Estee Lauder

Clear Difference Targeted Blemish Treatment

0.14 fl. oz. for $ 35.00
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Housed in a medicinal-looking component complete with a syringe-like cap is a roll-on blemish treatment that could've been amazing but instead is disappointing. The formula has a 1% concentration of anti-acne superstar salicylic acid and the pH of 3.5 ensures it will function as an exfoliant, which is the goal—but that's where the positives stop and the problems begin.

The problem? Alcohol is this treatment's main ingredient, but alcohol isn't a treat for anyone's skin! There are other ways to formulate with salicylic acid without resorting to skin-damaging alcohol, but Lauder opted down a path that's likely to cause free-radical damage, dryness, and irritation, as we explain in the More Info section. Also in More Info, you'll find out how irritation makes oily, breakout-prone skin worse, not better.

This anti-acne product also has a sticky finish owing to the amount of hairspray-like film-forming agent it contains. While the fragranced formula contains a few water-binding and soothing agents, they're up against too much alcohol to be able to help skin. See our list of Best Anti-Acne Products for superior alternatives.

  • Contains 1% salicylic acid formulated within an effective pH range.
  • Definitely won't make skin feel greasy.
  • Lists alcohol as the main ingredient, and alcohol is a proven skin irritant.
  • Has a sticky, hairspray-like finish that doesn't feel good on skin.
  • Likely to stimulate oil production which can lead to more breakouts.
More Info:

Alcohol in Skin Care: 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).

Irritation and Oily Skin: Applying irritating ingredients to oily skin stimulates excess oil production at the base of the pores, so skin ends up being more oily and pores become (or stay) enlarged. If you want to see improvements in oily skin, the best approach is to treat your skin gently with effective products designed to absorb excess oil, exfoliate inside the pore, and help normalize pore function (Sources: Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366; and Dermatology, January 2003, pages 17–23).

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

Pure. Precise. Potent. Penetrates fast to heal and rapidly reduce the size of blemishes.

Active Ingredient: Salicylic Acid 1% Inactive Ingredients: Alcohol Denatured, Water/Aqua/Eau, Acetyl Glucosimine/Acrylates/c10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Algae Extract, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Hypnea Musciformis (Algae) Extract, Gillidiela Acerosa (Algae) Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Caffiene, Sucrose, Butylene Glycol, Fragrance (Parfum), Phenoxyethanol

Estee Lauder At-A-Glance

The history of Estee Lauder goes back to 1946, when the woman who created the brand (and for whom it is named) began selling creams and lotions made by her chemist uncle. From its humble beginnings, Estee Lauder has grown to become a multibillion-dollar company whose products are sold all over the world and advertised in just about every fashion and women's lifestyle magazine available.

The biggest compliment we can pay to the venerable Estee Lauder line is that their moisturizers and serums can largely be described as state-of-the-art. Though fragrance is often intrusive, but when it comes to formulary excellence culminating in products that give skin what it needs to function optimally, they are tough to beat.

When it comes to makeup, by and large the brand also exceeds expectations. Though there are some under-performing products (you can read more about them in our individual reviews), Lauder has a number of excellent options, most notably its lip colors.

For more information about Estee Lauder, call (877) 311-3883 or visit www.esteelauder.com.

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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