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Revolution Skincare

2% Salicylic Acid Targeted Blemish Serum

1.01 fl. oz. for $ 11.00
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Revolution Skincare’s 2% Salicylic Acid Targeted Blemish Serum contains an effective amount of its star ingredient at pH that lets it exfoliate. Sadly, several party crashing ingredients move this from the A-list to the “better think twice” list!

Housed in a frosted glass bottle topped with a dropper applicator, this anti-acne serum has a thin gel texture that spreads easily and absorbs quickly. Part of what allows this to absorb so fast is the amount of astringent witch hazel water and denatured alcohol it contains.

We suspect the amount of denatured alcohol is 1-2%, which doesn’t seem so bad but, research has shown even those low amounts can damage healthy skin cells. See More Info for details.

Adding to that concern is the amount of fragrance and inclusion of several fragrance ingredients (linalool, citronellol, geraniol, eugenol) capable of irritating skin. Salicylic acid is great for reducing inflammation within skin, but why couple it with ingredients known to cause inflammation? If anything, the salicylic acid’s calming action won’t be able to help your skin as much as it otherwise would. See More Info for the full scoop on highly fragrant skin care.

We love that this serum for all skin types can make good on its claims of targeting breakouts, large pores, and blackheads, but you will find effective, much gentler options on our list of best BHA exfoliants.

Pros:
  • An effective concentration of salicylic acid within the ideal pH range.
  • Lightweight fluid is easy to apply.
Cons:
  • Contains fragrance plus other fragrant ingredients that can irritate skin.
  • Potentially irritating amount of denatured alcohol.

More Info:

Alcohol-Based Skincare Products: Research makes it clear that alcohol, as a main ingredient in any skincare product, especially one you use frequently and repeatedly, is a problem.

When we express concern about the presence of alcohol in skincare or makeup products, we’re referring to denatured ethanol, which most often is listed as SD alcohol, alcohol denat., denatured alcohol, or (less often) isopropyl alcohol.

When you see these types of alcohol listed among the first six ingredients on an ingredient label, the product is highly likely to irritate and cause other problems for skin; it doesn’t take much of this type of alcohol to trigger skin stress. There’s no way around it—these volatile alcohols are simply bad for all skin types.

The reason they’re included in products is because they provide a quick-drying finish, immediately degrease skin, and feel weightless, so it’s easy to see their appeal, especially for those with oily skin. If only those short-term benefits didn’t lead to negative long-term outcomes.

Using products that contain these alcohols will cause dryness, erode skin’s protective barrier, and a strain on how skin replenishes, renews, and rejuvenates itself. Alcohol just weakens everything about skin.

The irony of using alcohol-based products to control oily skin is that the damage from the alcohol can actually lead to an increase in breakouts and enlarged pores. As we said, the alcohol does have an immediate de-greasing effect on skin, but it causes irritation, which eventually will counteract the de-greasing effect and make your oily skin look even more shiny.

There are people who challenge us on the information we’ve presented about alcohol’s effects. They often base their argument on a study in the British Journal of Dermatology (July 2007, pages 74–81) that concluded “alcohol-based hand rubs cause less irritation than hand washing….” But, the only thing this study showed was that alcohol was not as irritating as an even more irritating hand wash, which contained sodium lauryl sulfate. So, the study is actually just telling you that one irritant, sodium lauryl sulfate, is worse than another irritant, alcohol.

Not all alcohols are bad. For example, there are fatty alcohols, which are absolutely non-irritating and can be beneficial for skin. Examples that you’ll see on ingredient labels include cetyl alcoholstearyl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol, all of which are good ingredients for skin. It’s important to differentiate between these skin-friendly alcohols and the problematic alcohols.

What about very low levels of denatured alcohol? These sometimes show up in products because the alcohol may be part of the preservative system or may have been used to make certain ingredients more soluble in the formula. In these instances the amount of alcohol is typically below 0.1%, so is unlikely to pose a risk to skin.

References for this information:
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, April 2017, pages 188-196
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, November 2008, pages 1–16
Dermato-Endocrinology, January 2011, pages 41–49
Experimental Dermatology, June 2008, pages 542–551
Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366
Alcohol Journal, April 2002, pages 179–190 

Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.

This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin’s barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin’s surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.

A surprising fact: Even though you can’t always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it’s not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don’t need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.

References for this information:
Toxicology In Vitro, February 2018, pages 237-245
Toxicological Sciences, January 2018, pages 139-148
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Oily, congested and blemish-prone skin? Meet your next skincare saviour! Formulated with a highly effective blend of skin-friendly ingredients, Witch Hazel (to soothe skin and reduce excess oil), and 2% Salicylic Acid (a BHA Beta-Hydroxy Acid to target breakouts, enlarged pores, and blackheads), this lightweight and oil-free serum is gentle enough for everyday use and can be applied in a thin layer under foundation and concealer to help tackle blemishes while you get on with your day.

Aqua (Water, Eau), Propanediol, Polysorbate 20, Hamamelis Virginiana Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Salicylic Acid, Alcohol Denat., Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Chloride, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Alcohol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamal, Citronellol, Geraniol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hydroxycitronellal, Eugenol.

United Kingdom-based Revolution Skincare is the skin care branch of Revolution Beauty (who also has a color cosmetic subbrand, Makeup Revolution). Launched in 2018, the brand’s founder, Adam Minto, says the line’s ethos is the same as its parent brand; providing inexpensive, fast-to-market options designed for a wide range of people.

This skin care collection isn’t exactly a “revolutionary” concept, per se – the brand has a lot in common with other up-and-comers such as The Ordinary and Good Molecules. All of these products have a focus on stripped-down formulas featuring key ingredients (such as hyaluronic acid, for example) that can be mixed, layered, and alternated in to a complete skin care routine based on personal preference and occasional needs.

Revolution’s skin care products are something of a mixed bag. There are some true winners in the bunch (among them a couple of interesting retinol alternatives), but there are also quite a few missteps. Some of the products contain the skin-drying type of alcohol and irritating citrus extracts. Then there’s the concern that most of the products are housed in frosted bottles that need to be stored away from daylight, since the packaging puts their delicate ingredients at risk of light exposure that can cause those ingredients to lose their effectiveness. Side note: We reached out to the brand several times to inquire about whether their glass bottles have a UV light coating, but we have not received a response so far.

Overall, we appreciate the approach of potent skin care at bargain prices – we just wish the execution were a bit better! You can find our more about Revolution Skincare at https://www.revolutionbeauty.com/en/Skincare/c-58.aspx.

 

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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