Ultra Rapid Action Pads
90 pads for $8.99
Last Updated:03.16.2015
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Clearasil's Ultra Rapid Action Pads are highly unlikely to reduce your breakouts but very likely to make redness, dryness, and flaking skin worse. Sadly, these pads are another example of a poor formula for acne-prone skin. The amount of alcohol is cause for concern and potentially enough to cause irritation that will make oily skin worse (see More Info for details).

On the upside, the formula is medicated with anti-acne superstar ingredient salicylic acid. The 2% concentration of this ingredient plus the pad's pH means they're capable of exfoliating, but there are gentler ways to do this. You don't need to expose your skin to alcohol or the fragrant plants these pads contain.

These pads contain a couple of novel plant extracts that research has indicated have anti-inflammatory properties, but they also have fragrant components that can cause irritation (Sources: Journal of Ethnopharmacology, November 2013, ePublication; and Planta Medica, October 2001, pages 614–618).

  • Medicated with 2% salicylic acid in a pH-correct formula.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Formula's alcohol content is likely high enough to promote irritation, which makes oily, acne-prone skin worse.
  • Contains fragrant plant extracts that pose a risk of irritation, despite a couple of them having anti-inflammatory benefits.
More Info:

Applying irritating ingredients to oily skin stimulates excess oil production at the base of the pores, so skin ends up being more oily and pores become (or stay) enlarged. If you want to see improvements in oily skin, the best approach is to treat your skin gently with effective products designed to absorb excess oil, exfoliate inside the pore, and help normalize pore function (Sources: Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366; and Dermatology, January 2003, pages 17–23).


Clearasil Ultra® Action Pads are dermatologist tested and visibly reduces pimple size and redness in as little as 4 hours. The acne pads are scientifically formulated with maximum strength acne medication in an exfoliating action pad that works quickly to open blocked pores.


Active Ingredient: Salicylic Acid (2.0%). Inactive Ingredients: Water, Alcohol Denat. Glycerin, Isoceteth-20, Sorbitol, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance, Lavandula Stoechas Extract, Helichrysum Italicum Extract, Cistus Monspeliensis Extract, Disodium EDTA, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben.

Brand Overview

Clearasil At-a-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; effective topical disinfectants with 10% benzoyl peroxide.

Weaknesses: As is true for most anti-acne lines, irritating ingredients with no benefit for skin take precedence; no lower-strength benzoyl peroxide products (10% has a higher chance of causing irritation than 2.5% and 5% versions).

Perhaps no other line is more synonymous with decades of zapping zits than ever-present Clearasil. The brand debuted in 1950 and was the first to offer anti-acne products to a teenage audience. The company has had several owners over the years (including Procter & Gamble), but has always kept its place on store shelves. The current selection of products is larger than in years past, yet they remain overwhelmingly disappointing because most of them contain irritating ingredients that don't help blemish- or blackhead-prone skin. Alcohol, menthol and its derivatives, and witch hazel show up repeatedly in these and other anti-acne products at the drugstore, creating a precarious situation that leaves shoppers who are dealing with acne faced with few genuinely effective choices. Luckily Clearasil comes through a few times with some very good benzoyl peroxide products for effective disinfecting.

For more information about Clearasil, call (866) 252-5327 or visit www.clearasil.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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Not a good BHA option

I made the mistake of buying this and then checking the ingredients. I tried it out of curiosity - it reeks of alcohol and the pads texture is far from gentle. I swiped it only once on my skin, and although it did calm down some acne I had, even with that one time swipe it dried out my skin so much it took me a few days to recover. Please don't make the same mistake, your skin deserves so much better.

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