This anti-acne product combines elements of an AHA and BHA exfoliant with a standard scrub and a clay mask. More scrub than anything else, you’re directed to use it once or twice weekly, massaging skin for 30 seconds and then leaving the product on for another minute before rinsing. We wish we could state this is an ingenious way to get breakouts under control, but instead it exposes skin to numerous irritating ingredients that can make acne and its accompanying redness worse, not better.
The formula is medicated with 0.5% salicylic acid, but the pH of this product is not within range for it to function as an exfoliant. The same holds true for the AHA ingredients, and none of these are of much help in product whose contact with skin is so brief (in contrast, breakouts often respond well to a leave-on BHA exfoliant with 1–2% salicylic acid).
Irritating ingredients steal the show here, yet none of the fragrant plant oils have research proving they help acne, either by clearing breakouts or preventing new ones. This product is an expensive mistake and absolutely not recommended for anyone, regardless of skin type or concern.
Wouldn't it be great to clear up your blemishes? It's actually easy to do - that is, when you have ExfoliKate Acne Clearing Exfoliating Treatment on your side. This unique blend of ingredients is intended to target existing blemishes and prevent new breakouts.
Active: Salicylic Acid (0.5%) Other: Water, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Montmorillonite, Glycerin, Distarch Phosphate, Triethanolamine, Glyceryl Stearate, 4-Terpineol, Jojoba Esters, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Polyacrylamide, Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Phytic Acid, Protease, Copaifera Officinalis (Balsam Copaiba) Resin, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Carapa Guaianensis Seed Oil, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Oil, Laureth-7, Dehydroxanthan Gum, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Alcohol, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Genipa Americana Fruit Extract, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Oil, Glycine, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Limonene, Linalool
Kate Somerville At-A-Glance
Strengths: Provides complete ingredient lists on their website; effective Anti Bac Clearing Lotion for acne; good eczema cream; some fantastic serums and moisturizers chock-full of beneficial ingredients.
Weaknesses: Expensive; irritating cleansers and scrubs; several products contain irritating ingredients with no proven benefit for skin; disappointing CC cream.
The woman behind this line is a Los Angeles–based aesthetician who owns her own clinic, which specializes not only in aesthetic services but also in cosmetic corrective procedures involving injections (dermal fillers), lasers, Botox, and the like. The clinic is staffed with a doctor and nurses, which is definitely what you want if you're considering services beyond a facial or a massage.
The selling points of this line are Somerville's years of experience in the aesthetics industry and her allegedly devoted celebrity clientele. As such, her products and famous clientele get press in the pages of fashion magazines, which explains why we routinely get asked about this skin-care line. Somerville herself is every bit as attractive as her star clients, and the information on her Web site is presented in such a way that you sincerely believe she has your skin's best interests in mind. And wouldn't you want to trust your skin's needs to a professional who also tends to celebrities?
Knowing all these details, we were anticipating that most of the products bearing Somerville's name would be state-of-the-art slam dunks. Alas, many of them are far afield from that level of formulation. When it comes to giving skin what it needs to function as healthily and normally as possible (and, at these prices, that's what you should expect), this line is, unfortunately, hit or miss. What Somerville knows about giving an amazing facial is one thing, but she clearly missed the research that proves how problematic several of the plant oils that she uses can be. A professional concerned with the health of her clients' skin shouldn't be formulating products with cinnamon, grapefruit, and lavender oils, among others.
If we were one of Somerville's clients, we'd certainly take her to task for that oversight, but we'd also want to know why she offers only one sunscreen and doesn't offer any effective AHA or BHA exfoliants. A discussion of advanced skin science and state-of-the-art ingredients is not sufficient if your product line has gaps: limited sun protection options, no reliable exfoliants, no non-drying cleansers, and a complete lack of options to treat skin discolorations (pigment irregularities, unlike blackheads, cannot be manually extracted, which makes the absence of a skin lightening product an issue).
This product line may not be the one you want to build your skin-care routine around, but there are some exceptional products. Of all the aesthetician-backed lines we've reviewed, none come as close to providing the level of formulary excellence of many of Somerville's moisturizers and serums. They're pricey, but if you're going to spend in excess for skin-care products, you should be doing so on products that stand a very good chance of markedly improving your skin’s appearance. We are curious to see how this product line will expand and (hopefully) improve over the years. The current mishmash of awesome and awful products makes it risky to shop this line blindly (or on the sole rationale of a celebrity endorsement), but with careful consideration to avoid irritants you can find some products of value. Hopefully, she will expand the line to fill in the current gaps (especially for sun protection) and eliminate the irritants.
For more information about Kate Somerville, now owned by Unilever, call (800) 984-5283 or visit www.katesomerville.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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