From the moment we get our first zit (welcome!), we're taught that the best — and perhaps only — way to deal with breakouts is without a shred of mercy. We scour our faces with abrasive pads soaked in alcohol and benzoyl peroxide, scrub at our skin like it's an uneven wooden surface in need of sanding, and dab on thick white creams that bleach pillowcases and leave dry, peeling red spots where our skin used to be. That's what our pores deserve when they go and do us dirty like that, right?
Imagine telling your pre-teen self that treating your acne doesn't have to feel like corporal punishment. (Well, first you'd have to break the news that even adults break out.) In fact, it can feel like a lightweight, non-sticky serum that smells faintly of mint, never stings or irritates, and is formulated with 98% natural ingredients to steer your skin ever-so-gently in the direction of clearness rather than use brute force.
Meticulously crafted over a period of two years by the Beverly Hills facialist and aesthetician to whom Gwyneth Paltrow entrusts her skin, Sonya Dakar's new Super Clear aims to heal acne, not just blitz it. Acne is a complicated condition that manifests differently in everyone; my personal brand of acne is the hormonal kind, combined with the sensitive kind, combined with rosacea that flares up if someone so much as whispers "lavender essential oil" or "2% benzoyl peroxide" from the other room.
Accounting for all of this with my skin-care routine is about as close as I'll ever get to actually juggling, but this clarifying serum, which works to soothe and protect the skin as it clears, is made with touchy types like me in mind. The smart blend of 13 different plant-based actives — including salicylic acid, centella asiatica, arnica, calendula, and niacinamide, to name a familiar few — is specifically formulated to clarify all skin types by unclogging pores, clearing up existing breakouts, and defending against future ones, too.
When there's such emphasis placed on just how gentle a product is, my gut tells me that it may not irritate my skin, but it won't do anything good for me, either. I used this serum morning and night for one weekend — in the dead heat of July, when I tend to have the most skin-related turmoil — and saw a difference by Monday morning. The tiny closed comedones on my chin were smoothed. My pores were practically nonexistent. The purplish ghosts of breakouts past looked lighter. No, it's not regression therapy for the trauma I put my skin through as a teenager... but it might just be better.
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