Clearasil

Clearasil At-a-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; effective topical disinfectants with 10% benzoyl peroxide; a good BHA option for those who prefer pads; a decent selection of water-soluble cleansers and topical scrubs.

Weaknesses: As is true for most anti-acne lines, irritating ingredients with no benefit for skin take precedence; only one sunscreen and it's part of a lackluster three-step kit; 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, a very good BHA option, and a few other gems.

By the way, although Clearasil has products directed toward adult (instead of teenage) acne, the basic cause and treatment of acne is the same regardless of age. The protocol for handling breakouts does not require a separate category of products; the treatment basics remain the same.

For more information about Clearasil, call (866) 252-5327 or visit www.clearasil.com.

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