12.02.2014
2
4
TriAcneal
Rating
1.01 fl. oz. for $60
Category:Skin Care > AHA Exfoliants > AHA
Last Updated:12.02.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This very expensive anti-acne product contains glycolic acid, and the company states it’s present at 6%, which, coupled with this product’s pH, means exfoliation will occur.

Altough AHA in the form of glycolic acid can absolutely be helpful for breakouts, research shows that when acne is the concern, salicylic acid (BHA, or beta hydroxy acid) is preferred to glycolic acid because it is oil-soluble and also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, three important needs for someone with blemish-prone skin.

TriAcneal also contains a form of retinaldehyde known as retinal, but the amount is merely a dusting; there is more red dye in here than retinal. The company states they’re using 0.1% retinal, but the ingredient list doesn’t necessarily jibe with that. Assuming it’s close, there is research showing 6% glycolic acid and 0.1% retinal can be helpful for breakouts.

This ends up being an acceptable yet overpriced product whose acne-improving ability, including improving the appearance of acne marks, is limited but may be worth a look if your skin doesn’t respond well to a BHA exfoliant.

Note: The amount of alcohol this contains is likely too low to be cause for concern. What’s certain, though, is that alcohol won’t help improve acne or signs of aging.

Pros:
  • Contains 6% glycolic acid at a pH that guarantees it will work as an exfoliant.
Cons:
  • Expensive.
  • Contains retinal (a form of vitamin A), but in the tiniest amount possible, so your skin isn’t likely to see much benefit.
  • Doesn’t contain a brilliant range of ingredients to fight acne and wrinkles.
Claims

A clinically-proven trio of acne-fighting ingredients, including patented Retinaldehyde® with proven anti-aging benefits, Glycolic Acid and the new patented Efectiose®, formulated with soothing thermal spring water to help eliminate breakouts, abnormal keratinization, acne-related redness and irritation and residual scarring.

Ingredients

Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Cyclomethicone, Polysorbate 60, Glycolic Acid, Avene Thermal Spring Water, SD Alcohol 39-C, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Sodium Hydroxide, Cetearyl Alcohol, Arginine HCL, BHT, Ceteareth-33, Dimethiconol, Fragrance, Potassium Sorbate, Red 33, Retinal, Undecyl Rhamnoside

Brand Overview

Eau Thermale Avene At-a-Glance

Strengths: Some good cleansers; every sunscreen provides reliable UVA protection; an effective psoriasis cream; a couple of praiseworthy lip balms.

Weaknesses: Mostly overpriced for what you get; repetitive, unimpressive moisturizer formulas; products for sensitive skin contain fragrance or other potentially irritating ingredients; the redness-reducing products simply trade one problem for another.

Building an entire skin-care line on a single concept, however meaningless that concept may be, is often all it takes to capture the attention of consumers, just because it sounds so convincing. Such is the case with Eau Thermale Avene, a France-based line whose claim to fame is the thermal spring water in its products.

The company's history is laced with romanticized folklore of the allegedly restorative power of this water, with some tales dating back to the 1700s. Building a skin-care line around what was known (or, more accurately, unknown) about skin 300 years ago doesn't make sense, because 300 years ago no one knew anything about skin care or how skin functions; certainly no one knew about sun damage or free-radical damage. For goodness sakes, women in the 1700s were using face powders laced with lead, and who would want to emulate that? Still, the stories Eau Thermale Avene concocts must be convincing some people to buy their products or we wouldn't have been contacted several times per week by readers asking me to review this line.

Avene maintains that their thermal spring water is curative not only because of its historical proof (more anecdotes than proof), but also scientifically because of its low mineral content and pure, pristine source. The company's owner (Pierre Fabre Laboratories) claims to have conducted over 150 clinical studies. However, as you might suspect, there only a handful of published studies, and they all are related to the supposed healing power of Avene's thermal spring water when applied to skin that's been compromised by exposure to radiation or by cosmetic corrective procedures, such as light-emitting devices. Their studies showed that the water has soothing properties and that it helped damaged skin heal faster when compared with the effects of another type of spring water, the standard post-burn treatment, or randomly selected skin-care products.

As convincing as that sounds, the studies don't hold water for several reasons: first, the improvement seen from Avene's thermal spring water was nominal compared with the control; second, the studies were sponsored by Avene; and third, the studies didn't show how the spring water may have fared against numerous established topical anti-irritants or other FDA-approved skin protectants (Sources: Annals of Dermatology and Venereology, Special Edition, January 2008, pages 5–10; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2007, pages 31–35; and Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, September 2007, pages 924–928).

Avene offers additional studies on their Web site, but the majority again are published in the company's own publications; and none were peer-reviewed. Bottom line: There is absolutely no evidence that any type of thermal spring water allows skin to resist or correct signs of aging. Helping skin maintain its barrier is great, but there is abundant research showing that substances such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin do a far better job.

To its credit, Avene does offer some worthwhile products for sensitive skin. Yet they also offer products that can be problematic for sensitive skin because they contain fragrance and other potentially harmful ingredients. More important is the lack of significant anti-irritants that could have been extremely helpful for those with sensitive skin.

For the most part, unless you're a believer in the company's thermal spring water, there is little reason to get excited about their products. They offer some good cleansers, alternatives to retinol (using a similar ingredient known as retinal and retinaldehyde, which is one of the more effective derivatives of retinol), and some basic yet effective moisturizers for sensitive skin that's also dry.

Given this line's penchant for extolling antiquated skin-care fables, it shouldn't be surprising that their products lack an impressive selection of state-of-the-art ingredients whose benefits for skin are substantiated by reams of research. Interestingly, many of the claims prevalent throughout the cosmetics industry are found here, too, but without the formulas to support them and to actually deliver remarkable antiwrinkle results.

For more information about Eau Thermale Avene, call (866) 412-8363 or visit www.aveneusa.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment that Paula Begoun, founder of Beautypedia and Paula's Choice Skincare made over 30 years ago-to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!


The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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12.04.2014
Too weak

This is a very basic product with low percentage of acids. I think it's suitable for beginners and for people who don't tolerate stronger products. For me it doesn't do much. The price is nowhere near 60$. It costs 14€ or a little over 20$ in the USA (can be checked in many online stores).

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Reviewed by
Aniko
02.02.2013
So which other product?

So which other product would you recommend instead? I have tried several aha and bha products. They don't work quite as simply as you suggest.

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Reviewed by
Kiula
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