Housed in a dual-sided component that resembles makeup more than skin care, this anti-acne product consists of a product meant for use in the morning and one for application at night. For daytime, we have the AM Blemish Clearing Gel, a lightweight formula that contains some great anti-inflammatory ingredients and fatty acids that may help skin reduce breakouts, though the research on this isn't definitive.
For nighttime, you’re supposed to dab on the PM Acne Treatment Clay, which is medicated with anti-acne superstar salicylic acid. Unfortunately, the amount of clay this contains can make this treatment drying and it keeps the salicylic acid from functioning as an exfoliant (salicylic acid needs an acidic pH to work against acne while clays push a product’s pH toward the alkaline range). Although the salicylic acid won’t work as intended, this contains most of the same soothing ingredients found in the AM Blemish Clearing Gel. The clays will help absorb excess oil and "dry out" a blemish, but keep in mind that drying out a blemish isn't the best approach because it can impede healing—and prolonged (such as overnight) contact with clay can exacerbate this dryness.
This leaves us with a dual-sided product in which one end is worth using and the other isn't, at least not every night. There are better ways to "punish" pimples without causing unwanted side effects, which is where this product falls down, but it's effective enough to warrant consideration, assuming the price doesn't bother you.
Is your complexion misbehaving? Teach it a lesson - with a spot treatment that works around the clock to target existing acne and help prevent future flare ups. 24-Hour Pimple Punisher is a convenient, dual-sided wand with two easy-to-apply formulas. The fast-absorbing AM Blemish Clearing Gel battles acne, while simultaneously hydrating - making it perfect to wear under makeup. At the end of the day, the powerful PM Acne Treatment Clay targets pores in an effort to clear your skin while you sleep.
AM - Blemish Clearing Gel: Water, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Myristoyl Hexapeptide-23, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Extract, Hydroxyphenyl, Propamidobenzoic Acid, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Dimethicone, PEG-6 Almond Glycerides, Caprylyl Glycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer , Carbomer, Oleanolic Acid, Aminomethyl Propanol, Disodium EDTA, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol PM - Acne Treatment Clay: Active: Salicylic Acid (2%) Other: Water, Kaolin, DI C12-13 Alkyl Malate, Glycerin, Bentonite, Tridecyl Salicylate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Titanium Dioxide, Montmorillonite , Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Extract, Bakuchiol, Allantoin, Bisabolol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dimethicone, Oleanolic Acid, PEG-6 Almond Glycerides, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Steareth-10, Steareth-20, Butylene Glycol, Aminomethyl Propanol, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Decylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA
The woman behind this line is a Los Angeles–based aesthetician who owns her own clinic, which specializes not only in aesthetic services but also in cosmetic corrective procedures involving injections (dermal fillers), lasers, Botox, and the like. The clinic is staffed with a doctor and nurses, which is definitely what you want if you're considering services beyond a facial or a massage.
The selling points of this line are Somerville's years of experience in the aesthetics industry and her allegedly devoted celebrity clientele. As such, her products and famous clientele get press in the pages of fashion magazines, which explains why we routinely get asked about this skin-care line. Somerville herself is every bit as attractive as her star clients, and the information on her Web site is presented in such a way that you sincerely believe she has your skin's best interests in mind. And wouldn't you want to trust your skin's needs to a professional who also tends to celebrities?
Knowing all these details, we were anticipating that most of the products bearing Somerville's name would be state-of-the-art slam dunks. Alas, many of them are far afield from that level of formulation. When it comes to giving skin what it needs to function as healthily and normally as possible (and, at these prices, that's what you should expect), this line is, unfortunately, hit or miss. What Somerville knows about giving an amazing facial is one thing, but she clearly missed the research that proves how problematic several of the plant oils that she uses can be. A professional concerned with the health of her clients' skin shouldn't be formulating products with cinnamon, grapefruit, and lavender oils, among others.
If we were one of Somerville's clients, we'd certainly take her to task for that oversight, but we'd also want to know why she offers only one sunscreen and doesn't offer any effective AHA or BHA exfoliants. A discussion of advanced skin science and state-of-the-art ingredients is not sufficient if your product line has gaps: limited sun protection options, no reliable exfoliants, no non-drying cleansers, and a complete lack of options to treat skin discolorations (pigment irregularities, unlike blackheads, cannot be manually extracted, which makes the absence of a skin lightening product an issue).
This product line may not be the one you want to build your skin-care routine around, but there are some exceptional products. Of all the aesthetician-backed lines we've reviewed, none come as close to providing the level of formulary excellence of many of Somerville's moisturizers and serums. They're pricey, but if you're going to spend in excess for skin-care products, you should be doing so on products that stand a very good chance of markedly improving your skin’s appearance. We are curious to see how this product line will expand and (hopefully) improve over the years. The current mishmash of awesome and awful products makes it risky to shop this line blindly (or on the sole rationale of a celebrity endorsement), but with careful consideration to avoid irritants you can find some products of value. Hopefully, she will expand the line to fill in the current gaps (especially for sun protection) and eliminate the irritants.
For more information about Kate Somerville, call (800) 984-5283 or visit www.katesomerville.com.