In my decade-long, on-again-off-again relationship with acne, I've found a lot of products that I always come back to. (I've also found just as many, if not more, that are complete duds.) All that's to say is that as someone who is constantly testing out products for both work and personal reasons, I'm always on the hunt for a game-changer that actually does what it claims to — and Drunk Elephant's latest and greatest has done just that.
The clean skin-care brand's latest drop is the Protini Powerpeptide Resurfacing Serum, a lactic acid- and peptide-powered potion that hydrates and gently exfoliates in one streamlined step. While masks have quite literally been a saving grace throughout the pandemic, I'll be the first to admit that maskne is very real. Over the past year, I've experienced moderate-to-severe flare-ups of cystic bumps, congested whiteheads, and clogged pores concentrated on the lower half of my face. Places that I used to never break out — like my cheeks — were now pimple central.
Around a month ago, I received an early bottle of the Drunk Elephant Protini serum for testing (the Protini moisturizer is another DE favorite of mine) have been diligently using it at night since. (A week ago, I started using it in the morning as well — so far, so good.) Alpha-hydroxy acid serums and I don't always get along, but my skin does tend to respond well to lactic acid products like Sunday Riley Good Genes.
The Protini serum has a milky consistency and no noticeable smell, and readily absorbed into my skin after applying toner. However, unlike many AHA products, I didn't notice a tingling or burning sensation after use. Lactic acid, while still a formidable opponent against dead skin cells, is gentler on the skin than glycolic. It also helps that the serum is formulated with a peptide complex that hydrates and soothes the skin, leaving it supple and glowy.
At $82, it's not cheap. That said, take it from an acne-prone beauty writer who's tried it all: This stuff is the real deal and, weeks later, I'm happy to report that I have the clear complexion to prove it.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.