Clearskin Professional Acne Treatment System

for $ 32.00
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Brand Overview

Avon heavily promotes this trio of anti-acne products as an even better version of the popular infomercial brand ProActiv. You can go ahead and read this entire review for the details if you like, or you can stop right now, because we assure you that this system is not as effective as ProActiv. The reasons, you ask? (1) the formulas include needless irritants and (2) they do not include a topical disinfectant to fight the bacteria that contribute to acne.

Avon claims their exclusive zinc hexapeptide-11 ingredient warrant their superior difference because it helps control surface oil. That’s not much of a claim when you consider how many other cosmetic ingredients have the same action, such as kaolin, certain silicone polymers, talc, and aluminum starch to name a few. If it can work in some other manner, there is no published research proving that to be true, so consumers just have to take Avon’s word for it and the ingredient manufacturer (and we all know how trustworthy cosmetic companies can be about their claims—not to mention, this isn’t the first product Avon has claimed would clear up your acne, clearly the ones that came before didn’t work so well). Avon makes a great fuss of the fact that this ingredient is exclusive to their formula but exclusivity doesn’t equate to exclusive results. Their oil claim is not unique and their ingredient not the only apple in the barrel.

Interestingly, however, there is a growing body of research demonstrating zinc’s second-tier role in minimizing acne. The research deals primarily with the oral consumption of zinc, but there have been some intriguing in vitro studies as well that show zinc’s role as an anti-inflammatory agent when applied to cultured skin cells. One study compared the effects of topical application of zinc acetate with the effects of common disinfectants such as benzoyl peroxide and topical antibiotics. The zinc acetate didn’t win out as the superior choice, but it reasonably held its own by comparison (Sources: Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, September 2008, pages 170–176; European Journal of Dermatology, November-December 2007, pages 492–496; Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, March 2007, pages 311–319; and The Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 2006, pages 205–210). However, none of these studies examined what role zinc hexapeptide-11 may have in mitigating acne, reducing inflammation, or effecting oil production.

There are three products in this kit: a cleanser/scrub, pre-soaked medicated pads, and a salicylic acid (BHA) lotion. The Deep Pore Cleansing Scrub contains a tiny amount of the abrasive agent polyethylene mixed with water, clay, detergent cleansing agent, and alcohol. It features 0.5% salicylic acid as an active ingredient, but the fact that the product is rinsed from the skin before it can have a benefit assures minimal to no efficacy. In addition, the scrub also contains menthol which is irritating, and the formula isn’t the easiest to rinse from skin, so we’re not off to a good start.

Step 2 involves swabbing your skin with Clarifying Toner Pads. Avon again disappoints with an alcohol-laden formula and irritating cinnamon bark extract. Alcohol causes free radical damage, inflammation, and hurts the skin’s healing process. What a shame, because there are some state-of-the-art ingredients in this product.

The last step is to apply the Daily Correcting Lotion, which contains 0.5% salicylic acid, just like the pads in step 2. As a leave-on BHA product this almost has merit for skin, but the serious cause for concern is the amount of alcohol in this lotion. All told, there is little reason to try this kit. What Avon claims makes it unique isn’t proven, and even if it worked as claimed, at best you’d enjoy less oily skin (temporarily) at the expense of causing lots of irritation and doing little to kill acne-causing bacteria. ProActiv and any other cosmetic company making effective yet gentle anti-acne products have nothing to worry about with this problematic trio from Avon. Actually, the dermatologist being profiled in ads for this kit should be ashamed to be fronting for such poorly formulated products.

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes
Step 1: Deep Pore Cleansing Scrub (4.2 ounces) Active: Salicylic Acid (0.5%), Other: Water, Kaolin, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Silica, Sd Alcohol 40-B, Glycerin, Bentonite, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Polyethylene, Sodium Chloride, Polysorbate 20, Glyceryl Stearate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Thiodipropionic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Glycolic Acid, Zinc Hexapeptide-11, Hexapeptide-11, Capryloyl Glycine, Sarcosine, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Bark Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Hexylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Tocopherol, Carbomer, Fragrance, Menthol, Methylparaben, Disodium Edta, Titanium Dioxide, Blue 1 Lake Step 2: Clarifying Toner Pads (45 pads) Water, Sd Alcohol 40-B, Glycolic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Dimethicone Copolyol, Glycerin, Thiodipropionic Acid, Zinc Hexapeptide-11, Hexapeptide-11, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Capryloyl Glycine, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Bark Extract, Sarcosine, Tocopherol, Polysorbate 20, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Hexylene Glycol, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Butylene Glycol, Carbomer, Benzophenone-4, Benzophenone-9, Fragrance, Ammonium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA Step 3: Daily Correcting Lotion (2 ounces) Active: Salicylic Acid (0.5%), Other: Water, SD Alcohol 40-B, Dimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Kaolin, Propylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Stearyl Alcohol, Thiodipropionic Acid, Zinc Hexapeptide-11, Hexapeptide-11, Glycolic Acid, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Retinyl Palmitate, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Bark Extract, Sarcosine, Tocopherol, Capryloyl Glycine, Pvm/Ma Decadiene Crosspolymer, Cyclohexasiloxane, Steareth-21, Ceteareth-20, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, PEG-40 Stearate, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Hexylene Glycol, Isododecane, Polysorbate 60, PEG-150 Stearate, Steareth-20, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Polystyrene/Hydrogenated Polyisopentene Copolymer, Fragrance, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Phenoxyethanol

Avon At-A-Glance

Strengths: Broad-spectrum sun protection from most of the SPF products; a selection of good cleansers, moisturizers, and serums; a phenomenal concealer and a handful of other excellent makeup products at bargain prices; the company provides complete ingredient lists on its Web site and offers some of the most helpful Customer Service associates in the industry.

Weaknesses: The Clearskin products are mostly irritating and poor choices for anyone battling blemishes; the Anew Clinical lineup isn't as impressive as its made out to be; an over-reliance on jar packaging diminishes the antioxidants found in many Avon moisturizers; endless, unnecessarily repetitive moisturizers with exaggerated, outlandish claims; some of the foundations look unnatural.

The last few years have been an interesting time for the world's largest direct seller. Avon is sold in 120 countries and has an enormous range of products that goes beyond skin care and makeup, all sold by five million Avon representatives racking up annual sales of over $8 billion (Source: www.avoncompany.com). Yet due to several quarters of lackluster or poor financial performance, the company announced a multiyear restructuring plan in 2006. The anticipated cost of these changes is upwards of $500 million, which includes downsizing under-performing areas and focusing on re-marketing their star products. In recent years, those key products have had "cosmeceutical" appeal, with claims that have gone beyond reality (but over-exaggerated claims sell big in the cosmetics industry).

The Anew Clinical line ushered in several products claiming to work like (or, in some instances, better than) cosmetic corrective procedures. Whether you are considering laser treatments, Botox, Thermage, collagen injections, or even liposuction, the ads for Anew Clinical were designed to make you rethink that decision.

It is definitely impressive that Avon invested $100 million on a state-of-the-art research and product development facility in New York, but despite some innovative products that compete with the best of the best (typically for much less money), no cosmetics company has (or will) produce skin-care products that rival or beat the results obtainable from medical procedures. It's admittedly easier to slather on a cream or stroke a pad over your face than to make an office call and shoulder the expense for a cosmetic corrective procedure, but in this case convenience and savings don't equal - or even come close to - comparable results. And lest we forget, despite the onslaught of so-called cosmeceutical products claiming to mimic the results such procedures provide, the number of these procedures being performed increases each year. If any of these works-like-(insert cosmetic corrective procedure here) products did work, the number of procedures would be declining, not rising.

The National Advertising Division (NAD) took issue with several claims Avon made in ads for their Anew Clinical products (Source: www.nadreview.org/default.asp?SessionID=1149178&DocType=1&CaseType=1). In some cases, Avon reworded their claims in ad reprints, while in others they "respectfully disagreed" with the NAD conclusions but agreed to take their comments into consideration for future ads. We'll see how this turns out, but, based on their current ads, the message remains that Anew Clinical products are at the forefront of making cosmetic corrective procedure results as easy as calling your Avon representative and reciting your credit card number.

As a major international cosmetics company, Avon has several initiatives in place that prove its commitment to women and the environment. Whether donating to women's health concerns (most notably breast cancer), surpassing environmental regulations, or financially supporting alternative methods to animal testing, Avon's principles are responsible and admirable. If you pay attention to the best of what they have to offer, you will not only be supporting Avon's mission to improve the lives of women but also gaining some wonderful products, making it a win-win situation.

For more information about Avon, call (800) 500-AVON or visit www.avon.com.

Avon Makeup

Avon may be viewed as a skin-care innovator, but when it comes to makeup they're more follow-the-leaders than trail blazers. Admittedly, their foundations, powders, blush, and lipsticks have smoother, more state-of-the-art textures than ever, but with few exceptions none of them are setting a precedent that other, more innovative companies are likely to follow.

You will find some outstanding Avon makeup products to consider, but perhaps due to the sheer size of the collection there are far too many mediocre products, especially among the eyeshadows, pencils, and mascaras. Given that Avon isn't as easy to obtain as comparable products at your local drug or department store, many of the makeup items end up being a tough sell. After all, who wants to go out of their way for average products? Turning to what Avon does really well, you'll find their loose and pressed powders have amazingly silky textures and natural finishes. Their blushes are wonderful, and a few of the lipsticks and foundations are definitely worth talking about with enthusiasm. Another positive point is that Avon regularly discounts their makeup, often upwards of 50% during any given campaign (Avon's campaigns run for two weeks and the specials change each time). If you shop at the right time, the best of Avon color can be yours for less than you'd pay for most low-cost drugstore makeup.

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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