PRODUCTS I 🖤 AND BELIEVE IN : Dr. Dennis Gross Acne Treatments 👨🏼⚕️👩🏾⚕️
Back in the Mesozoic Era, when I was a teenager, we had one option for treating acne: Clearasil Pads. They were strong as hell and, I assume, soaked in salicylic acid and denatured alcohol. I'd be surprised to learn now if there was anything else in the formula. They were better than nothing. But, not only did they dry out blemishes, they stripped my skin of every trace of oil, drying and dehydrating the skin everywhere else on my face. Of course, today, I know that what I was doing was causing my skin to overreact and produce more oil, which attracted more bacteria, dirt, and grime to my skin and clogged my pores. It was no doubt an unforgiving and sadly prolonged acne cycle! In fact, a quick look at the ingredient list of the current version of Clearasil Stubborn Acne Control 5-in-1 Daily Pads and I see nothing much has changed. These couldn't possibly be more aggravating to skin than what I was using in the last century — but they could easily be just as irritating with a high level of denatured alcohol in addition to fragrance and even lavender oil! Oh em gee.
The Ingredient List for Clearasil Pads:
Active ingredients: Salicylic Acid (2%). Inactive ingredients: Water, Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, Isoceteth-20, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance, Lavandula Stoechas Extract, Helichrysum Italicum Extract, Cistus Monspeliensis Extract, Disodium EDTA.
Oh, if I could turn back time. Like Cher apparently can. I wish I had more gentle, effective and pro-skin health options back in the day. Treatments like those formulated by Dr. Dennis Gross who, as a renowned NYC-based dermatologist, would certainly know how to treat skin gently.
With that, I’ve had my eye on the Dr. Dennis Gross Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask for what seems like forever. Whether it's the longing of teenage Carmine, or the skincare junkie in me now, I do not know. But I'm hyped to finally have a chance to check this mask out. You may know that colloidal sulfur is one of the active ingredients considered an acne medicine or drug by the FDA; the other being, of course, the acne OG salicylic acid. While I don’t have anywhere near the same concern for acne today, I do get the occasional blemish that requires attention. And though serious acne treatments aren’t necessarily on my radar, I get asked all the time for recommendations by people who do have a concern for acne.
The Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask will be one of my top recos going forward! Why? Because while it’s effectively treating acne with 5% colloidal sulfur, it’s not going to strip skin of vital oils, leading to that awful “acne cycle”. I felt ZERO tightness or dryness after using the Clarifying Colloidal mask. It’s light and creamy like a really wet clay mask would be. One of the things that I love about it is the inclusion of several skin-replenishing non-fragrant plant oils like Safflower Seed Oil, Rosemary Leaf Oil and Soybean Oil. All skin types need skin-compatible oils to help skin rebalance itself.
And skin in balance behaves like a well-oiled machine!
I also love the inclusion of my fave irritation soothing extract, Bisabolol, an active extract which is derived from chamomile. And, without denatured alcohol, the formula goes a long way to relieving and balancing acne-prone skin.
The Ingredient List for Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask:
Active Ingredients: Colloidal Sulfur (5.0%) Inactive Ingredients: Water, Kaolin, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Acacia Senegal Gum, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Zinc Oxide, Bentonite, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Opuntia Vulgaris Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Bisabolol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Farnesol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Phenylethyl Resorcinol, Retinol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Sodium PCA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Allantoin, BHT, Phenoxyethanol
Dr. Gross' offerings for acne blemishes run deep and wide. A more conventional salicylic acid treatment is the All-Over Blemish Solution. It's a satiny, silicone-based gel that's ideal for use all over the face, if needed. But, I've used it as a spot treatment and found it's effective without drying out my skin. The product is intended as more of a regular-use, non-stripping acne treatment. And while I believe it's gentle enough for daily use, it's quite potent with the max level of 2% salicylic acid. With an interesting ingredient called farnesol, something I'd never heard of, as well as my fave skin-soothing bisabolol, All-Over Blemish Solution is also formulated to kill acne-causing bacteria to help prevent the occurrence of acne in the first place.
The Ingredient List for All-Over Blemish Solution:
Active Ingredients: Salicylic Acid (2.0%) Inactive Ingredients: Bisabolol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyltrimethylsiloxysilicate Crosspolymer, Disodium EDTA, Farnesol, Menthol, Phenoxyethanol, Squalane, Ubiquinone
And while teenage Carmine imagined all kinds of things about the future that have yet to come to pass, the future of acne treatments is at least here. I love my technology! Since I was a Star Trek fan as a kid, I’ve wanted to be beamed to far off places. Every time I pick up my iPhone, I feel like I could actually summon Scotty to send me to Seoul for a skincare shopping spree. And I love how Dr. Gross is paving the way to skin tech!
Okay, I may not be headed to South Korea in the blink of an eye, but with high-tech devices for both eye area wrinkles and acne blemishes, I’m getting my sci-fi fix from Dr. Gross. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been experimenting with the new SpotLite Acne Treatment Device. The SpotLite is FDA-cleared and relies on the power of clinically-proven blue and red LED technology to clear acne breakouts. I was fortunate to get one to try in advance.
So, does it work?!
Yes. It. Does. On three occasions over the past month, I’ve begun to get a blemish, once on my chin where I hadn’t shaven for 4 days (a blemish there is common!) and twice on my face to the side of my nose — where I'm in a constant battle against enlarged pores. Each time, on separate days, I used the device to zap the oncoming zit. All you do is hold the light end against the blemish and turn it on. The device’s LED light activates and after 3 minutes, it turns off automatically. I used it once each time and in all instances, the next day, the blemish was barely visible — then completely gone a day later. I caught them early before they could fully form and stopped them in their tracks! So count me with the 100% of participants who reported “some improvement in the reduction of acne”!
The Technology Behind the SpotLite Acne Treatment Device:
Blue and red LED light therapy.
Dr. Gross has nailed it with so many outstanding well-formulated products — and his collection of Dr Dennis Gross DRx™ products for the treatment of acne are first-rate. We've come a long way from Clearasil Pads. And even though I'm still a long way from that quick trip to Seoul via the Enterprise transporter, the future is creeping in.
📺Check out my IGTV channel above for a video review and to see it in action!