I Tried Dermalogica’s Acne Line For A Month – Here’s How It Went

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Whether you’re 18 or 28, dealing with acne sucks, plain and simple and unfortunately, I happen to fall into the category of being a 20-something woman who struggles with adult acne—a condition that affects an estimated 20-30% of adults between the ages 20 and 40 and is most common in women. Oh great, that’s me. Compared to those who experience really bad breakouts, my acne isn’t so bad. But about once a month, I get painful hormonal cysts across my chin and jawline, with the odd pimple on my cheeks.

So, things could definitely be worse, but they could also be better.  

As a beauty writer, I constantly get to try out new skincare products, which is great in theory, but it does cause some minor issues as my skincare routine isn’t always consistent, as I’m always introducing new products to my regimen. And what I’ve learned over the years is the only way to truly keep skin blemish-free is to constantly treat it as if it has active breakouts—even when your skin is clear—because it will encourage you to have a consistent skincare routine

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I always find that once I stop sticking to a consistent routine, I end up getting frustrated with my skin and so I bounce to a new routine, so I’m always left feeling like nothing is making a significant difference. 

When 2020 began, I started a new job; became a member at an amazing new gym and was determined to get my skin under control once and for all, it was ‘my year’ after all. But alas, all of the changes in my life made my skin uncooperative, which was frustrating, to say the least. 

But rather than giving up on my clear skin goals, I told myself I needed to focus on a skincare routine and stick with it so I could finally see some improvements.

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Over the years, I had heard about Dermalogica’s active clearing line, which is formulated to prevent breakouts and visible signs of premature skin ageing, but I had yet to try any of the products personally.

However, after hearing a friend rave about Dermalogica, and knowing that I was finally ready to commit to a routine, I ordered the line right away.  

I received the Clearing Skin Wash ($55), Age Bright Serum ($89), Overnight Clearing Gel ($72), Age Bright Spot Fader ($62), Sebum Clearing Masque ($68), and the Oil-Free Matte moisturizer ($75) and I was going to test them for a full month to see how my skin reacted and to see if I noticed any improvements. 

So, I put Dermalogica’s Active clearing line to the test. Here’s what happened:

Typically my skincare routine includes a cleanser, toner, serums, a moisturizer, an eye cream, and a masque, for good measure. However, as I mentioned before, the products in this lineup would vary from time-to-time, depending on what products I was trying out. 

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From L-R: The author before starting the acne clearing line on March 1, 15, and 31

During my trial, I was only going to focus on using the 6 Dermalogica products, with the exception of eye cream. So, for the month of March, my regimen would begin with the foaming cleanser, which is formulated with salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid, which acts as a natural exfoliator to clear clogged follicles and smooth away dullness, which is particularly helpful for ageing skin.

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At first, I was nervous this cleanser might be harsh on my skin, especially since I was going to be using it in the morning and evening, but the blend of soothing botanicals helped calm any irritations and my skin adjusted to it quite nicely. 

Next up, the two-in-one clearing serum, which works by exfoliating the skin to prevent breakouts and accelerate cell turnover to reduce the signs of ageing.

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The serum is formulated with an AGE Bright Complex, which works with the skin’s natural microbiome for clearer, brighter skin, while phytoactive from the Resurrection Plant, which is known for its ability to survive extreme dehydration, hydrates and smoothes the skin.

Finally, a blend of niacinamide and white shiitake mushroom promotes a brighter, more even skin tone.

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Now it’s onto the overnight clearing gel that’s made with a cocktail of salicylic acid, tea tree oil, niacinamide, biotin, zinc gluconate, caffeine, and natural extracts of meadowsweet, yeast, and licorice.

This nighttime treatment removes dead skin from follicles to relieve congestion and breakouts, while helping regulate oil production and calming any irritation caused by breakouts. 

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Okay, let’s talk about the spot fader. Salicylic acid works to clear breakouts, while niacinamide and hexylresorcinol work together to fade any post-breakout marks while improving uneven skin tone.

This treatment is also made with Dermalogica’s AGE Bright Complex, which further reduces signs of ageing and helps prevent over-drying.

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I used the sebum clearing masque about two to three times a week as I’m a sucker for a good masque, so naturally I was really excited about this one.

The two key ingredients are oil-absorbing clay, which helps detoxify the skin, and salicylic acid, which helps clear pore congestion. The masque is also formulated with calming botanicals like oat and bisabolol, which help soothe aggravation brought on by breakouts. While safflower oil helps counter fine dehydration lines. Finally, licorice and niacinamide help even skin tone.

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The final product is an oil-free, lightweight moisturizer that promises to be a sheer, weightless shield that provides protection against skin-ageing and UV light, and this item definitely didn’t disappoint.

The formula contains a blend of zinc gluconate, caffeine, niacinamide, biotin, and yeast extract, while oil absorbers help maintain an all-day matte finish and prevent shine without any powdery residue.

This lotion is definitely my favourite item in the line because it worked wonders at mattifying my skin, which typically gets quite oily by the middle of the day, and replaced my need for a pre-makeup primer.

Although given that half of the month was spent at home because of COVID-19 social distancing measures, I stopped wearing makeup so I wasn’t always using a primer. 

So, 31 days later I’ve definitely seen some noticeable changes and improvements with my skin, which you can see in the photos above.

When I started the trial at the beginning of the month, my complexion appeared dull, congested, with the odd blemish and some scarring.

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From L-R: The author before starting the acne clearing line on March 1, 15, and 31

I noticed some visible improvements in my skin after one week, but as you can see near the middle of the month (second photo) and when the start of the COVID-19 self-isolation began — which caused me to stress and my diet to change — my skin started to break out again.

However, I didn’t let this discourage me and I stuck with the regimen and noticed even more noticeable improvements at the end of four weeks.

As you can see, the congestion cleared up, my complexion appeared brighter, smoother, and more hydrated, while the size and visibility of my pores on my cheeks, forehead, and nose decreased. 

Above all, I found the products easy and enjoyable to use and I liked that it didn’t take me tons of time to complete my regimen in the morning and evening. Compared to other acne lines, I found these products to be gentle and they didn’t dry out my skin or cause any irritations the way other similar products have in the past.

Now that April is here, I feel comfortable and happy with this skincare routine, so I’m going to continue using it and hopefully, I’ll see even more improvements with my skin. 

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