I've mentioned in passing recently that I had kind of stopped using spot treatments on a regular basis; well, with a discovery of a new product, I have picked it up again. This new favorite also spurred me to mentally catalogue all the other spot treatments I've tried over the years of battling acne, and compare the various types featuring different key ingredients and their effectiveness on my skin; very much like I did in this Overview of Spot Treatments post from over 2 years ago, but with updated products. As always, your experience may vary - but hopefully you'll find some new product ideas if breakouts are still the bane of your existence.
Benzoyl Peroxide: Coral Actives Penetrating Acne Serum Gel with 6% Benzoyl Peroxide ($22.95 for 1 fl. oz/30 ml). When I first started experiencing acne breakouts in my teens, the first thing my dermatologist aunt prescribed me was a BP cream (but lower concentrations are available over the counter, as in the product shown). Benzoyl Peroxide generally works by killing acne bacteria on the skin's surface and speeding up cell turnover; quite a straightforward mechanism. However in my experience, BP never worked very well for my breakouts; it has helped somewhat with small bumps on my forehead, but never with pustules or cystic acne, which is what I primarily suffer with these days. It is also quite irritating and using it every day, or reapplying frequently, as you would a spot treatment, will cause dryness and peeling. Personally, this is my least favorite breakout-banishing active ingredient, but if it works for you, products like Bioelements Breakout Control Emergency Blemish Lotion or Clean & Clear Persa-gel are another option; both are more irritating though than the Coral Actives Acne Serum Gel.
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion or De La Cruz Sulfur Ointment.
Tea Tree Essential Oil: Desert Essence 100% Australian Tea Tree Oil ($11.99 for 1 fl. oz, available in three sizes). Tea Tree Essential Oil is a powerful antiseptic, antiviral and anti-inflammatory ingredient. In a 2012 study by National Health Institutes, 5% of TTEO has been shown to be as effective in treating mild to moderate acne as 5% benzoyl peroxide. It's a matter of discussion whether tea tree eo can be applied neat to the skin or whether it should always be diluted to avoid irritation - I'd recommend doing a patch test and treading with care if you're sensitive. For me personally, pure tea tree essential oil doesn't prove very effective, but I do quite like it as an ingredient in more complex formulations. Other options to try: many other essential oils have antiseptic properties, most notably lavender essential oil - especially nice if you dislike the scent of tea tree.
here) for a natural, gentler acne-fighting alternative; Osmia's version combines lavender, cajeput, lemon, parsley, thyme, cypress and rosemary in a base of evening primrose oil. It works very well on soothing red, angry bumps without drying out the skin, but it's not the fastest solution in the world, and the oily texture works best overnight. Still, I used every last drop of mine and now I'm sorely tempted to try my hand at a DIY oil spot treatment. Other option: Angel Face Botanicals Blemish Soother.
Kaolin/ Bentonite Clay: Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores ($17 for 1.7 fl. oz/ 50ml or $24 for 3.4 fl. oz/100ml). Clay masks are not spot treatments per se, but they do work quite well in soothing the skin and either supressing a newly forming spot, or bringing things to a head. I quite like to use the Origins Clear Improvement as a targeted blemish mask when I'm home alone (it's almost worse to scare your significant other with black blemishes rather than normal red ones), and it does speed up the recovery process when combined with other spot treatments - but again on its own, not the most effective on my skin. Other options: any clay-based face mask really, I also like this Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay.
La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, Dermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel.
Do you use spot treatments? Which active ingredients are the most effective on your skin?
Disclaimer: The product marked with asterix (*) is a press sample I received from Osmia Organics for review
consideration. I purchased all the other products myself, or received them as a gift with purchase. All opinions are 100% honest and unbiased, no matter if the
products featured were purchased with my own monies or provided as a
free press sample. Thank you for reading!
I quite liked using the Aesop control gel as well -- mine's all used up! It's not the fastest acting product, but it seems to calm things down and the texture reminds me not to pick (sorry, I'm a picker... gross). The packaging is a little annoying as the aluminium is kind of fragile, and can leak if folded up.ReplyDelete
Spot treatment wise, I actually find retinoid products quite good even though they say that they're more preventative rather than act on active blemishes. Maybe it's a bit of placebo effect at work? Who knows, all I see is that they're calmer over night. I know I'm supposed to use retinoids regularly but I do like to try new things.
I didn't know you suffered from acne at all. Your skin always look smooth and flawless.ReplyDelete
I am bothered by those occasional hormonal outbreaks so keep a couple of the spot treatments in the house. I use the MB drying lotion but the cream looks much more convenient. I think sulfur works on me very well so that goes on my list!
Benzoyl peroxide works fast too but always end up darkening the spot, which is why I'm trying to avoid it.
Thank you for the kind words - but believe me, it's far from perfect, although much better now that it used to be, I think. The Drying Cream is a bit different than the lotion, but you can use a thinner layer and in the past, I even wore it under make-up. Yeah, BP just doesn't work for me - but the Aesop Control has brightening Vitamin C, so I'm hoping it'll help with the dark marks!Delete
I'm with Lena - your skin always looks perfect, Monika! I have that Origins mask and quite like it, as well. I also keep drugstore SA spot treatments around for the occasional outbreak. Benzoyl peroxide gives me a rash, and I've never tried the others on this list, but usually a SA face wash and spot treatment works wonders for me :) Great post, Monika!ReplyDelete
Naaah, you've seen me in person - can't hold a candle to your gorgeous face! SA for the win :)Delete
Tritto with Lena & Larie, your skin is flawless, Monika!! Thanks for this comprehensive review.ReplyDelete
One thing I can add is hydrocortisone/topical corticosteroid: the stronger, the better. This is what dermatologist used in injection for severe case of cystic acne (another type of injectable steroid, but corticosteroid nonetheless). I learned this during my pregnancy: I had the WORST cystic acne around my jaw line and pretty much everywhere due to hormone. I've never suffered acne when I was a teenager and here I were, 2-3 mo pregnant with a face of a teenager. I couldn't use much topically since they can interfere with pregnancy, so my Ob-Gyn prescribed me the strongest topical corticosteroid. I'd dab it the minute I felt the acne forming, and it literally disappeared overnight. You cannot use this for more than a week, though. Also, I found OTC hydrocortisone will work as well if you put occlusive dressing on top (occlusive dressing increase the topical penetration of cortisone). Again, just use this once or twice until the swelling goes down, which you can feel right away. Lastly, this won't work for acne already formed. Hope this helps someone out there!
Thanks for adding that onto the list! I've read that people use OTC hydrocortisone for cystic acne, and I actually have prescription corticosteroids for eczema on my hands - but seeing how thin and papery it has made the skin on my fingers (for a while, I had no cuticles on a couple of my fingernails), I've been quite hesitant to use it on my face so far. But I think that would be a great option if you feel a really big bump starting to form, and want to kill it in the bud. I'll definitely try it, thanks for recommending it!Delete
Yes, topical steroid can cause thinning of the skin, therefore, don't use it for more than a week (esp the high potency ones). It certainly does wonder for me, but you really need to use it at the very first moment you feel it.Delete
The only three anti-acne products that worked on me have been: Murad spot treatment, LRP Effaclar Duo and Avene TriAcneal (this is what I'm using currently). I've tried all the other forms at some point or another, except for the oils (Osmia... hmmm!), and BP was the worst with dryness while sulfur, clay and tea tree never made any difference. I haven't tried the Origins mask because a part of me is convinced it won't do anything, but now I want to get a sample and see!ReplyDelete
I haven't tried Murad's spot treatment, but Effaclar Duo (the European version) and TriAcneal (although I'm not too sure if I actually tried this or something else!) were only moderately effective on me. The Origins mask isn't mind-blowing, but it does tighten things up a bit and I think it draws stuff out a bit too - definitely try to get a sample before you commit to the full size! <3Delete
I haven't started to use my tube of Aesop Control yet, but now I can't wait to! Hopefully it works for me because, usually don't have much luck with salicylic acid treatments. If only benzoyl peroxide treatments don't dry my skin out so much ... it could probably be my HG acne treatment.ReplyDelete
I really like Control - although like Teresa has pointed out above, it takes a bit of time. Next time we meet, I'll pass my tube of the Coral Actives Serum Gel to you - it's not as drying as most other BP products I've tried, so hopefully it'll work for you!Delete
My favorite is La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo. It works so well with my skin. This is the reason why I keep on repurchasing it. I am considering using the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. It seems like a great one to try out.ReplyDelete
i have been using murad spot treatment (gummy recommended it last year!) and i like it. It is sulfur based; and they seem to have a wide variety of acne treatment things. I want to try the osmia and aesop ones! :)ReplyDelete