Spectro

Spectro At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; several fragrance-free products; good anti-acne products with benzoyl peroxide; a moisturizer for eczema that contains a potent topical corticosteroid.

Weaknesses: Lackluster moisturizers, including those aimed at combating eczema; no sunscreens; no exfoliants; no options for oily skin; incomplete options for acne-prone skin; repetitive, boring formulas.

Spectro is a small skin-care line stocked in drugstores throughout Canada. We receive routine requests from my Canadian readers to review it, perhaps because it stands out as being one of the few skin-care lines that is almost entirely fragrance-free. Dermatologists in Canada often give Spectro their stamp of approval, which is always encouraging to consumers, although it is disheartening to think that dermatologists might actually believe any of these products are worth considering.

While fragrance-free is always a plus (there are far too many overly fragranced skin-care products at every cosmetics retail outlet), what's truly disappointing is that Spectro products are also free of lots of things that are good for your skin. For example, there are no sunscreens or exfoliants and no moisturizers that contain a broad range of state-of-the-art ingredients, and there are limited options for those struggling with acne. For the most part, these are lackluster, antiquated formulas and, occasionally, really bad formulas. Spectro doesn't seem to have kept abreast of the abundant research about skin for at least a decade.

Spectro is best known for their cleansers, though none of them are standouts or particularly well-formulated given today's standards of excellence. Yes, it's great that all of Spectro's cleansers are mild and water-soluble; what's not so great is that none of them clean skin thoroughly or remove makeup very well, especially the modern makeup enhanced with silicones or other long-wearing ingredients. The amount of cleansing agent each of them contains is minimal, so those concerned with excess facial oil will find their skin requires much more and never really feels clean. If companies like Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, Paula's Choice, and Olay can formulate such cleansers, Spectro can (or at least should), too.

The chief reasons to consider this line are because it's inexpensive and, if you suffer from eczema, Spectro offers a moisturizer whose active ingredient is a reliable corticosteroid, the mainstay treatment for most forms of eczema (though it’s not without its drawbacks). Otherwise, even if you're looking to save money, there isn’t a compelling reason to shop this line. There are plenty of beautifully formulated products available that make settling for just average formulations unnecessary. Besides, whether you're enduring eczema, acne, or other skin conditions, your skin deserves outstanding, not ordinary!

For more information about Spectro, call 1-800-563-7546 or visit www.spectroskincare.com.

Note: All prices are in Canadian dollars.

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