It may be just us but it seems as though the skincare world has gotten lazy when it comes to products that help blemishes (pimples and acne, that is). Even though there are thousands of products, most use the same rather harsh ingredient: Benzyl Peroxide. Or if you want a natural option: Tea Tree Oil. Yawn! 😉
Both are very good at killing acne bacteria but both tend to leave your skin dry and open to irritation. Benzyl peroxide would also bleach your towels and pillowcases, which can get expensive.
Over the years many new ingredients have been developed to help with pimples, but we’ve got an inkling that many brands go by ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. Changing a product is a big deal, especially if it is a best seller and the new ingredient might not live up to the sales pitch from the manufacturer.
Aaron has been testing new ingredients on Phoebe for years to see if they live up to their claims and worth investing in upgrading our products. Some didn’t live up to expectations but others certainly did and some even surprised us with how well they worked.
So after all that testing, these are the best natural blemish busting solutions we’ve uncovered - (we even wore a lab coat and goggles to make it feel all scientific!).
The old way of killing the acne-causing bacteria worked well but it also worked too well on the good bacteria on your skin. This completely upsets your skin's microbiome. Scientists are only just starting to understand how important a balanced skin microbiome is for healthy, clear skin. Enter fermented extracts of Papaya, Noni fruit and Yeast.
Papaya Extract - We have been slapping this stuff on our lips for years due its healing powers. The fermented versions keep all those properties but supercharge them with skin restoring enzymes such as papain.
Noni Fruit - This is so on trend it should have its own podcast called Dermohacker. This little cracker of an ingredient has scooped many industry accolades. It is a bit of sweet talker keeping all the microbes on your skin in perfect harmony. It works to treat and prevent oily, acne prone skin.
Yeast Extract -This extract works as a skin renewal and corrective active. It lightens, brightens and exfoliates to keep your pores clear.
It's funny how sometimes what you are looking for is right under your nose. These couple of plants have been around for so long it's easy to miss them, but they’re not to be underestimated when it comes to breakout-prone skin.
White Willowbark - This beauty has been around so long that it gets glossed over because it can be a bit boring. Well we are bringing it back to the cool table. This little beauty is super high in salicin - nature's anti-inflammatory - and is what aspirin was created from. Salicin is just as effective as salicylic acid to clear blemishes but is milder and gentler to your skin.
Purslane -Also known as Portulaca, purslane is native to Australia but can be found worldwide. Historically it was an anti-magic herb which is crazy because we think it has magical powers itself. Even though it is great bush tucker it does some pretty great work for your skin too as it has anti-inflammatory, anti-irritation, anti-allergy and hydrating properties. Which are just the things you need to recover from a blemish.
To be or not to be Vitamin A
Natural Vitamin A alternatives are really riding the wave of popularity right now. Bakuchiol is the most well known and we tested it thoroughly in facial oils, serums and creams. It was really good but the in-house Woohoo + Happy testing team didn’t love it due to its tendency to trigger breakouts in some people. (They are a tough group to impress - Aaron has a trolley full of samples that haven’t made the cut!)
Moth Bean Extract - Our favourite Vitamin A alternative is Moth Bean Extract. We know it doesn’t sound sexy but the Moth Bean is a quiet achiever which did blow the socks off our in-house team. Its ability to renew and strengthen skin with a gentle touch made it the winner to help skin recover from breakouts.
AHA’s - One of the most effective ways to renew the skin and keep it uncongested is to use Alpha Hydroxy Acids - the likes of Glycolic and Lactic Acids. Congested pores are a root cause of breakouts. These acids are made synthetically but they are also naturally available in fruit.
You can now get a blend of fruits (Bilberry, Maple, Sugar cane, Lemon and Orange) which gives you a blend of AHA’s (glycolic, lactic, citric, malic, tartaric) which has a much gentler action to achieve brighter, clearer skin. The fruit AHA blend also supports the microbiome.
Where can I find these skin clearing ingredients?
Glad you asked :) Two of our newest formulas are absolutely LOADED with these ingredients to help heal and prevent blemishes.
You’ll find all of these ingredients (and more!) in the:
- ‘This Is Me’ Enzyme Exfoliating Mask - a highly active gel mask to exfoliate, brighten, renew, soften, smooth and clear using AHAs, BHAs and probiotics, suitable for all skin types (even sensitive skin)
- ‘Fairy Godmother’ Serum #2 (Clear and Correct) - a super-light water-based serum to clear, balance, brighten and reduce redness for oily and combination skin
If you’re keen to see if these ingredients work as well for you as they have done for us, it might be worth adding these to your shopping list.
So there you have it - the official round-up of our most effective ingredients to help prevent and recover from blemishes, whether it’s the occasional pimple, some congestion under your skin, or a whole-face breakout.
10 years ago Phoebe laid down the challenge for Aaron to clear her skin and folks - he’s finally done it. The perks of being married to a cosmetic chemist!!!!