Advanced Solutions Acne Mark Fading Peel is designed to fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne—those telltale marks left on skin long after a blemish has healed. On lighter skin tones, the marks are traditionally pink or red, while darker skin tones typically have brown to almost black marks. These marks are the remnants of your skin’s healing response to blemishes, and usually fade within 12 to 18 months—an eternity when they are staring you in the face each morning. Will this Neutrogena product be the “Advanced Solution” you’ve been looking for? Probably not, but the 2% salicylic acid in a base with a pH of 3.8 means you can get beneficial exfoliation, and that can help the discolorations. However, the product’s directions indicate that you can use it as many as three times per week and you should leave it on for periods of 5 to 10 minutes, which means you rinse it off before it really has a chance to work. The inclusion of irritating menthol makes it inherently problematic for healing. To gain maximum benefit from salicylic acid, it is best to leave it on the skin. The anti-inflammatory effect of the salicylic acid in this product is negated when paired with menthol, which has absolutely no fading or peeling abilities. Exfoliation with glycolic or salicylic acids can indeed speed the fading of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, as can receiving doctor-supervised facial peels or laser treatments, but using this product in the hopes that its “Celluzyme” technology will diminish these discolorations is nothing more than wishful thinking.
Inspired by dermatologist facial peels, this breakthrough formula is the first at-home peel of its kind containing a unique combination Neutrogena-exclusive CelluZyme technology and Salicylic Acid. It treats acne and reduces the appearance of post-acne marks while working to help prevent new breakouts from forming and discouraging future marks. Use 1-3 times per week regularly for clearer, fresher, more even-toned skin.
Active: Salicylic Acid (2%), Other: Water, Mucor Miehei Extract, Glycerin, PEG-8, Methyl Gluceth-20, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Polyethylene, PPG-5 Ceteth-20, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Methicone, Butylene Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Pantothenic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Allantoin, Menthol, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide, Calcium Chloride, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Sodium Benzoate, Cellulose Gum, Blue 1 Lake, Fragrance
Johnson & Johnson–owned Neutrogena has been around for over 50 years, and they've come a long way since they launched their first transparent, bronze, detergent-based bar soap (it also contains tallow). The bars are still sold, and while we still don't recommend them (they are too drying for all skin types), the good news is that Neutrogena has come a very long way from where they started. In fact, several of their products represent truly state-of-the-art options.
Strolling the skin-care aisles of any drugstore or mass-market store reveals that Neutrogena vies for shelf space and prominence with only one other brand, Procter & Gamble's Olay. For the most part, both companies offer a similar assortment of products, with Olay being slightly more focused on anti-aging products and Neutrogena going for broader appeal, offering a nearly equal amount of antiwrinkle and anti-acne products. Regrettably the latter category presents few viable options.
Where Neutrogena really excels (and has for years) is with water-soluble cleansers, AHAs, retinol, and sunscreen products. Their Healthy Skin lineup offers some beautifully formulated moisturizers with glycolic acid, and the sunscreens offer something for everyone, including some ingenious options for those with oily skin (or anyone who finds the texture of high-SPF products as unappealing as slathering your skin with Crisco).
A recent self-proclaimed advance in sun protection came with Neutrogena's Helioplex complex. It is not the superior breakthrough Neutrogena makes it out to be. It's a good system to keep avobenzone stable for longer, but Helioplex isn't the only way to get the most out of this important UVA sunscreen. If it were, why didn't Neutrogena scrap all of their other sunscreens that don't use Helioplex technology? And why do they still offer a handful of SPF-rated products that leave skin vulnerable to UVA damage? Although they offer a proportionately greater number of sunscreens that provide excellent UVA protection, it's hard to unequivocally deem them a sun-care leader when they still sell inadequate sunscreens.
It's common to see commercials and magazine ads for Neutrogena's plethora of products designed to combat breakouts and blackheads. It's nothing short of amazing that, after all these years, the majority of these products, while well intentioned, still don't get it right. Far too many of them contain irritating ingredients such as alcohol, witch hazel, and menthol, none of which are the least bit helpful for someone struggling with breakouts. If your dermatologist recommends these products for acne without reservation, definitely consider a second opinion! Even Neutrogena's on-the-spot benzoyl peroxide product contains some potentially problematic thickening agents. Despite this, if you choose carefully, there are some great products (including a BHA lotion) that can make a positive difference.
What's most frustrating and, frankly, surprising, is that Neutrogena's enormous assortment of products represents both the best and the worst the cosmetics industry has to offer. Given their worldwide distribution and research capabilities, they really should be offering a consistent range of effective, irritant-free products to address a variety of skin types and conditions. As things stand now, healthy, protected skin is only assured if you know which Neutrogena products to look for and which ones to never put in your shopping cart.
For more information about Neutrogena, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (800) 582-4048 or visit www.neutrogena.com.
Neutrogena's "beautiful and beneficial" pronouncement is a great tag line, but most of their makeup doesn't live up to that assertion. This line was lacking in several key areas when it first hit store shelves in 1999, and although some things have improved, the number of problematic products is a bit startling. (I'm not aware of any cosmetic line that uses menthol or its derivatives as often as Neutrogena.) Each product carries on about the vitamins it contains, yet compared to the leading roles played by cosmetic staples like silicones and thickening agents, the vitamins have mere cameo roles, and as such have little to no impact.
There are a few key items to seek out, especially if you're looking for makeup with excellent sun protection. We also found their lip gloss to be one of the best at any price, and a few of their foundations successfully bridge the gap between skin care and makeup.
The most frustrating aspect of this line is that almost all of it is packaged so you cannot see the color. Even worse, the color swatch on the box is a poor representation, not only of how the color looks in the compact, but also how it looks on your skin. What would truly be beneficial is for Neutrogena to offer more revealing packaging or provide testers or offer trial sizes. Their overall collection and in-store displays aren't nearly as tempting as most other drugstore makeup lines, so in most cases they're relying on their constant magazine and television ads to drive shoppers to explore the world of Neutrogena makeup, or they're relying solely on those who don't mind guessing what color they are really buying. It's obviously working, because despite the problematic elements, this is a line that has survived and is very well distributed.