Wednesday, July 20, 2011

6 Anti-acne products that don't work - Cosmetics Cop article

Thought I'd share this article by Cosmetics Cops with you all, that I found interesting.  I think what works for some won't always work for others, and that skin care is actually pretty unique to each person.  This however is science  So on that note, I hope this is helpful.  I'd be curious to hear if any of you have used any of these products and what your thoughts were.  Also my Paula's Choice skin care product reviews are coming soon, so stay tuned!

6 Anti-Acne Systems That Don't Work!
We understand the emotional frustration of acne. It is devastating to wake up every morning, or even just occasionally, to red bumps on your face. Anti-acne products and multi-product anti-acne systems abound, but many of them are so poorly formulated that they make things worse, leaving consumers, and us, saddened and angry.

More often than not, anti-acne products contain ingredients that either aren't helpful for acne or that actually make acne worse! Yes, we know the testimonials are compelling, and the "before and after" pictures are impressive, but you should approach every product with skepticism, especially considering the thousands and thousands of people whose skin doesn't get better after trying product after product. The real proof of a product's efficacy is always in the formula!

What Really Works for Acne
Research shows that the gold standard for treating acne effectively with over-the-counter products is to use a consistent routine that includes the following three types of products:

• Water-soluble cleanser.
• BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliant with a pH of 3-4.
• Topical disinfectant, typically benzoyl peroxide, formulated without irritants.
Depending on the type of acne you have, this kind of routine has been shown to perform even better than some prescription treatments!

We've done the research, and we know you can definitely find individual products to carry out this three-step approach, and they DON'T contain irritants that can make matters worse. For some unknown reason, however, nearly all of the anti-acne systems available get only one or two of the products right, if any at all!

Rather than believing the marketing shtick, we turned to published research, and found that the following anti-acne systems are ones you should avoid completely or at least modify to some extent if you want your breakouts and red marks to really improve:

1. Burt's Bees -- Natural Acne Solutions: Like many products from the "natural" product lines, this one is teeming with irritating plant extracts (like eucalyptus and fennel), which will stimulate oil production at the base of the pore and lead to more acne, more redness, and longer healing time.

2. Neutrogena -- Rapid Clear 7 Day Acne Intervention Kit: This two-product kit claims it can reduce the size and redness of blemishes in one week, but the tiny vials of BHA (salicylic acid) treatment contain large amounts of irritating alcohol and witch hazel, which dry out your skin and make red marks worse. Plus, the irritation they cause can lead to increased oil production in the pore.

3. Dermalogica -- Clean Start System: This system does indeed contain some ingredients shown to have proven benefit for fighting acne, but they are joined by irritating ingredients, such as camphor and bitter orange extract. In short, this system has promise, but the irritating ingredients included present the risk of hurting your skin's healing process and stimulating oil production.

4. ProActiv Solution -- Basic System: ProActiv has the absolute right idea with its three-step system, which includes a cleanser, exfoliant, and topical disinfectant with benzoyl peroxide. What they could have done better is the exfoliant, which contains the AHA glycolic acid. AHA is a great exfoliant, but it doesn't provide the benefits of BHA (salicylic acid). BHA is preferred for breakouts because it not only can exfoliate the surface, but also can penetrate into pores and get to the source of clogged pores. BHA also provides a mild antibacterial punch and it is a potent anti-inflammatory due to its relation to aspirin, so it's great for calming skin and reducing redness.

5. Avon -- Clearskin: This large collection of products is a potential disaster for your skin. Case in point: Both cleanser options contain harsh detergents that dry out the skin, and although they also contain the active ingredient salicylic acid, it is less effective in a cleanser because it is rinsed off your skin before it has a chance to work. The Clearskin system has no less than four BHA options, but not one of them is formulated at the right pH range (3-4) to work effectively.

6. Kiehl's -- Blue Herbal Collection: Each product in this four-product anti-acne system is brimming with potent irritants that don't help acne! Cinnamon, ginger, alcohol, and aluminum chlorohydrate (an ingredient in many antiperspirants) are but a few of the problematic ingredients in the Blue Herbal line. This large amount of irritating ingredients can cause irritation, stimulate oil production, worsen redness, and lead to dry, flaky skin.

After reading all of that material above, you may think it's hopeless, but don't dismay. We can help you find the very best anti-acne products for your skin! With our detailed reviews on Beautypedia, including reviews of the systems mentioned above, you can find the right products to develop an anti-acne skin-care routine that really works for you. Our list of Best Anti-Acne Products is a great place to begin your journey toward obtaining the clear skin you want!


  1. Great post! I learned a lot about anti-aging products from one of her books. Any of the products that she's rated highly that I've tried worked well!

  2. Wow! This is great info! I have struggled with my skin for ages and just stumbled into using three products that have made all the difference in the world for me. I'll have to do a post on them soon! ...after Hell week. Going back to my books now. Mom. ;-)

  3. seeing Neutrogena on this list just makes me laugh. hard. because they act like the holy grail of skin. same with that proactiv. my sis-in-law knows it doesn't work, but still continues to buy it...i think it makes people feel like at least they're doing SOMETHING. oy vey

  4. Very informative. There are so many products out there it's hard to know which ones work!

  5. This is so helpful! Fantastic post! :) I'll have to try out some products with those ingredients though I don't have acne, just a few spots.

  6. Thank you so much for this awesome post! I really appreciate all the help I can get with my stubborn acne!

  7. Tracy - I agree, I've had a lot of success from the products she's recommended too :)

    Charlotte - I am curious to hear what you're using AFTER your exams of course!

    Carrie & Ryan - I have a friend who swears by ProActiv, so I guess if it works for her that's great..but I think it's because her skin is extremely oily, for most I think it's way too harsh.

    Marie - I agree, it's so confusing at times!

    Vintage - i'm glad it's helpful and you're lucky you don't have to worry too much about it.

    Mary - So welcome, I hope you find something that works well for you :)

  8. I'm glad I haven't tried most of what's on the list, but Dermalogica Clean Start actually had a rather good effect on me last year, so I recently bought the mini kit to test it out again. Gonna rip into that tonight and see how it turns out!

  9. Thank you so much hunny, that means a lot♥

    Love Christine ♥

  10. Wow, I'm surprised at the Burt's Bees products! I never knew natural plant extracts could be irritant... good to know, thanks!

    Absolutely nothing worked for me when I had really REALLY bad acne except when I went on the Pill, my face instantly cleared up!

  11. I have tried a number of products before reviewing them on my sites. The best results came from exposed acne treatment for me. Then Clear Skin Max was very close to Acnezine , but they could not beat exposed acne treatment, which is #1 on my list.

  12. I was seriously about to go to cvs to pick up the burts bees natural solution deal..The "natural" part is what enticed me. After reading this, I've changed my mind! Thank you!

  13. I am trying to get rid of some bad acne. And I want a cheap natural way to get rid of my acne fast before school starts up again. Does anyone have any recommendations, Right now I am using Neutrogena acne kit. I have been using it for almost a week and its not working it just leaves my face itchy and feels dry.


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