of aging, like texture, wrinkles, fine lines, and more.
Additionally, a key feature of Agency Skincare is that your provider can gently increase or decrease the amount of tretinoin in your formula. Your dedicated provider will work with you to get to the right strength over time, depending on your goals and how your skin responds.
How Does Agency Skincare Work?
To get started with Agency, you will fill out a questionnaire that asks you about your skin concerns and skin type.
The Agency questionnaire also covers health and medical history, such as details about any prescription drugs being taken, over-the-counter skincare products (like retinol and hydroquinone products), allergies, whether female patients may be pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant, and more.
After submitting the information, customers will be contacted by a healthcare professional from Agency’s medical team, which includes board-certified dermatologists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Customers will go over their details and upload photos of their skin to be analyzed before the team gets to work creating the custom formula.
After your Agency skincare products are delivered to your home and you start using them, the brand allows you to connect with their team of healthcare providers if you have questions or concerns (such as, “Why is my skin peeling?”). And like we mentioned above, the strength of ingredients can be adjusted based on how your skin responds.
What is The Agency Skincare Routine?
While Curology provides its customers with a complete skincare routine (cleanser, custom formula, moisturizer), Agency does not. Rather, Agency only gives you two options: Future Formula or Future Formula + Dark Spot Formula.
Future Formula is a customized cream created by your provider to target your skin concerns — from fine lines and firmness to skin texture and more
You can also add in the Dark Spot Formula, which is a personalized dark spot corrector made to work with your Future Formula.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that a proper skincare routine should start with cleansing your skin. Thus, you’ll have to use a cleanser from a different brand, then follow with the Agency custom formulas.
What Are The Agency Skincare Ingredients?
The active ingredients in your Agency Future Formula and Dark Spot Formula are chosen by one of the brand’s dermatology providers on a person-by-person basis. The most commonly used Agency ingredients include:
Niacinamide is the amide form of vitamin B3 (niacin) that provides many benefits to the skin. For instance, a publication in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, states that niacinamide can repair the skin barrier and improve skin moisture, as well as reduce inflammation, blotchiness, hyperpigmentation, acne, and wrinkling.
Also known as Retin-A, tretinoin is a prescription retinoid that may be used in your Agency custom formula because it can help improve both acne and multiple signs of skin aging. When tretinoin first came to market more than 50 years ago, it was prescribed to treat acne only, not for anti-aging purposes. This was because of its ability to unclog pores, preventing them from becoming clogged with oil, dirt, and debris, which also makes pores appear smaller.
According to a publication in the Journal of International Medical Research, soon after topical tretinoin was made available, elderly patients using it to treat acne noted a general improvement in the quality of their skin. It was discovered that by increasing cell turnover and increasing collagen production, tretinoin could also provide anti-aging benefits such as smoothing fine lines and wrinkles and reducing visible signs of hyperpigmentation.
Tranexamic acid is a synthetic analog of the amino acid lysine that functions as a skin-conditioning agent and astringent. Additionally, tranexamic acid acts as a skin-lightening agent for the treatment of hyperpigmentation. It is believed to work by inhibiting plasmin, which means that it helps to break down proteins in the skin that contribute to melanin (skin pigment) production.
Panthenol (Provitamin B5)
Panthenol is a highly effective humectant. A humectant is a hygroscopic substance that has a molecular structure with several hydrophilic (water-loving) groups. This structure allows humectants to attract and retain the moisture in the air nearby via absorption, drawing the water vapor into or beneath the surface. Humectants improve moisture retention and may also help other topical skincare ingredients to perform better.
Azelaic acid is an ingredient that provides numerous benefits to the skin. It helps to keep pores clear and prevent the growth of acne-causing bacteria, therefore helping to prevent and treat acne.
Azelaic acid may also help to fade hyperpigmentation and improve skin brightness by functioning as a tyrosinase inhibitor. Tyrosinase is a key enzyme involved in the synthesis of melanin, the pigment that gives skin color and also contributes to the formation of undesirable dark spots. By inhibiting tyrosinase, azelaic acid may be able to reduce abnormal pigmentation associated with aging and exposure to UV light.
Where Are Agency Skincare Products Sold?
Agency Skincare products are only sold on the brand’s website for those who live in the United States. One thing to keep in mind is that due to telemedicine laws, Agency Skincare may not be available in every state.
How Much is Agency Skincare?
Agency Skincare offers a 30-day free trial; you only have to pay for the $4.95 shipping and handling fee.
After your trial, the brand will automatically send you a refill of your Future Formula coming every 2 months for $60 (shipping included). That breaks down to $30 per month.
You also have the option to add the Dark Spot Formula and save $10 per month when you’re subscribed to both products. Get ongoing shipments of both products every 2 months for $92 ($46/month).
What is The Agency Return Policy?
Agency Skincare offers a 90-day money-back guarantee.
Is Agency Skincare Cruelty-Free?
Agency is cruelty-free and the products are officially Leaping Bunny Certified. Leaping Bunny Certification means Agency skincare products are free of animal testing at every stage of product development.
Agency Skincare Reviews
Unfortunately, this brand does not display Agency skincare reviews on its website.
Overall, we like the idea behind Agency Skincare, but it’s hard to say whether this system works or not because there aren’t any Agency Skincare reviews at the time of writing this article.
- Agency skincare ingredients are supported by research
- Agency is cruelty-free
- The online assessment and ordering is convenient
- Easier access to prescription-only acne treatments
- No Agency skincare reviews
- You must get a subscription to order Agency skincare products
- The online assessment will not be as thorough as seeing a dermatologist in person
What Are Some Alternatives to Agency Skincare Products?
While some customers may like the idea of having a skincare expert create a custom formula for them, others may prefer to choose products themselves so they can know exactly which ingredients they are getting. If that sounds like you, we have a couple of alternatives for you to consider. One brand we recommend is Formulyst because, unlike most skincare brands, Formulyst maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones.
If you want to incorporate the powerful anti-aging effects of retinol into your skincare routine, we recommend Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Night Cream with Retinol. The formula contains innovative Encapsulated Retinol Technology in order to deliver a higher concentration of retinol to your skin for intense rejuvenation. In addition, this night cream helps to lock in moisture and restore the skin’s barrier function with emollients such as squalane, macadamia seed oil, and jojoba oil.
Another brand that balances the power of plants with cutting-edge science is Carrot & Stick. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, but it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals commonly found in skincare products.
J Int Med Res 1990;18 Suppl 3:18C-25C.