Recently I had a pretty large acne flare (in response to a product tested), which truthfully was not only surprising but incredibly embarrassing. I hadn't experienced anything like this since high school!
The next day I posted about Neutrogena's New Skin ID, a new personalized acne regimen that actually has gone to the extent of performing a randomized, double blind clinical trial (those are the types of studies that makes MDs every where perk up and listen, those are our favorite types of trials) and found that not only do these products work, but they are superior to Proactiv.
The next day, my highly anticipated package from Skin ID arrived, just in time to fix my skin! I was very excited to review Skin ID, I had big expectations for the acne to disappear!
So, did it work?
Yes, it did. It was a "hormonally challenged" week actually, the week that I typically will flare up with one or two blemishes anyways. I was also on overnight call at the hospital twice, which means that I am very likely to not even brush my teeth both morning and night (I'm up running around taking care of patients), let alone go and lie down for an hour of sleep. Which means I probably didn't wash my face (gross, I know, but I'm not leaving the bedside of a sick person to apply my acne stuff).
And on top of all that, I hadn't designed my Skin ID to work with all of these issues. I filled out the questions with my "normal" skin behavior, well before the acne flare of the decade. This was a regimen (pictured above, those are my actual product selections) that was designed for someone with slightly acne prone combination skin, with at most 1 or 2 small comedone blemishes at a time. Instead, I was someone who was an inconsistent user at a difficult time in her cycle who was starting with 4 or 5 cystic blemishes.
Talk about stacking the deck against Skin ID!
So, I used the regimen at home. I had a Cream Cleanser (14) that I used AM and PM, Treatment pads (38) and Anti-Acne Treatment Cream (32) that I used only at night (by the end of my use I was using the pads every other night). There was also an included Spot Treatment that I used both AM and PM as well on actual blemishes.
Active Ingredient: Salicylic Acid 2%
This is a very creamy cleanser that actually feels cool and slightly tingly on my skin (loved this!). It's not a "gentle" cleanser that you could use near your eyes (I got near mine once and regretted it), so be careful! It rinses off easily and I had no issues with redness or after wash tightness.
Active Ingredient: Salicylic Acid 2%
These are pretty basic pads that reminded me of the Super Duper Strength Stridex pads from when I was a teen (those dried me out like crazy and turned me into a dry scaly mess, so I was a bit afraid of these pads). They are more then big enough to rub over your entire face, neck and even part of your chest if you want, which I loved. One side is a bit more textured than the other, which I really liked for areas like around my nose. I did have a small amount of dryness between my eyebrows with SkinID at first, but I switched to using these pads every other night and the problem went away, so I'm attributing the dryness to these pads. Just titrate use frequency according to your needs and your skin's tolerance levels like I did and you'll be fine!
Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5%
The last treatment I used was the Anti-Acne Treatment. This is a creamy lotion that sinks right into my skin, though it does feel slightly tight and I had some problems applying makeup over it (hence, I used it at night). It is not hydrating, so I usually let it sink in and then went and applied my "normal" in between nightly anti-aging moisturizer of choice.
Be warned that Benzoyl Peroxide is known to bleach fabrics, so make sure that it has totally sunk in before crawling in to bed to help minimize bleaching (even this might not prevent all bleaching). This was not a problem for me, but I truly think that the bleaching depends quite a bit not only on the composition of the lotion but also on the fabric itself. For example, I had an Eddie Bauer comforter in med school that was pretty much ruined after a few months of using Proactiv. But after I got a new Calvin Klein duvet cover (the same one as I have now) the Proactiv didn't bleach it at all. So, I had no bleaching issues, but that doesn't mean that you won't have this problem.
I really loved the SkinID system. It worked great for me, going above and beyond what I had expected it to do. Literally within a week of using this system (and remember, my skin was much worse than usual to start with, I was inconsistent with use and it was a "hormonally challenged" week!), my skin was clear and back to normal. All cystic lesions are gone, I have fewer blackheads and clogged pores, and with titrating the use of each product I also have no dryness or irritation.
I'll be moving on to other skin care products (I have a huge pile of things to test out and review on 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic!), but I will be keeping this system in my bathroom. Usually products that I've tested either get tossed if they are almost gone or given away to friends and family. These products will be my back up "go to" products for future testing disasters!