The touted ACELERA Complex in this scrub is supposed to help deliver the 2% salicylic acid it contains “deep to the pores.” In a scrub, that isn’t possible with any formula because it is rinsed from the skin before it can do much. Salicylic acid is far better at helping to treat acne when it’s in a leave-on product. When properly formulated in leave-on products, salicylic acid can penetrate into the pore lining, where blockages occur, which is a major reason why it can be so helpful for those struggling with acne. In a rinse-off product like this, however, it’s basically wasted. In the end, despite the superior-sounding claims, this scrub isn’t recommended, for the above reasons and because it contains the irritating menthol derivative menthyl lactate, which is irritating, and irritation stimulates more oil production at the base of your pores, which is not helpful for skin. For additional details on plastic microbeads in cosmetics, see the More Info section below.
Plastic Microbeads in Cosmetics: This product contains polyethylene beads, which is an ingredient that has come under controversy in the recent past. In December of 2013, research published in the peer-reviewed journal, Marine Pollution Bulletin demonstrated that although polyethylene beads are non-toxic to humans, they are not filtered during sewage treatment and are accumulating in waterways. This means the beads have the potential to negatively affect marine wildlife who mistakenly consume them (Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2013).
Additional research published in December of 2013 demonstrated that polyethylene beads have the potential to absorb pollutants while in waterways. This research was conducted to establish the potential of absorption, however, and was not conducted using samples from actual waterways (Cell, 2013).
Beautypedia does not take an ideological stance in reviewing skincare products; rather, our reviews are based upon each product's potential harm or benefit to skin contingent upon what independent peer-reviewed scientific research has demonstrated. On issues like polyethylene beads in cosmetics or animal testing, we present the facts without judgment so that you may make your own decision whether or not this product is right for you.
CLEAN & CLEAR BLACKHEAD ERASER Scrub is infused with micro-beads that work to gently exfoliate, lifting away trapped dirt and oil that can clog pores and lead to blackheads. This formula contains ACELERA Complex, a patent-pending technology that works to dissolve surface oil, allowing for the delivery of blackhead fighting medication, Salicylic Acid, deep to the pores.
Active: Salicylic Acid (2%), Other: Cetyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Jojoba Esters, Menthyl Lactate, Microcrystalline Wax, PPG-15 Stearyl Ether, Polyethylene, Polysorbate 60, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Steareth-21, Water, Xanthan Gum
Clean & Clear At-A-Glance
Strengths: Inexpensive; an excellent 10% benzoyl peroxide product; some very good cleansers.
Weaknesses: The majority of products contain irritating fragrant extracts, alcohol, menthol, menthyl lactate, or other problematic ingredients; below-average moisturizers; poor options for those struggling with breakouts or blackheads (at least if your goal is assembling a helpful skin-care routine using only Clean & Clear's products).
The name of this Johnson & Johnson–owned brand clearly communicates what it attempts to provide, and may seem to be a beacon of hope for consumers struggling with acne. The products are heavily marketed toward teens, with commercials and print ads featuring attractive young models with nary a blemish in sight, presumably because these fresh-faced teens adhere to a routine consisting of these attractively packaged products.
Although there are some great, inexpensive cleansers available, blemishes have nothing to do with how clean your skin is; the two issues are completely unrelated. The other failing is that unlike sister company Neutrogena (also owned by J&J), almost all of Clean & Clear's anti-acne products contain irritating ingredients that won't improve skin problems and end up making matters worse. Even a couple of the pH-correct BHA options are marred by troublesome ingredients that only make blemished skin more inflamed and impede the healing process. Moreover, the issue of sun protection is inadequately addressed, with the only option failing to provide sun protection without added irritants. What kind of message is that for teens trying to put together an effective skin-care routine? Clean skin is attainable from these products, but the company's road to "beautifully clear" skin has too many speed bumps to make this a one-stop destination for the blemish-prone.
For more information about Clean & Clear, call (877) 754-6411 or visit www.cleanandclear.com.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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