This is the first of my Weekend Edit posts which will be my series for this year in place of the successful WhatLauraDid posts from 2012. The series will feature a weekly round up of a selection of products, treatments or items. The first post being all about spot treatments.
Spots, breakouts, blemishes, acne, pimples; whatever you want to call them, however severe they are, we ALL get them at some point in our lives. They're not something to be ashamed of but they are something that we can often get embarrassed about and they need to be cleaned, treated and looked after so that they heal quickly and don't mark the skin for the future.
With so many spot fighting remedies on the market its hard to know which ones to use. Over the last five months I've been trying out four different spot treatments that are all designed to treat skin that is prone to occasional breakouts and mild acne. So whether you've got more pimples than you can shake a stick at or suffer from the odd small volcanic eruption, perhaps I've got something here to help you.
For reference, I have combination skin that airs on the more oily side but can get dry in places, like between my eyebrows. I have enlarged pores that are prone to black heads and my skin, whilst being clear for the most part, is prone to those awful under the skin spots, the occasional mad breakout (usually when I'm stressed, exhausted or when I've been drinking or on the very rare occasion that I've slept in my make up- naughty) and blackheads that turn into spots... the little blighters!
Stop That Spot! Clearing Gel
|Stop That Spot! by Good Things, £4.99 from Boots, Superdrug and Sainsbury's|
First up is the newest product in my spot fighting battalion, the Stop That Spot! Clearing Gel from the Good Things Anti Blemish Face Care range. This anti-bacterial gel contains active extracts of Willow Bark, Liquorice, Papaya and Acai which help to keep spots and break outs under control... and help to make it smell amazingly sweet and fruity. To use, simply dab it on the affected area of skin after cleansing and then leave the spot alone to heal. The texture is very light weight and the gel is easy to apply, sinking in quickly and leaving the skin ready for a good nights sleep or for make up if applying in the morning. I find that this works best on spots that have come to the surface and are starting to get a 'head' on them as it reduces the redness of them. It isn't very strong and wouldn't be suitable for those with acne but for the odd spot it is a good way to treat your breakout. It doesn't dry out the skin like a lot of spot treatments do and it doesn't sit on the skin or peel off.
Stop That Spot! clearing gel is perfect for young skin, those with sensitive skin or for those who only suffer from the occasional spots. It is gentle but effective on pimples and that's what I like most about it. Of course a good skincare routine is the best thing to keep problem, spot prone skin under control, with consistent cleansing and moisturising, but when spots rear their ugly head, this is a great product to turn to to treat the spot. Looking after the skin and treating blemishes gently yet effectively from a young age can really set the skin up for life.
The Stop That Spot Clearing Gel retails for £4.99 for a 15ml tube that lasts for ages, making it great value for money.
Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Pads
|Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Pads, around £2.99 from Home Bargains|
Next up is a product on the other end of the strength spectrum, the Rapid Action Pads from Clearasil Ultra which are VERY strong, but they're designed to be. I'll say from the outset that I wouldn't recommend these in a month of Sundays unless you have very resilient skin that can take a strong solution or have tried everything else and are at the end of your tether with your spots. The Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Pads are cotton pads soaked in a solution that claims to visibly reduce spot size and redness in just four hours. They have a high Alcohol Denat and Salicylic Acid content which not only account for their strength but also of the scent; paint stripper. After initially taking these out of the pot, I must admit I was a little wary of using them as they smelt so strongly however I persevered and waited until I had a particularly bad breakout, for my skin, so that I could report on their effectiveness.
The second thing I noticed after the scent was that the packaging wasn't particularly clear as I wasn't sure whether the pads were to be used all over the face or just on the affected area. The 'how does it work?' section of the pot reads, 'the pads remove dirt and oil from the skin surface and the acceladerm technology starts working instantly to deliver maximum strength formula deep into the pores to fight the bacteria that causes spots'. I assumed that these should only be used on the breakout area given how strong the formula is and how strong the product smelt. These do seem to sting when applied to the skin but this settles down after a few minutes. I applied the product last thing at night and when I woke up in the morning the redness of my spots had died down and they had started to dry up and in doing so, reduced in size too, not massively so but enough to be able to see a difference. I can't testify as to whether or not they work within the four hours as claimed but they do work to some extent, not effective enough for me to continue to use them on my skin as I think that they're too harsh.
I picked these up for a few pounds from Home Bargains, thinking they were my favourite Blackhead Clearing Cleansing Pads. They're not, I hate them and definitely wont be purchasing them again. Sorry Clearasil!
HoMedics Tanda Zap
|HoMedics Tanda Zap, £60 from Boots|
Throwing something a little more modern into the mix is the Tanda Zap from HoMedics. After years ogling light therapies at home, I've finally jumped on the bandwaggon with this at-home spot fighting light treatment. The Tanda Zap is an at home device that uses blue light therapy which is clinically proven to clear or fade existing mild acne problems within 24 hours and prevent future breakouts. This video introduction to the Tanda Zap probably provides a much better explanation of its uses than I can.
I've tried light therapy before in the form of an Omnilux light therapy facial at my local beauty salon. There were two types available, one for general brightening and a blue light that had antibacterial properties, designed to help clear breakouts. The light part of the treatment takes place at the end of a normal facial and is a strong light in direct view of the full face. It's very strong as some not so fashionable sunglasses need to be worn whilst undergoing the treatment, however its results are pretty amazing. I often went for the standard brightening light but if I had any breakouts then I would opt for the blue light which really had antibacterial properties as it cleared up my skin really well. With this in mind, I was so interested to see how an at home blue light therapy would work, particularly something designed to target spots on a smaller, more direct scale.
The Tanda Zap is a targeted spot treatment that operates with three proven technologies; blue light, gentle warming and sonic vibration, to clear spots and to prevent them from coming back. It is designed for those who have occasional breakouts to those with mild acne, anything more severe than this and I'd recommend trying out the X to maximise your results as this is designed for those with more frequent and severe breakouts or where they are more wide spread.
The Tanda Zap couldn't be easier to use; simply press the orange button on the side of the device, watch it light up and vibrate and you're good to go. Hold it directly over the spot you're looking to target and after two minutes the light will go off and from there you can either go back over the same spot for another two minutes or move to another area of the face. The Tanda Zap can be used as often as required as it cannot be over used, even on the same area, and the more you use it, the quicker the spots will go away. I used this three times a day and saw great results, it really does work! Within a couple of days my stops are definitely reduced to almost nothing. I found that it works quicker the earlier I catch the spot, particularly if I am able to catch it before it has broken the skin. I find that if I manage to use the Tanda Zap on my skin just as I feel that a spot is coming on then it stops it from coming to the surface and gets rid of it completely within a day. What I also found is that the areas where I usually get stubborn recurring spots are transformed in that I don't get them as often as I used to. Before using the Tanda Zap I would always get annoying spots in my eyebrow and on my head between my brows and I don't tend to get them now that I'm using the Tanda Zap.
Once switched on, the Tanda Zap's blue light gets to work quickly to destroy the bacteria that causes spots and acne whilst the gentle warming and sonic vibration help to open up the pores, revealing bacteria so that the blue light can kill it. As well as this, it helps to stimulate microcirculation of the skin which helps to reduce the swelling and inflammation that is often associated with spots. It is very safe and perfect for all skin types and tones. The Tanda Zap isn't uncomfortable to use as it doesn't hurt or burn the skin, it just gives a warming sensation and it doesn't make the skin look red or bleach it, or make it feel irritated. The main thing that I like about this spot treatment, other than its effectiveness, is that it doesn't dry out the skin like the majority of spot treatments do.
This is great if you're someone who wants to fight spots without the use of chemical treatments, salicylic acid and conventional spot fighting beauty products. The Tanda Zap allows for 1000 uses which is great value and after this a new Tanda Zap would need to be purchased. It takes three AAA batteries which I must say do run out pretty quickly if using it a lot but these are easy to get a hold of and easily replaced. The whole device itself is really compact and great for travelling.
The Tanda Zap is available from Boots for £60 but at the moment it is on sale for £40 when bought online only. If you suffer from acne and it gets you down then I'd really suggest that you consider to give this a go.
Dr Organic Tea Tree Blemish Stick
|Dr Organic Tea Tree Blemish Stick, £4.19 from Holland and Barrett|
Finally, moving on to my favourite product of them all, the Organic Tea Tree Blemish Stick from Dr Organic at Holland and Barrett. This little beauty is an absolute miracle worker. I originally bought this when I was shopping in Holland and Barrett for a face scrub from my favourite line by Dr Organic, the Manuka Honey range. I was using up some points that I had accumulated on my H&B points card and had some points left over. At the time, Mr WLL had some really bad breakouts on his face that he was really embarrassed about as he had never had spots as bad before in his adult life, so I got him this to use thinking that it would be that easy to use and fuss free that he couldn't not use it. The Organic Tea Tree Blemish Stick uses the natural antiseptic properties of Tea Tree to soothe and calm blemished skin. It is suitable for all skin types and tones. The roller ball is directly applied to the skin and releases a clear gel that doesn't irritate, burn or dry out the skin. It settles and dries quickly and can be used above or below make up and other skincare.
After the first application there was a VAST improvement in the spots on Mr WLL skin. This worked like no other spot treatment we had used before and now we both have one of these as our holy grail spot treatments.
If you buy one product I've reviewed here, let it be this one- it is brilliant! At £4.19 this is affordable, long lasting and effective. This gets a definite thumbs up from me and will definitely be repurchased when I've ran out of spot fighters!
So that's it for my round up of spot treatments for now. Once I've used these up, I'd love to try out the Origins Super Spot Remover, but sticking to my New Years Resolution from the past few years, I'm not going to purchase any products until I have used up the ones I already have first.
What are your favourite spot treatments? Have you tried any of the ones I have?