This 3-step anti-acne system contains a cleanser, exfoliating toner, and spot treatment. Step 1, Corrective Cleanser (4 fl. oz.) contains the anti-acne ingredient salicylic acid, but in a cleanser it is just rinsed down the drain before it can really help your skin. This is otherwise a good, water-soluble cleanser whose only weak spot is a small amount of ginger root extract, a plant that has anti-inflammatory benefits but can also be irritating (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com).
Next is the Alcohol-Free Acne Toner (4 fl. oz.) which is a mix of good and problematic ingredients bound to leave sensitive skin confused. Truly a mixed bag, this toner has more pros (niacinamide, antioxidants and anti-irritants) than cons (irritating citrus extracts) but it's still tricky to recommend for sensitive skin. It's an OK option for normal to oily skin that's not sensitive.
Last is the Hydrating Acne Repair Lotion + Spot Treatment (2 fl. oz.) which is medicated with 3% benzoyl peroxide. Although the amount of benzoyl peroxide is great and the lotion-like formula contains some very good anti-irritants, it also 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.
Note: The inactive ingredients for the cleanser and spot treatment in this system are listed in alphabetical rather than descending order. This is permissible because these products are regulated as an 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.
Sensitive skin. An acne-fighting system that's tough on acne, gentle on skin.
CORRECTIVE ACNE CLEANSER
Active Ingredient: Salicylic Acid 1.5%, Inactive Ingredients: Aminomethyl Propanol, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Benzyl Alcohol, Bisabolol, Butylene Glycol, Ethyl Vanillin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Glycerin, Glycol Distearate, Polyacrylate-1 Crosspolymer, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Sodium Phytate, Sorbic Acid, Stearic Acid, Sea Whip Extract, Water/Aqua/Eau, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Zinc PCA.
ALCOHOL-FREE ACNE TONER
Water (Aqua), Niacinamide, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sea Whip Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Bisabolol, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Salicylic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Benzalkonium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, Aminomethyl Propanol, Isoceteth-20, Phenylmethanol.
HYDRATING ACNE REPAIR LOTION + SPOT TREATMENT
Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide 3%, Inactive Ingredients: Allantoin, Bisabolol, Butylene Glycol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Ethyl Macadamiate, Glycerin, Jojoba Esters, Laureth-7, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Methyl Methacrylate/Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Methylisothiazolinone, Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylamide, Propanediol, Sea Whip Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Hydroxide, Water/Aqua/Eau, 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.