This anti-acne system means well but, like so many others it’s not a slam-dunk solution. The Oil-Free Purifying Cleanser (4 fl. oz.) is medicated with 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, yet in a cleanser most of this active ingredient’s benefit is rinsed down the drain. Otherwise, with the exception of a small amount of the potentially irritating fragrance ingredient Farnesol, this cleanser is gentle and effective. It works well to remove makeup, shouldn’t leave your skin feeling dry or tight, and rinses easily. The inclusion of soothing ingredients is a nice touch, though how much benefit they’ll have in a rinse-off product is questionable (though they’re likely doing some good).
Next is the Renewing Toner, which is the problem-child product in this system. This anti-acne toner lists alcohol as its second ingredient and also contains irritating witch hazel water. Alcohol in skin-care products causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin’s ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410–1,419; Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, January 2011, pages 83–90; “Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In,” Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).
Renewing Toner (4 fl. oz.) also contains a problematic preservative, which is a shame because among the troublesome ingredients are some very good soothing agents plus niacinamide, which can help improve skin in multiple ways.
The last product in the kit is the Repair Lotion (2 fl. oz.), which is medicated with 3.7% benzoyl peroxide. A leave-on product with this topical disinfectant is preferred to one you rinse off, but this leave-on option is less desirable because it contains ginger root extract, which can be an irritant. The bigger concern is the preservative methylisothiazolinone: This preservative is known to be sensitizing and is generally not recommended for use in leave-on products (Sources: Contact Dermatitis, November 2011, pages 276-285; and IFA—International Federation of Aromatherapists, www.int-fed-aromatherapy.co.uk). Given you can fine inexpensive topical disinfectant with benzoyl peroxide that omit these troublesome ingredients, this product isn’t recommended.
OIL-FREE PURIFYING CLEANSER
Gently deep cleans with subtle, exfoliating micro-beads to remove pore-clogging dirt, excess oil and eliminate acne bacteria. Medication penetrates deep into pores to fight breakouts, even after rinsing.
This revitalizing, pore-refining toner with vitamins, Witch Hazel, Chamomile and Aloe helps control oil and balance uneven skin tone. Leaves skin feeling soft and refreshed.
Micro-sized medicine is easily absorbed into pores, fighting acne bacteria and helping to stop new breakouts before they start.
OIL-FREE PURIFYING CLEANSER
Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5%, Inactive Ingredients: Water, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Stearic Acid, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Bakuchiol, Panthenyl Triacetate, Bisabolol, Benzalkonium Chloride, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Naringenin, Sea Whip Extract, Polyethylene, Xanthan Gum, Cetyl Alcohol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Farnesol, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Methylisothiazolinone
Water/Aqua/Eau, Alcohol Denat., Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sorbitol, Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Glycolic Acid, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower/Leaf Extract, Sea Whip Extract, Niacinamide, Bisabolol, Benzalkonium Chloride, Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Copper PCA, Lactic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Methylisothiazolinone
Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide 3.7%, Inactive Ingredients: Water, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Butylene Glycol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Bisabolol, Glycerin, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Naringenin, Bakuchiol, Sea Whip Extract, Panthenyl Triacetate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Benzalkonium Chloride, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Dimethicone, Xanthan Gum, Cetyl Alcohol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Methyl Methacrylate/Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiazolinone, Ethylhexylglycerin
AcneFree is a small group of skin-care products sold in sets. As you may have guessed from the brand name, this is a line that's all about treating acne. You'll find this brand in most major drugstores, but it's not the acne treatment system to beat!
Owned by University Medical Pharmaceuticals, you'd think these products would be a slam-dunk for acne, but they're not. Although the kits contain some good products, all of them feature at least one product that's not effective for its intended purpose or contains irritating ingredients that will make your acne worse.
Just because the company claims these kits (systems) are the #1 best-selling in America doesn't mean they work; rather, it means that a lot of consumers with acne are buying the wrong products. We understand the frustration of struggling with breakouts. You want something that works to get rid of them, and the faster the better. It would be great if AcneFree could make good on all of its promises, but it simply doesn't, at least not 100%.
For more information about AcneFree, call 1.800.321.4576 or visit www.acnefree.com.