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Versed Skincare

Game Over Acne Drying Treatment

0.50 fl. oz. for $ 16.99
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Brand Overview

With so much advancement in acne treatments over the years, it’s disappointing to see Versed’s Game Over Acne Drying Treatment takes a page from the past to produce this problematic formula!

Starting with the positives, this creamy spot treatment features gentle and proven oil-absorbing clays, antioxidants (including two types of vitamin C and fruit extracts), soothing licorice, and even a skin-replenishing ceramide. These are all ingredients that help acne-prone skin look and feel better.

Problematically, though, this contains a high amount of sulfur – 10%. While older acne treatments often featured sulfur because of its strong antimicrobial properties, sulfur, especially in this amount, is drying and irritating, and irritation can make acne breakouts worse (see More Info below for details). The brand’s claim about acne being “…ready to be dried out” is wrong: acne isn’t about skin being wet or moist, and deliberately drying out skin impedes its healing process, which in turn prolongs breakouts and can lead to post-acne marks.

Sulfur also has a high pH that can increase bacterial growth on skin. Because of this, benzoyl peroxide is preferred for antibacterial acne treatment, or azelaic acid may also be considered if you find your skin doesn’t do well with benzoyl peroxide.

In the end, because of the potential to harm skin instead of help it, we recommend giving this a pass an selecting one of the far superior options you’ll find on our list of best acne treatments.

  • Includes gentle, oil-absorbing clays.
  • Contains antioxidants, soothing ingredients, and a skin-replenishing ceramide.
  • Packaged to protect its light- and air-sensitive ingredients.
  • Contains a high amount of sensitizing sulfur.
  • Acne cannot be dried out, and doing so hurts skin’s ability to heal.

More Info:

Not being gentle to skin can increase oily skin & breakouts: Using harsh, irritating ingredients or cleansing brushes with stiff bristles is a serious problem for all skin types, especially for those with oily, combination, and acne-prone skin.

Research has clearly established that when skin is irritated, the oil gland at the base of each pore is stimulated to make more oil, creating a perfect environment for breakouts, white bumps, and clogged pores to get worse.

Using a product that is gentle and completely non-irritating is without question the only approach to taking the best care of your skin; doing otherwise hurts your skin—this is true even if you cannot see or feel the damage taking place.

It is also vitally important to use products that research has shown are beneficial for oily skin, clogged pores, and breakouts. The gold standard over-the-counter ingredients for these concerns are salicylic acid (BHA) and benzoyl peroxide.

References for this information:
Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology, January 2016, pages 25–30
Journal of European Dermatology and Venerology, May 2014, pages 527–532
Journal of Dermatology, May 2012, pages 433–438
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, April 2011, pages 41–53
Dermato-Endocrinology, January-March 2011, pages 41–49
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Journal of the American Medical Association, August 2004, page 764
Dermatology, January 2003, pages 17–23
European Journal of Dermatology, September-October 2002, pages 422–427

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Poppers, squeezers, and pickers: Hold it right there. Before you go into attack-mode (and damage your skin), dab this spot treatment on those pimples that have already hit the surface (or are just about to) and are ready to be dried out. 10% sulfur treats and prevents blemishes by absorbing excess oil and exfoliating away dead cells, thus unclogging pores, all without stripping the skin. Together with bentonite and kaolin clay, this cream stays put and leaves the surrounding skin happy—no messy cotton swabs or runny liquids necessary.

10% Sulfur, Water, Kaolin, Propanediol, Bentonite, Silica, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Pentylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Glycerin, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Ammonium, Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Zinc Oxide, Ceramide NP, Citric Acid, Phospholipids, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Sodium Benzotriazolyl Butylphenol Sulfonate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract, T-Butyl Alcohol, Podocarpus Elatus Fruit Extract, Pleiogynium, Timoriense Fruit Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Sodium Hydroxide, Tocopherol, Sodium Glycolate, Sodium Formate.

Versed Skincare is the creation of Katherine Power, former West Coast fashion editor of Elle magazine and co-founder of the LA-based fashion company Clique Brands. Versed is positioned as the sister brand of the company’s Who What Wear clothing line sold at Target, and so Versed is sold there as well as other retailers.

Versed’s philosophy is straightforward: offer affordable, effective skin care products that are both vegan and, in the brand’s words, clean. “Clean” is an ambiguous phrase in the beauty industry that lacks a standard, regulated definition (it varies from company to company), but in this instance it means that there are no so-called “toxic” and “questionable” ingredients in Versed’s products.

While some of these ingredients – such as formaldehyde and artificial fragrance – are certainly best avoided, others are labeled as bad based on outdated research, poorly designed or inconclusive studies, or simply anecdotal evidence, and not on the conditions (or concentrations) in which these ingredients are actually used in real-world skin care applications.

That aside, Versed has an attractive aesthetic that goes along with this clean philosophy: pastel-colored packaging with plain type that explains what each product’s purpose is and calls out key ingredients in each. For the most part, Versed products are packaged to protect their light- and air-sensitive ingredients; however, there are a few instances of clear and jar packaging, which compromise the benefits of some ingredients, particularly antioxidants.

The formulas from Versed are  a mixed bag. Some contain a host of beneficial ingredients while totally avoiding irritants, others are good but basic, and some others include fragrant plant extracts and oils that pose a risk of sensitizing skin (and we should be clear – fragrance, both synthetic and natural, can irritate skin). It really is a situation where the products are best judged on a case-by-case basis, as the hit-or-miss nature of the line requires more scrutiny than simply choosing based on product claims and skin type.

Despite the extra effort needed, Versed does have some good products to offer, and the convenience of being available both online and in a major retailer like Target, will have a lot of appeal to a good number of people. You can learn more about Versed at

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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