Advantage Mark Treatment
0.5 fl. oz. for $6.49
Last Updated:11.20.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Red marks from past acne breakouts are a common problem, but this product is not a good solution. It does contain 2% salicylic acid (BHA) along with the AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) ingredient glycolic acid, and the formula’s pH allows exfoliation to occur (and regular exfoliation helps these red marks fade faster). Unfortunately, however, the base formula contains alcohol and witch hazel, both of which cause significant irritation, which makes red marks worse. Please see More Info for details on why irritation is a problem for all skin types, and a real negative for those struggling with breakouts.

  • Contains an effective amount of salicylic acid and is formulated at a pH that allows exfoliation.
  • Contains two potent skin irritants that make acne and the red marks it leaves behind worse.
  • Irritation from this product can stimulate excess oil production that leads to more breakouts, and, thus, more red marks.

More Info

Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation, which impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes vital substances your skin needs to stay young. Irritating ingredients stimulate excess oil production at the base of the pores, making oily skin and the accompanying breakouts worse, which in turn makes red marks from acne worse. So, products like this actually make matters worse.

For these reasons, it is best to minimize or eliminate as much as possible your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant anti-acne formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients.

Note that the list of inactive ingredients for this product is in alphabetical order rather than in descending order of content. This is permissible via U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) standards because this product is regulated as an over-the-counter drug.


Treats breakouts fast. Diminishes the look of post acne marks. Recommended for daily use.


Active: Salicylic Acid (2%), Other: Alcohol, Benzalkonium Chloride, Bisabolol (L-Alpha), Butylene Glycol, C12 15 Alkyl Lactate, Cetyl Lactate, Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Fragrance, Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana Leaf Extract (Witch Hazel), Isodecyl Laurate, Polyquaternium 37, Polysorbate 20, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Sodium Benzotriazole Butylphenyl Sulfonate, Sodium Hydroxide, Water

Brand Overview

Clean & Clear At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; an excellent 10% benzoyl peroxide product; some very good cleansers.

Weaknesses: The majority of products contain irritating fragrant extracts, alcohol, menthol, menthyl lactate, or other problematic ingredients; below-average moisturizers; poor options for those struggling with breakouts or blackheads (at least if your goal is assembling a helpful skin-care routine using only Clean & Clear's products).

The name of this Johnson & Johnson–owned brand clearly communicates what it attempts to provide, and may seem to be a beacon of hope for consumers struggling with acne. The products are heavily marketed toward teens, with commercials and print ads featuring attractive young models with nary a blemish in sight, presumably because these fresh-faced teens adhere to a routine consisting of these attractively packaged products.

Although there are some great, inexpensive cleansers available, blemishes have nothing to do with how clean your skin is; the two issues are completely unrelated. The other failing is that unlike sister company Neutrogena (also owned by J&J), almost all of Clean & Clear's anti-acne products contain irritating ingredients that won't improve skin problems and end up making matters worse. Even a couple of the pH-correct BHA options are marred by troublesome ingredients that only make blemished skin more inflamed and impede the healing process. Moreover, the issue of sun protection is inadequately addressed, with the only option failing to provide sun protection without added irritants. What kind of message is that for teens trying to put together an effective skin-care routine? Clean skin is attainable from these products, but the company's road to "beautifully clear" skin has too many speed bumps to make this a one-stop destination for the blemish-prone.

For more information about Clean & Clear, call (877) 754-6411 or visit www.cleanandclear.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment 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.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Don't Buy This

If you look at the reviews of this product on retail websites, you will see that Paula is correct in saying that this will make acne and scarring worse, not better. I've had this for about a year - used it many times - but no positive results. In the trash it goes. That was a waste of money.

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