Clear It Up Acne Clearing + Tone Correcting Gel
Tula’s Clear It Up Acne Clearing + Tone Correcting Gel is a good – though not great – acne treatment. Although there’s a lot to like here, it unfortunately makes a couple of missteps that prevent it from being among our top recommendations.
Packaged in an opaque, protective plastic with a pump dispenser, the lightweight gel inside feels soothing and sets to a demi-matte finish that works well for combination to oily skin.
The starring ingredient here is salicylic acid, well known for its ability to fight acne by exfoliating deep into pores. The issue here is that while it’s at an effective concentration of 2%, its pH is at 4.51 – just outside the optimal range of 3-4 for it to exfoliate most effectively. Still, it has both hydrating and soothing properties, which are both beneficial to acne-prone skin (just don’t count on this to have potent breakout-fighting power).
Supporting ingredients include Tula’s mix of skin-health improving prebiotics, along with niacinamide and azelaic acid – both ingredients which can help fade post-acne marks and acne-related redness as claimed. There are also skin soothers bisabolol and allantoin to further help calm acne-prone skin.
What isn’t great is that this also contains wild mint extract (listed in the ingredients as Peumus boldus leaf extract), also known as boldo. There isn’t a ton of it, but its presence still puts skin at risk for irritation (especially since it’s the leaf extract, which is where most of boldo’s fragrant properties lie).
While this has some very good qualities, the fact that this simply cannot work as claimed, plus the fragrant component, means it’s better to select an alternative from our list of best acne treatments.
- Lightweight gel works well for combination and oily skin.
- Contains hydrating and soothing salicylic acid.
- Includes probiotic and soothing ingredients.
- Contains niacinamide and azelaic acid to help with acne redness.
- Packaged to protect its light- and air-sensitive ingredients.
- pH is out of the optimal range for salicylic acid to exfoliate.
- Contains wild mint extract, which puts skin at risk for irritation.
This fast-acting acne-clearing gel fights & prevents breakouts, with FDA-approved salicylic acid, while niacinamide & azelaic acid help brighten & fade the look of marks left by breakouts. Probiotics plus prebiotics derived from chicory root help balance & improve skin smoothness. Superfoods like wild mint & mushroom extract help refine the look of pores. Fragrance-free, alcohol-free formula won’t dry out skin.
Tula Skincare is a brand focused on an emerging group of skincare ingredients: probiotics. While it’s long been known that probiotics (such as those found in yogurt) were beneficial for health when consumed via certain foods and supplements, new research shows they’re also beneficial applied directly to skin. Internally, probiotics (which are live microorganisms that live in and on the body) can regulate digestive health; externally they play a role in managing a key component of skin’s surface known as its microbiome.
Tula was founded by Dr. Roshini Raj, a still-practicing gastroenterologist who says she noticed that many of her patients who had consumed probiotics showed signs of improvement in their skin. This concept of balancing skin became the core foundation of Tula, a word which means “balance” in Sanskrit.
To that end, all Tula products contain probiotics (in the non-living form of lysates, which retain many of the same topical benefits as live probiotics), along with some pre- and postbiotics as well. Postbiotics are exciting because these by-products from the breakdown of probiotics give each person’s microbiome key substances skin needs to be strong and healthy.
There are a couple of standout options, but unfortunately, Tula includes fragrance in the majority of their offerings, and fragrance – whether synthetic or from natural sources (essential oils and extracts) such as Tula uses, puts skin at risk for irritation. Irritation can disrupt skin in a way that counteracts the anti-inflammatory benefits of probiotic ingredients, so these formulas would be better minus the fragrance.
As far as packaging goes, with a few rare exceptions (such a couple of products in jars), Tula does a good job keeping its skin care in opaque containers that protect its best-yet-most-delicate ingredients from losing their potency in the presence of light and air. Overall, it’s a hit-or-miss brand – with some top-notch options, some that are good (except for the fragrance), and others to skip altogether.
To find out more about Tula, visit https://www.tula.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.