Oil-Free Acne Stress Control 3-In-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment

by Neutrogena  Oil-Free Acne
Price:
$6.99 - 2 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Sensitive Skin Products > Blemish/Acne Treatments > BHA
Last Updated:
3/28/2014
Jar Packaging:
No
pH:
3.40
Tested On Animals:
Yes

Oil-Free Acne Stress Control 3-In-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment contains 2% salicylic acid at a pH of 3.4, and comes in a nearly weightless silicone base that includes antioxidants and anti-irritants. Although the inclusion of fragrance and coloring agents is a slight disappointment, it’s a relief that Neutrogena omitted menthol or its derivatives, making this an all-around ideal BHA lotion for skin of any type battling blackheads or other acne-like blemishes.

Tip:
For a similarly-effective acne-fighting BHA product without the fragrance or coloring agents, we recommend Paula’s Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Lotion , CLEAR Regular Strength Targeted Acne Relief Exfoliating Toner or CLEAR Extra Strength Targeted Acne Relief Toner (for severe acne).

With powerful MicroClear technology works around the clock in 3 different ways: treats acne even before it emerges, hydrates and softens skin, and reduces redness and irritation. This silky non pore-clogging formula is so light it absorbs quickly, leaving no greasy residue on your face. It works continuously to clear, hydrate and soften your skin. Breakthrough MicroClear technology is clinically proven to boost the delivery of acne medicine, unclogging congested pores and speeding treatment deep and fast to the source where breakouts begin. What's more, naturally derived skin-soothers, green tea and cucumber, help reduce redness and irritation, leaving skin looking and feeling soft and stress free.

Active: Salicylic Acid 2% Other: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG-8, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sodium Polyacrylate, Vinyl Dimethicone Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Cocamidopropyl PG Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Cucumber (Cucumis Sativus) Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, C12-15 Alkyl Lactate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Lactate, PEG-75 Stearate, Ceteth-20, Steareth-20, Trideceth 6, PEG/PPG 18/18 Dimethicone, Sclerotium Gum, Laureth 23, Laureth 4, Disodium EDTA, Benzalkonium Chloride Solution, Potassium Hydroxide, Green 5, Yellow 5, Blue 1, 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 Makeup

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.

Member Comments

Summary of Member Comments

  1. How would you rate the results? (4 = Best)

    3 / 4 Good
  2. Was this product a good value? (4 = Best)

    4 / 4 Best
  3. Would you recommend this product? (4 = Best)

    3 / 4 Good
Page of 1
  1. Kathleen D
    Reviewed on Saturday, February 01, 2014
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    Order direct from Neutrogena.com
    • I have extremely sensitive acne-prone skin (and am allergic to propylene glycol - ingredient in some of PC's BHA products), and this has been a godsend. With such sensitivity at 42 I won't mess around with trying new products any more, so am happy I can still order direct from Neutrogena (be sure to search for coupons). I use it every night after washing with Cerave cleanser. Nothing else in the summer, Cerave lotion on top in winter. I finally have soft, acne-free skin!

  2. Lorel N.
    Reviewed on Friday, January 03, 2014
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    Love this!
    • Love this product! Hope it comes back!!!

  3. Jill A
    Reviewed on Monday, November 25, 2013
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    Favorite BHA
    • I've been using this for about 3 years, and for me this is the best BHA I've tried. I've used Paula's Choice gel, and the Clean and Clear product also on Paul's Best list, but this is the only 1 that I can use twice a day with no irritation. When I use this product I have no issues with monthly cystic acne, and I like the added moisture. Would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a gentle BHA product. I just wish it was easier to find in the store. It has become very hard to find.

  4. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Friday, October 04, 2013
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    under eye
    • I love this product as I am fighting both acne and lines from aging. Was wondering if this can be used under the eyes to reduce lines and puffiness?

  5. Kim Y
    Reviewed on Saturday, September 14, 2013
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    I love my skin now because of this product.
    • Been using this product for 3 years since I became a Paula follower. I used to purchase it at Walmart & Target, but they no longer carry it. I now purchase directly from Neutrogena. If you spend at least $25, the s/h is free. Well worth it to stock up. I use it twice a day after I cleanse. I actually get compliments on my complexion. Thank you beautypedia.com for all your helpful suggestions.

  6. Suzanna T.
    Reviewed on Monday, September 02, 2013
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    Good
    • My skin looks so much better - no more adult acne. My skin is smoother and clearer. Only use once a day at night, makes my skin feel tight before moisturizing. I'll always read Paula's reviews before buying/using beauty products.

  7. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Wednesday, July 31, 2013
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Results
      3 / 4
    • Recommend
      3 / 4
    Lotion or wash-away treatment ?
    • This is more a question for Paula's team than a review... The directions for use from Neutrogena state this should be washed away - rinsed thoroughly, while Paula has this product listed as a lotion.... Theoretically the salycilic acid won't work if it's washed off, so I assume there is another way to use this product (?) If yes, do you apply is as a day lotion with SPF on top or how?

    Paula's Choice Research Team Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, July 31, 2013

    Hi, and thanks for your comments! We're not certain why the directions say to rinse this off, as Neutrogena's website itself states this is a treatment that is designed to absorb into skin. How confusing! Regardless, you can certainly apply this to your skin, then follow up with an SPF product over top. We hope this helps!

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  8. Bethany
    Reviewed on Sunday, May 26, 2013
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    Perfect!
    • This product is the only that I've found to keep my pores from getting blocked! I used to always have clogged pores by the end of the day but this product has kept my skin in check! Love it!

  9. Karin
    Reviewed on Monday, April 08, 2013
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    It's back!
    • The stores seem to have this back in stock - and I recently purchased a bottle. I should start hoarding in case it goes away again. I love it that much!

  10. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Monday, March 11, 2013
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    not discontinued in the UK
    • You can get it in the UK - it's called visibly clear spot stress control ultra-light spot treatment moisturiser. Seems to have all teh same ingredients but I'm no chemist! x

    Paula's Choice Research Team Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, March 13, 2013

    You are indeed correct! The discontinued information is for Neutrogena products sold in the U.S. At last check, it was still being sold under Neutrogena's international brands, such as Neutrogena Canada.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  11. Debbie M
    Reviewed on Wednesday, March 06, 2013
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    Love love love it!
    • This has been a miracle product for me and my daughter both. We have blackheads and this wonderful product has kept them under control. It feels nice on the skin disolving into nothingness without any reside, consequently it plays nice with moisturizer applied on top of it. Does anyone know the status of this product? I ordered from Amazon after finding it discontinued at Ulta dot com but my Amazon order says expected delivery date in 2 months and I'm worried.

  12. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Tuesday, February 12, 2013
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    Discontinued?
    • I loved this product, it was the only thing that helped with balckheads, but it seems Neutrogena has discontinued it?. I can only find it on eBay for a ridiculous price. Bummer!

    Paula's Choice Research Team Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    Thank you for your comments! It doesn't seem that this is discontinued yet, though it definitely has limited availability. We'll continue to check with Neutrogena to see the status of this product and update it when and if it changes!

    —Paula's Choice Research Team

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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