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Clarisonic Acne Clarifying Cleansing Set — Will It Zap To Some Zit-Blasting Action?

My reliance on my Clarisonic MIA Cleanser is well-documented. Though I might shriek when I discover that only a few measly droplets of my favorite cleanser linger inside its tube or bottle, there’s a despondent, bone-chilling cry that’ automatically emitted from my being when I reach for my Clarisonic brush only to discover that its battery needs to be recharged. After years of relying on the Clarisonic Cleansing System to eliminate makeup, dirt, and debris, refine pores, smooth my skin, and help to even skin tone and improve my visage’s overall texture, the notion of manually cleansing my face seems as archaic as playing music on an 8-track player. Needless to say, my ears perk up whenever a new Clarisonic product is introduced: whether it’s the Opal Sonic Infusion with its  anti-aging, serum-delivering capablities; its Deep Pore Cleansing Brush; or its new Acne Cleansing Brush Head.

I initially learned about the Clarisonic Acne Cleansing Brush Head during a press preview many months ago in which beauty bloggers, writers, and editors, were educated on the many ways in which acne had been treated over the ages: from the sulfur applied to blemishes in ancient Egypt and Greece to the invention of benzoyl peroxide in the 1920s. They also debunked many of the myths associated with acne: among them that chocolate can trigger breakouts and that acne is a problem solely during adolescence. And then, of course, we learned all about their research on how to best treat acne. For one, the Clarisonic experts explained that, during a breakout, skin is particularly sensitive and inflamed so that topical treatments (whether in the form of cleansers, toners, astringents or even spot treatments) that are overly harsh will only exacerbate the problem, increase redness, and even dry out the skin, upsetting its natural pH balance and sending the message that more sebum should be produced which could then translate into more breakouts. With that in mind, they  set out to design a new brush head that would be compatible with any Clarisonic device (whether it’s the Clarisonic Classic, the Clarisonic Plus, the Mia, the Mia 2, or the Aria) and would take into account the gentleness with which acne-prone skin needs to be treated. The result was the Acne Cleansing Brush Head, which not only features extra soft bristles but is also more densely designed, so that each oscillating circle will deliver a deeper cleanse and detoxify pores while also feeling rather soft against the skin due to the brush head’s plush quality. Since I started using this brush head, I haven’t stopped — mainly because I love the texture of the brush head so much that my previous “Normal” brush head feels a bit abrasive in comparison (which, of course it isn’t but, as with all things, we’re speaking in terms of contrasts). An added plus: Clarisonic color-coded this brush head do that the center circle of bristles has a light green shade, which allows you to differentiate this particular number from your other Clarisonic brush heads when cleansing your face.

Customers can buy the Acne Cleansing Brush Head individually ($25 at Clarisonic.com) or they can spend an extra $20 and buy the Clarisonic Acne Clarifying Cleansing Set shown here ($47 at Clarisonic.com), which also includes the Acne Daily Clarifying Cleanser, a paraben-free face wash specifically designed for acne-prone skin. The cleanser has a light blue color and a lightweight consistency that’s not quite creamy but also not too gel-like, striking a nice balance between the two. It’s formulated with 2% salicylic acid — the maximum percentage of salicylic acid for over-the-counter medications and cosmetics. Why salicylic acid and not benzoyl peroxide? Well, the dermatologists in the Clarisonic team found that, while benzoyl peroxide could kill the acne-causing bacteria on the skin’s surface, salicylic acid could actually penetrate the pores and exfoliate from within, essentially eradicating the bacteria and dirt that leads to clogged pores and, in turn, mild to moderate breakouts. But since salicylic acid can prove to irritate skin, they also incorporated soothing botanicals into the formula — among them camellia flower extract, lotus flower extract, and purslane extract.

Now, while I pretty much never struggled with breakouts as a teen, my thirties have brought about a series of unfortunate events — among them jawline acne that flares up around that time of the month. When my first breakout occurred, I assumed it was directly linked to either the stress I was enduring or a makeup product I had been testing but, once I noticed the pattern of breakouts surfacing during my most hormonal week of the month, I quickly realized it had nothing to do with these other factors and everything to do with changes in my own body chemistry and my hormonal patterns. That being said, my breakouts tend to concentrate on this one area of my face (along the jaw and chin), and they tend to surface during a specific time of the month so that, for the rest of that period of time, I’m relatively acne-free (or just dealing with the aftermath of the last breakout). With that in mind, I first started testing the Clarisonic Acne Clarifying Set when one of these breakouts announced itself, and I was thrilled at how quickly it dried up those pesky bumps on my face. Once my breakout had subsided, I continued using the cleanser hoping that it would fend off future breakouts, but I discovered two inconvenient truths: first, since my skin is typically dry and sensitive, the cleanser was a bit too abrasive during non-breakout periods, effectively over-drying my face and creating another series of problems; and second, because my breakouts tend to be triggered by hormonal factors, the cleanser didn’t do much in terms of preventing them but, rather, simply helped me to handle them once they occurred, working as a river dam of sorts.

Nowadays, I continue using the Clarisonic Acne Cleansing Brush Head on a regular basis but I reach for my favorite cleansers instead of the Clarisonic once — until, of course, Aunt Flow comes into town, when I quickly take out the big guns (otherwise known as the Clarisonic Acne Daily Clarifying Cleanser) to make sure Flow and her minions doesn’t wreak havoc on my skin. If, like me, you have dry and sensitive skin, I’d definitely recommend this plan of action. If, however, your skin is on the oily side, do consider integrating the cleanser into your daily routine.

One word to the wise: whenever you do have a breakout and you’re using the Clarisonic Acne Daily Clarifying Cleanser, do not add on other acne-fighting products like peels and spot treatments since these will counteract the effects of the cleanser by irritating or even dehydrating the skin. Allow the salicylic acid in the cleanser to perform its duties, and you’ll be surprised with the results.

To purchase the Clarisonic Acne Clarifying Cleansing Set ($47), visit Clarisonic.com 

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