Monday, June 1, 2009

Neutrogena Clear Pore Oil-Eliminating Astringent

I've always been a big fan of astringents and toners, no matter how much grief they've been getting of late. Yeah, they can be drying, and yeah, they can be hit-or-miss when it comes to effectiveness. But seriously, if you've ever spent much time in the trenches of a huge Third World metropolitan city you know how extremely satisfying it is to wipe that toner-soaked cotton pad across your face and find evidence of that layer of dirt right on the pad.

Try as I might, though, I couldn't help but gaze longingly at the large collection of toners available on the market. Seems like every company of significant size offers a variation of it. So I succumbed.

Neutrogena has always been a long-time favorite of mine, not the least because they seem to understand best the skincare needs of women like myself, i.e., acne-prone, oily, occasionally sensitive. They have their share of overly harsh products, but seriously, when I lived and worked in Japan after college, I made sure to stock up on Neutrogena's acne products whenever I went home for vacation. That stuff saved my skin more than once.

My skin still breaks out and still insists on clinging to some stubborn blackheads, so I checked out their Clear Pore Oil-Eliminating Astringent. Love the aquamarine color, despite my usual aversion to artificial colors; I think I like how it reminds me of the ocean. Cooling and refreshing, no? Perfect for hot summers. The price, of course, is so right, and it's available just about anywhere, including Target and your local drugstore.

More importantly, though: does it work?

Well, the copy says that it's "specifically formulated to instantly remove surface oil to control shine and to treat and help prevent breakouts," including blackheads and acne. It's active ingredient is 2% salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) known for helping problem skin out by providing gentle exfoliation and oil-sucking capabilities.

This baby did the job of clearing my skin of oil, but probably because of my slight sensitivity, it left my skin looking slightly flushed and red for a few hours afterwards. I felt the slightest tingling, which may or may not bother you, but for some sensitive skins that may be a sign that this isn't the right product. After three weeks of use, though, I saw very little improvement in the blackheads on my nose, nor did my pores look any noticeably smaller. In Neutrogena's defense, though, nothing you can buy over the counter can shrink your pores permanently. And it did do a good job of keeping pimples at bay.

This would be a good, reliable option for those with very oily complexions who are looking for a well-priced BHA exfoliating product. If your skin is at all sensitive, though, you might want to try a patch test first and check out your reaction. I used this once a day, during the evening after washing my face, but those who live in more humid climes (I live out in the high deserts of Western Colorado, where humidity percentages are generally no higher than the teens) can use it up to twice a day, morning and night. More sensitive skin might tolerate this on a less frequent basis, say, every other day.

Price: $5.00-6.00 for an 8-oz bottle. Available at drugstores and Target.
(I am very thank full Lille who write This post for me)

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