Friday, June 10, 2011

Neutrogena On-The-Spot Acne Treatment

In an effort to find a cheaper skincare line, I let myself run out of my new love Solvere, and picked up an AcneFree kit from WalMart. I had tried it years ago and hated it, but it was reformulated and "significantly better than Proactiv," so I decided why not. It ended up breaking me out, and I had no backup BP to use. So, I ran out to the store and grabbed a tube of Neutrogena On-The-Spot (which I will now refer to as OTS), knowing that it's an acceptable, albeit expensive, readily available replacement for the BP.

You may be thinking: "Hey, this stuff is $6 a tube and it's a spot treatment, those last forever...that's not expensive!" No, as a spot treatment it wouldn't be, but I planned to use this on my entire face, morning and night, which means that a tube would typically last between one and two weeks depending on how much you use. That ends up being $12-24 monthly, JUST for your cleansers, toners, or moisturizers. See what I mean?

OTS is a white (and I hesitate to say this...) "cream." It's not really a cream, IMO. It's more of a lotiony texture with an extremely matte finish. However, it feels greasy (you will need soap, like an oil would) when you're trying to rinse it off your fingers, due to the emulsifying wax NF. So, I'm not quite sure what to describe it as.

The second (inactive) ingredient is bentonite, so I assumed that this would be very drying and oil absorbing...both of which you would want for a spot treatment, but not necessarily the drying part all over your face. Upon application I could definitely tell that it contained a high percentage of bentonite, as it had a very matte finish and acted quite like a mattifier. Though, due again to the emulsifying wax NF, it was very easy to apply as long as you worked quickly before it started to set. I had no problems spreading it around my face and it didn't ball up or anything like that.

I was quite happy with the matte finish since I have VERY oily skin, and I hoped that maybe it would control some of my oiliness. Here's where it got weird for me...

When I applied my moisturizer, it took much longer for it to soak in. As I would rub it in, it would start to get whiter, presumably from the OTS "reactivating." I would allow a couple seconds for it to absorb a little, then I would rub it in a bit more, and eventually it would soak in. The downfall to this is that I prefer my treatments to stay in place and my moisturizer to glide easily over them, and soak in without me having to disrupt the layer of treatment to make the moisturizer absorb. Also, as the moisturizer finally absorbed, if I didn't blend out the edges right away, there would be a white line that didn't want to move, just like when applying the OTS itself.

I think this can all be blamed on the bentonite, as it forms a layer on the skin that doesn't just sits there absorbing oil and drying the skin. So where a normal treatment would soak in and be gone by the time you applied moisturizer, OTS was still partially there, dried, and waiting to be reactivated by the moisturizer. Hence the whitening and resistant blending of the edges when the moisturizer finally started to dry. However, none of this seemed to affect the results, so it wasn't that big of a deal.

Even weirder, is how it reacted with my makeup primer. Even though the finish after moisturizer was still a bit matte, when I applied my silicone primer, it was a bit hard to spread and felt super heavy. I would venture to say that this is also the bentonite. I can only guess that it absorbed some of the moisturizing ingredients from my moisturizer before they went into my skin, which made more of a layer. After I finished applying my makeup it was very dewy and I felt that no amount of powder would fully mattify my skin. Not exactly what I need with my oily skin...

The results I experienced with this, though, were really surprising! I felt like it actually seemed to work the best of all the different BP's I have tried, even all the micro-crystal ones. Perhaps this is because it is a spot treatment and therefore more drying, but it didn't dry my face out one bit. From the first day I started using it, it was repairing the damage AcneFree had done, and rapidly clearing my skin. I had zero breakouts until a few days in.

All in all, I would definitely use this again at night. It did ball up overnight where my face rubbed against the pillow, but it didn't affect my results. I definitely wasn't a fan of it under makeup though, so I can't say I would use it in the morning unless it was an emergency like this time. I also think it would be a fantastic (and not overdrying!) spot treatment, so that's how I will use up the remainder of my tube.

Do I recommend it? both an all-over treatment and spot treatment. Since it dries fast and doesn't play well with makeup or moisturizers, it does require a bit of patience if you're using it all over, though. You can't just slap it on and go. As I mentioned above, it can be a bit expensive if you are like me and need BP in quantity to achieve clear skin. If you only need a pea size of most treatments, this would be great for you. If you're only going to use it once a day, definitely choose to do so at night!