The Little Serum That Could
I thought that my late twenties would grant me acne-free living but sadly I am not so blessed. Once a month or so I still get a pesky intruder (he almost always brings friends) on my chin or cheek and I wince with discomfort and anger until it goes away. I'm also becoming more and more observant of every nook and cranny of my face, tryin' to catch those fine lines and minimize them before they turn into wrinkles. A wild life I lead, right?
Thankfully the kind people at SkinCeuticals have heard the cries of us in this awkward "adult-but-still-breakout-prone" phase. When they contacted me and asked me if there was anything I'd like to try from their range, the Blemish + Age Defense serum was calling my name.
It's housed in a dark brown glass bottle and comes with a pipette dispenser. The serum itself is clear and watery. It's got a bit more density to it than water, but it's not thick or oily by any means. The hero ingredients here are both alpha and beta hydroxy acids: glycolic acid to exfoliate the top layers of the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and acne scarring; salicylic acid to penetrate deeper into the clogged pores and clear them out, as well as prevent from future breakouts. There's also a new kid on the block - dioic acid, which is meant to reduce excess sebum production.
Sebum = the oil your skin produces. It's great but like all things, only great in moderation. When your skin produces excess sebum, your pores get clogged and become a feast for acne-causing bacteria.
Now, to be honest, my first impression before I started using this product was "UGH, ALCOHOL" - you open the bottle and the alcohol fumes hit your nostrils. It's the first thing on the ingredients list. I am not a fan of alcohol in skincare products because it is extremely drying to the skin, so I was extremely disappointed and wary upon first use.
To my surprise, this did not leave my skin feeling parched. It applied on the skin very nicely and had a bit of slip to it, making it easy to spread around. It did not sting upon application. It did not leave a sticky residue, nor did it leave my skin feeling dry and tight. I followed up with my night moisturizer and called it a night.
The next day my skin looked awesome. After a week of use, my skin was totally clear of any unwanted intruders. The cystic mountain that was starting to grow on my chin on Wednesday was reduced to nothingness by Sunday. I kept using it sparingly in the following 2 weeks, popping it on just on the areas where I felt a bit of congestion coming on. It kept the acne at bay.
I'm super pleasantly surprised by this - despite the alcohol content. I am assuming the alcohol is necessary to keep the formula at a desirable pH for the acids to be able to work. Back in the day almost all glycolic formulations had to contain some amounts of alcohol in order to maintain their efficacy. Thus, I would not recommend this product if you are very dry or have sensitive skin. If you are normal/combination/oily and acne prone, in your late twenties and beyond and looking for a blemish buster that also prevents aging, SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense is your guy. It retails for $90 and you can find it here.