When we handed our creative director, Paul Bruno, a couple of acne treatments, he immediately zoomed in on the ingredients, explaining that he’s tried everything for his oily, acne-prone skin and, as a result, has become a pimple treatment expert. Here are two of his very informative road tests:
What it is: CLEAN & CLEAR Advantage Popped Pimple Relief Gel Pen, $6.99, drugstore.com
The Claim: Reduces appearance of new blemishes and also relieves popped pimples.
My Results: Seeing that this product only has 2% Salicylic Acid, I was skeptical (I like treatments with 5% to 10% sal acid). But although this pen won’t prevent a massive blemish from surfacing, it did keep the blemish I had from growing bigger, developing a whitehead or turning red. I applied a thin layer of the gel directly onto blemishes that I spotted developing, and with only two daily applications, by the following day, the zits were gone – I couldn’t even feel them! The other benefits: it’s so easy to carry with you and, because it’s a clear gel, you can apply it anywhere, anytime.
Rating (out of 5 stars): 4 out of 5
What it is: Proactiv Solution Refining Mask, $8.55, amazon.com
The Claim: When used 2 to 3 times per week, this mask will improve skin clarity, reduce blemishes and blemish scars and prevent future breakouts.
My Results: The first time I used this, I splashed my face with water then smoothed the mask on my skin. This was a big mistake! The mask stuck to the oil on my face, but did not break through it. On my second try, I washed my face with cleanser first. So much better! The mask wasn’t too harsh and didn’t burn (although it does have a strong sulfur odor). I noticed a dramatic change even after the first use: My skin seemed clearer, blemishes and blemish scars seemed visibly reduced, as well as redness, and my pores even felt tighter! My only downside is that the sulfur scent stayed on my skin even after I rinsed the mask off.
Rating (out of 5 stars): 5 out of 5