Remember those major breakouts you had when you were 14, 15, 16 years old? And the adults who tried to console you by telling you that you'd eventually grow out of pimples? Ha. I'm hovering near 30 and still fighting the good fight against breakouts on a daily basis.
I'm embarrassed to admit the lengths I've gone to for clear skin. I spent countless dollars as a teen trying to get rid of the unsightly bumps and eventually ended up on Accutane, despite the scary list of potential side effects (it's been linked to chronic diseases like inflammatory bowel disease and osteoporosis). Fortunately, I never experienced those side effects and my skin did clear up, but just a few years later, the pimples came back.
What's worse: finding a good treatment for my new, grownup pimples has not been easy. Most products either don't work or they dry out my skin so much, it makes the acne seem okay by comparison. I've tried Retina-A, DDF's Benzoyl Peroxide Gel
, $36, Cetaphil cleanser
, and tested various brands of glycolic peels, but none have given me the results I want. Retin-A got rid of blemishes quickly, but it also made my skin peel; same story with glycolics. Cetaphil didn't irritate my skin, bit it didn't help my skin, either.
Then, it hit me. If my skin was acting like a 15-year-old's skin, why not treat it like a 15-year-old? Dermalogica's Clear Start Breakout Clearing Daytime Treatment
, $24, is part of an acne-clearing regimen designed for teens and young adults. And here's what I figured out: Dermalogica markets the treatment to teens because they tend to have oiler skin than adults, but anyone with oily or combination skin can use the products in the Clear Start line.
The serum is a daytime moisturizer and acne treatment in one, which removed one step in my morning skin regimen (bonus!). The main ingredients, benzoyl peroxide and niacinamide, help clear pores and kill bacteria. Rosemary, sunflower, and cucumber extract in the formula keep the skin from getting irritated or peeling.
The treatment is meant to prevent breakouts, but it also did a great job of diminishing the pimples I already had. When I first grabbed it, I thought it was a spot treatment and tested it on my trouble spots. To my surprise, most blemishes were gone by the next day. When I realized it's designed as a breakout preventive serum for all over my face, I used it and noticed the swelling I sometimes have in the a.m. was reduced, as well. (This isn't a claim Dermalogica makes, but my unscientific guess is that the cucumber extract has something to do with it.) The serum also absorbs quickly -- rather than waiting for products to dry before moving to the next layer, I was done with my makeup in less than three minutes.
The bad news? The treatment claims to purify pores, but that's one effect I haven't experienced in the four weeks I've been using it.
Overall, I'm a fan. This teen treatment worked on my grownup acne and had a few unexpected benefits that make this one of the best, budget-friendly skin serums I've found lately.
MORE LIKE THIS