Clearing Acne with NEOGEN’s Dermalogy A-Clear Soothing Set

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The YesStyle Beauty Lab

Salicylic acid, calamine, tea tree oil, benzoyl peroxide, retinol, zinc oxide, witch hazel… Trust me, I’ve tried them all on my adult acne. Some of them might work for a while, but I’m still on my never-ending quest to find the ultimate cure.

This time, I tried NEOGEN’s Dermalogy A-Clear Soothing Series which includes the Foam Cleanser, Spot Kit, Pink Eraser, Overnight Mask, Clear Spot Patch, and Essence Pad. The set stars salicylic acid, a BHA for exfoliation, alongside calamine from sulfur and guaiazulene from chamomile for soothing skin. Here are my findings!

Foam Cleanser

Key ingredients: salicylic acid, tea tree oil, white willow bark extract, green tea extract, centella extract, licorice extract, guaiazulene

This feels just like Shiseido’s Senka Perfect Whip Cleansing Foam in terms of texture and feel, but with a completely different formulation. The slightly glittery white paste foams up nicely and smells pleasantly of tea tree oil. I usually take a pea-sized amount and lather onto wet face using my fingertips. Then I rinse it off with a wet towel after letting it sit for ten seconds.

Its cleansing power is good enough for my rather dry skin, so instead of triple cleansing, I usually use it just once right after a cleansing oil. I’m glad that it doesn’t create a prickly sensation or strip my skin of moisture. The paste is great for traveling – when I don’t want to bring my usual pump foam cleanser, I can simply squeeze this paste into a tiny jar!

Spot Kit

Key ingredients: salicylic acid, tea tree oil, green tea extract, centella extract, licorice extract, guaiazulene

This two-step spot kit consists of a small glass bottle containing the Spot Cleaner and ten slender plastic syringes with stoppers and markings, each containing 0.8ml of the Spot Ampoule. The Spot Cleaner and Spot Ampoule have very similar ingredients: salicylic acid to exfoliate, tea tree oil to control sebum, and other botanical extracts to soothe skin. Both smell heavily of alcohol and have ALCOHOL DENAT near the top of their ingredient lists. Alcohol denat means denatured alcohol. Overuse may dry skin out and weaken its protective barrier, causing even more irritation and oil secretion.

I love the Spot Cleaner, which is a clear pale blue solution. I brought it along with me on my recent trip to Tokyo and it cleared my acne in just two days! Originally, I just used a cotton swab to soak the solution and dabbed it onto acne spots as instructed. But then I grew so fond of it that I began to pour it all over my face. After a week – when I had returned to Hong Kong – flare-ups began to arise. I still don’t know whether the flare-ups are due to excessive use of the solution, a change of climate, or just hormonal fluctuations. Anyway, I wouldn’t recommend overusing the Spot Cleaner. I also recommend applying it before everything else for maximum potency.

As for the ampoule, it’s basically a colorless gel that quickly dissipates into skin. Don’t worry, there’s no sticky feel. Each syringe is sealed in clear plastic. Though I understand that the individually sealed single-dose ampoule may be more hygienic, I don’t like the idea of overpackaging, and I don’t see how I can reuse so many syringes. One thing I do like about the packaging is that the Spot Kit’s paper carton can be cut into a stand to hold all the ampoules.

Pink Eraser

Key ingredients: calamine, salicylic acid, tea tree oil, green tea extract, centella extract, licorice extract, gaiazulene

The Pink Eraser comes in a container that’s the same size and style as that of the Spot Cleaner. Rather than simply exfoliating with salicylic acid, this one also contains calamine to soothe blemishes. Those who’ve read my review of MIZON’s Acence Blemish Out Pink Spot would know that products like these MUST NOT BE SHAKEN BEFORE USE. You’re meant to dip a cotton swab into the unmixed solution so it can absorb (and subsequently apply) the clear upper layer and the pink bottom layer in the correct order.

I used to like calamine because it’s powerful in soothing blemishes overnight, but when it’s placed by side by with the Spot Cleaner, I would likely reach for the latter. Calamine is too troublesome for lazy people like me as it may stain your pillow, and you have to wipe it off before you go out.

Overnight Mask

Key ingredients: salicylic acid, tea tree oil, white willow bark extract, green tea extract, centella extract, licorice extract, guaiazulene

I’m not an overnight mask person. I basically don’t enjoy having any moisturizers on my face overnight, but this mask is a little different. Just like the Spot Kit, it lists alcohol denat as one of its top ingredients. That’s likely why the pale blue gel absorbs so quickly into skin with no residue at all.

Even though it acts more like a gel cream than a mask, I still scarcely used it since I don’t like overnight masks in general.

Clear Spot Patch

Key ingredient: hydrocolloid

I’m a huge fan of spot patches and I rely heavily on them to remove pimples overnight. These spot patches come in two different sizes (12mm x 12 pcs and 10mm x 12pcs), and I have no complaints on their waterproof, absorbent and adhesive powers. The patch is quite thin so you won’t feel any discomfort. It’s also relatively inexpensive compared to spot patches from other brands.

Essence Pad

Key ingredients: salicylic acid, tea tree oil, calamine, centella extract, green tea extract, licorice extract, aloe extract, gingko extract

Bio-Peel Gentle Gauze Peeling Pads. The A-Clear Soothing Essence Pad is basically the same thing, except that it’s soaked in a different essence that’s infused with as many as 40 botanical extracts and seed oils. Instead of just exfoliating, this pad is geared more towards soothing. Since I’m already using the Foam Cleanser and Spot Cleaner a lot, I use the pads only once every two weeks, or whenever I feel like some extra exfoliation is needed. Don’t want to over-exfoliate!

The Verdict

I love the Foam Cleanser, Spot Cleaner and Essence Pad. I don’t think you need to use the full set to clear acne (just like Pyunkang Yul’s Acne Set, the full routine might be too powerful), so feel free to pick what fits into your regimen. Good luck in finding the ultimate products that suit you!

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