This anti-acne system consists of a foaming cleanser, a foam with benzoyl peroxide, and another foam medicated with salicylic acid, all in 3-ounce metal containers. The foaming, mousse-like dispensing of each product is more gimmicky than essential, though each product has a light texture those with oily, acne-prone skin aren’t likely to find objectionable.
Oil-Free Acne Pore Cleanser Foam contains 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, but, micronized or not, this anti-acne superstar is of little use to skin when formulated in a cleanser. The active’s contact with skin is too brief to work well, though it can be of some help. The problem is that you don’t want to apply benzoyl peroxide around your eyes, so this isn’t a good option for removing eye makeup. Also, the mousse-like texture of this cleanser makes it tricky to use because it tends to slide right off wet hands before you can massage it around your face.
As a cleanser, this works OK and is fairly gentle, though it contains a fragrance ingredient (farnesol) that poses a risk of irritation. Otherwise, this is suitable for normal to dry or combination skin.
After cleansing you apply the Oil-Free All–Day Acne Control Foam, which is medicated with 5% benzoyl peroxide. Although there’s much to like about this slightly creamy mousse-like product, it contains a couple of problematic ingredients that make is less desirable. The ginger root extract can be an irritant but 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. We’re also concerned that the volatile propellant (propane) may affect the stability of the benzoyl peroxide.
Last up is the Oil-Free Acne Night Repair Foam, which, as the name states, you’re directed to apply at night. This foam contains 1.5% salicylic acid (BHA) in a somewhat creamy yet lightweight base. Unfortunately, the pH of this product isn’t within range for exfoliation to occur and, just like the All-Day Acne Control Foam above, it contains potential irritant ginger root. Anti-irritants are present, as are cell-communicating ingredients of retinol and niacinamide, so this isn’t a product to dismiss outright, but there are better products that treat skin to those anti-aging ingredients.
Note: The inactive ingredients for each of these products is listed in alphabetical rather than descending order. This is permissible because these products are regulated as over-the-counter drugs. Although many companies selling OTC skin-care products have begun listing their ingredients in this manner, it doesn’t make it any easier for the consumer to determine how much of a given ingredient they’re applying to their skin.
An innovative system that uses foam to kill 99% of acne bacteria and promote healthy skin. Patented ActivFoam™ Technology continuously fights acne 24/7, even after rinsing! Absorbs quickly into the skin and is less irritating than most creams and lotions.
Oil-Free Acne Pore Cleanser Foam
Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5%, Inactive Ingredients: Bakuchiol, Benzalkonium Chloride, Bisabolol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Farnesol, Phenoxyethanol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Isobutane, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Methylisothiazolinone, Naringenin, Panthenyl Triacetate, PEG-100 Stearate, Polyethylene, Propane, Sea Whip Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Stearic Acid, Water, Xanthan Gum
Oil-Free All-Day Acne Control Foam
Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide 5%, Inactive Ingredients: Bakuchiol, Benzalkonium Chloride, Bisabolol, Butylene Glycol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Dimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Isobutane, Methyl Methacrylate/Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Methylisothiazolinone, Naringenin, Panthenyl Triacetate, PEG-100 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 60, Propane, Sea Whip Extract, Tetrasodium EDTA, Water, Xanthan Gum, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract
Oil-Free 3-in-1 Acne Night Repair Foam
Active Ingredient: Salicylic Acid 1.5%, Inactive Ingredients: Allyl Methacrylates Crosspolymer, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Benzyl Alcohol, Bisabolol, Butylene Glycol, Cocoamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Decylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch Octenylsuccinate, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Hyaluronic Acid, Isobutane, Niacinamide, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Propane, Propanediol, Retinol, Salicylic Acid, Sea Whip Extract, Sorbic Acid, Water, Xanthan Gum, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Zinc PCA, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract
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.