This anti-acne product is getting a lot of hype, and claims its results are as good "as a leading topical prescription", but given there are no prescription salicylic acid products for acne (salicylic acid being this product's active ingredient), it's not an apples-to-apples comparison! As it turns out, the formula has more problems than a math test, and isn't something we can recommend for those struggling with breakouts.
Chief among this product's troubles is alcohol. It's the main ingredient, and applying this smells like you're putting vodka martini on your face. It is potent! Sadly, alcohol is a problem for all skin types, and the irritation it causes can hurt skin's healing process (hello, red marks from acne that take forever to fade) and potentially cause more oil production, which, in turn, can trigger more acne. How is that an "Acne Solution"? See More Info for details on why alcohol is not a friend to skin.
Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel's active ingredient is salicylic acid, but the product's pH won't allow it to function as an exfoliant, so you're losing its chief benefit for breakout-prone skin! And if the alcohol wasn't enough of an irritant, this product also contains witch hazel for an additional astringent effect (and kick of alcohol!).
The anti-irritants Clinique included are a nice gesture, but more of a backhanded compliment given the primary problems this product presents. Really, the only good thing about it is the lack of fragrance.
Alcohol in skin-care products causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin's ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410–1,419; Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, January 2011, pages 83–90; "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In," Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).
Results as good as a leading topical prescription in clearing acne. Our daily treatment gel starts clearing blemishes upon application. Helps prevent new ones from making an unwelcome appearance.
Active Ingredient: Salicylic Acid 1.00% Ingredients: Alcohol Denat, Water\Aqua\Eau, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Sea Whip Extract, Butylene Glycol, Benzalkonium Chloride
Strengths: A few excellent moisturizers and serums; excellent sunscreens; very good cleansers and eye makeup removers; unique mattifying products; impressive selection of foundations, good concealers; some remarkable mascaras; much-improved eyeshadows, lip colors and blush formulas.
Weaknesses: Bar soaps (which can clog pores and dull skin); alcohol-based toners; unfortunate choice of jar packaging for antioxidant-loaded moisturizers.
Estee Lauder-owned Clinique launched the concept of cosmetics being "allergy-tested," "hypoallergenic," "100% fragrance-free," and "dermatologist tested." Of those marketing claims, the only one with significance is "100% fragrance-free," which, for the most part, Clinique maintains (although it does add some fragrant extracts to a few products). Unfortunately, terms like “hypoallergenic” and “dermatologist tested” aren’t regulated by the FDA and can mean anything—thus, you still need to rely on the ingredient list to tell you whether their product contains any ingredients with the potential to irritate skin.
That inconvenient fact aside, Clinique is leading the way with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums, plus some formidable makeup and more than a few excellent sunscreens. While Clinique has some products that we see as missteps for reasons discussed in their reviews, more than ever, what they offer is quite good (just have realistic expectations, as some of their claims go beyond what their products are capable of).
Turning to makeup, Clinique continues to offer a vast palette of colors and textures, especially with their enormous selection of foundations—many of which feature effective sunscreens. Without a doubt, the numerous formulas offer something for every skin type and almost every skin color—though the blushes, eye makeup and lip colors are frequently not pigmented enough for deeper skin tones.
The bottom line is that, despite a few shortcomings, Clinique is one of the most comprehensive (and comparably affordable) department-store makeup lines, and it is completely understandable why they enjoy such broad appeal.
Note: Clinique is categorized as one that tests on animals because their products are sold in China. Although Clinique does not conduct animal testing for their products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brand’s state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law”. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Beautypedia Team.
For more information about Clinique, call (800) 419-4041 or visit www.clinique.com.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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