Clearasil's Ultra Rapid Action Pads are highly unlikely to reduce your breakouts but very likely to make redness, dryness, and flaking skin worse. Sadly, these pads are another example of a poor formula for acne-prone skin. The amount of alcohol is cause for concern and potentially enough to cause irritation that will make oily skin worse (see More Info for details).
On the upside, the formula is medicated with anti-acne superstar ingredient salicylic acid. The 2% concentration of this ingredient plus the pad's pH means they're capable of exfoliating, but there are gentler ways to do this. You don't need to expose your skin to alcohol or the fragrant plants these pads contain.
These pads contain a couple of novel plant extracts that research has indicated have anti-inflammatory properties, but they also have fragrant components that can cause irritation (Sources: Journal of Ethnopharmacology, November 2013, ePublication; and Planta Medica, October 2001, pages 614–618).
Applying irritating ingredients to oily skin stimulates excess oil production at the base of the pores, so skin ends up being more oily and pores become (or stay) enlarged. If you want to see improvements in oily skin, the best approach is to treat your skin gently with effective products designed to absorb excess oil, exfoliate inside the pore, and help normalize pore function (Sources: Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366; and Dermatology, January 2003, pages 17–23).
Clearasil Ultra® Action Pads are dermatologist tested and visibly reduces pimple size and redness in as little as 4 hours. The acne pads are scientifically formulated with maximum strength acne medication in an exfoliating action pad that works quickly to open blocked pores.
Active Ingredient: Salicylic Acid (2.0%). Inactive Ingredients: Water, Alcohol Denat. Glycerin, Isoceteth-20, Sorbitol, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance, Lavandula Stoechas Extract, Helichrysum Italicum Extract, Cistus Monspeliensis Extract, Disodium EDTA, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben.
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.
The Beautypedia 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 Begoun herself.
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