Skin Rescue Acne-Clearing Charcoal Cleanser with Probiotics
First Aid Beauty's Skin Rescue Acne-Clearing Charcoal Cleanser with Probiotics is a good option for those looking for a cleanser for oily skin, though it can't quite live up to all its claims.
This creamy, dark gray cleanser is fragrance free and comes in a squeeze tube. Its texture is easy to spread over skin and has a slight foaming action when it contacts water.
It does a good job removing dirt and oil, and rinses cleanly without making skin feel dry or tight. It also contains some oil-absorbing ingredients, which, while they don't stay on skin for long, can help tone down excess oil.
The only criticism we have for this cleanser is that it features salicylic acid, which is billed here for its abilities to treat and prevent acne. While salicylic acid can do that, it's much more effective in a leave-on product, since it's rinsed from skin before it really gets a chance to work (see More Info for the full story). The same is true for the probiotics promoted in this products name; they're skin-beneficial, but better in a leave-on product.
That aside, this is still a great choice for a cleanser if you have combination or oily skin.
- Does a good job removing dirt and oil.
- Rinses cleanly without making skin feel dry or tight.
- Fragrance free.
- Salicylic acid is most effective in leave-on skincare products.
This cleanser contains salicylic acid, an ingredient that when included in a well-formulated leave-on product work beautifully to gently exfoliate skin. However, in a cleanser or scrub, salicylic acid is far less effective, if effective at all, because it's rinsed off before they can begin to work.
If you're hoping this cleanser will provide exfoliating benefits, think again. On the other hand, salicylic acid can provide hydrating benefits during their brief contact with skin.
Some companies recommend leaving these types of cleansers on skin for a longer period so the salicylic acid can absorb, but that means the cleansing agents also are left on longer, which can cause dryness and irritation.
Because First Aid Beauty makes acne-fighting claims that are not likely to occur, its rating is not as good as it would have been. We don't want you spending money on a product whose exfoliating ingredients probably can't perform as claimed. Instead, look for leave-on BHA exfoliants.
First Aid Beauty At-A-Glance
Strengths: Several fragrance-free products; relatively reasonable pricing; sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection; wonderful fragrance-free body wash.
Weaknesses: AHA pads contain a low amount of glycolic and lactic acids; some products contain fragrant plant extracts; every product contains feverfew extract, which has benefits, but also can be an irritant; jar packaging; for a line meant for sensitive skin, their use of common irritants is disappointing.
With a name like First Aid Beauty (FAB for short), it's obvious this line is meant to rescue your skin from distress, and, indeed, these products are targeted toward those who have sensitive, easily irritated skin, but who still want an elegant, department-store flair. Ironically, FAB falls short on both ends of the spectrum.
Despite the company's claims of providing "therapeutic action" for "tough skin conditions," some of the products contain irritating ingredients that are extremely problematic for any skin type, especially for those with sensitive or compromised skin. It was disappointing to see known irritants like sulfur, balsam resin, and witch hazel in products claiming to calm your skin and reduce redness. "What were they thinking?" was a question that came up more than once while reviewing this line!
On the bright side, First Aid Beauty does have a very good fragrance-free body wash. There are also a few products that omit the fragrance, which is a definite must for sensitive skin, although, in fact, all skin types do best with fragrance-free products. Unfortunately, the fragrance-free formulas in this line come up short on important ingredients, like antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients.
It is best to avoid their Ultra Repair Cream, the SPF 30 sunscreen, Detox Eye Roller, Blemish Eraser, and the Anti-Redness Serum because they all contain enough irritating ingredients to make conditions like acne, redness, and sensitivity worse.
For more information about First Aid Beauty, visit your local Sephora or Ulta or call (800) 322-3619 or visit www.firstaidbeauty.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.