acne treatment

Voxy’s Latest Lemmings

Here’s what I’ve been eyeing lately.

Too Faced Magic Wand Liquid Foundation. Tried this in ULTA and was fortunate that out of the limited color selection (only 7 shades), the lightest works really well with my skin. It went on like butter but might be too drying for long wear. Trying to tell myself I don’t need to be disappointed by another liquid foundation.

Status of lemming: Still at large.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. Cult favorite. Somehow I missed the arrival of Mario Badescu at ULTA, but lo! there it was. A strange two-tone product containing calamine, camphor, sulfur, and salicylic acid. The calamine settles to the bottom, so it’s an odd-looking bottle. You are specifically instructed NOT to shake it up before application; instead, you dip a Q-tip down through the top yellow portion into the pink calamine portion, withdraw it, and dab it on the pimple. Hmm.

Status of lemming: Shot and bagged.

Josie Maran Argan Oil Moisturizing Stick. Argan oil is apparently one of the best things to hit the skin care market since, well, ever. I am dying to get my hands on some. I’m lemming this because you can get a travel size version of this product at for $6 and I really want to try it.

Status of lemming: Still at large; on Most Wanted list.

Too Faced Primed and Poreless Skin Smoothing Primer. Maybe this time is the time Lucy won’t yank the football away I’ll find a makeup primer to fall in love with. I’m only trying this because Too Faced Shadow Insurance already won my heart, so I admit I have high hopes. Maybe I should ask for a pre-nup in case it doesn’t work out.

Status of lemming: Shot, trussed, and tied to the front of my car.

Givenchy Gloss Interdit Ultra-Shiny Color Plumping Effect lip gloss in Rose Taboo (rosy mauve). Remember the little “My First Makeup Kit” I bought from Sephora in October? There was a sample of this in there and the color is fantastic — truly a “my lips but better” product. I’m almost through the sample and am sniffing around the full-size product.

Status of lemming: Still at large… for now.

What have you been lusting after lately? Tell all in the comments!

(No actual lemmings were harmed in the writing of this post.)

Review: Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control 3-in-1 Acne Hydrating Treatment

neutrogena 3-1 oil free acne stress controlLongest. Product. Name. Ever.

Also, really not digging the orange-on-teal color scheme. Yeesh. The product may attempt to reduce your stress, but the packaging screams “Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!”

All ribbing aside, Neutrogena [yadda yadda] Hydrating Treatment is an inexpensive and effective BHA product that can help keep pores unclogged. AHAs work on the surface of the skin to speed cell turnover there. But because they are not lipid-soluble, a clogged pore presents an obstacle to exfoliation of the walls of the pore. BHAs, however, are lipid-soluble, and they work by penetrating into the pore through the natural oil it contains and speeding the turnover of cells in the pore wall. If the pore is clogged with material, then getting rid of some of the dead skin cells in the walls of the pore can help loosen the clog and allow the dirt and oil to move to the surface of the pore for removal. (BHAs also do some exfoliation on the surface of skin.)

An effective BHA product requires both a reasonable level of BHA (between 1 and 2%, depending on what your skin can handle) and an effective pH, which is harder to come by, because pH is not usually listed on the package. According to Paula Begoun, BHAs are most effective at a pH between 3 and 4, losing efficiency as the pH of the product rises above 4. As she points out, you could always bring some pH testing strips along with you to your local drugstore if you want to test the pH of BHA products, but since most people don’t want to endure the curious stares of CVS or Target employees, they’d rather someone else do the testing. (I have to admit that this is the sort of geeky thing I would do. I should get my hands on some pH testing strips.) While I don’t always agree with Paula’s assessments on the qualitative aspects of products, there’s no question that her research is dead-on, so I trust her math when she says that the pH of this Neutrogena … Treatment is within optimal levels.

BHA products don’t work overnight. Well, they do, of course — it’s not like they gather round the water cooler between 9 pm and 7 am and chat about what happened on last night’s episode of The Office rather than going to work on your pores. But it takes several days for them to really start to produce results. Therefore, while BHAs are of some use during a breakout or when you have a particularly annoying blackhead, their real value is as preventive agents.

The Neutrogena … Treatment is a very thin, light, almost translucent lotion with a slight but noticeable cucumber scent that goes on easily and dries relatively quickly. It would be a good idea to wait a few minutes until the product is fully absorbed before putting either a moisturizer or makeup on where you’ve applied the … Treatment. BHA products should be applied to clean skin before you put on any other products. If the BHA product is emollient enough, you may not need to put a moisturizer on over the areas in which you’ve applied BHA. If your skin gets too dried out, flaky, or irritated, either reduce the frequency with which you use the product and/or switch to a product with a lower concentration of BHA.


Neutrogena Oil Free 3-in-1 Acne Stress Control Acne Hydrating Treatment: ~$8 on

Provenance: Purchased

Price/Value Ratio (drugstore: poor/fair/good/excellent): Good

Purchase again? Yes

Review: Ole Henriksen Roll-On Blemish Attack

ole_hI’m a big fan of some other Ole Henriksen products, so I thought I’d give this one a try. Although I’ve had almost no breakouts since I bought my Clarisonic (about which you will definitely be hearing more in future posts), from time to time I go to sleep without washing my face stress gets the better of me and I end up with a blemish.

One of the things I found appealing about this was that it was a roll-on, which I thought was fabulous. Those of you who have used benzoyl peroxide products for acne control probably (if you are at all like me) have some tell-tale spots on pillowcases, pajamas, or towels where the benzoyl peroxide has bleached them. (OK, maybe I’m the only one who’s that klutzy.) But a roll-on! I thought, with, frankly, glee. Just roll that baby right over the pimple — no benzoyl peroxide ever getting on my hands, and therefore no benzoyl peroxide ever getting on anything else. All right, I would still have to take off my nice pillowcases to sleep with the stuff on, but hands-free application was a big step forward as far as I was concerned.

Unfortunately, the product directions tell you to use the rollerball to apply the product to your finger, and then use your finger to apply it to the blemish.


(What’s the point of the roll-on, then? Really, what’s the point?)

The product does do a reasonable job with helping to kill bacteria and shrink pimples; the benzoyl peroxide (5%) is joined by salicylic acid, kaolin, and zinc, so there’s a nice handful of helpful ingredients in there. However, this one for me was only OK, and not worth a repurchase, especially since it’s very unlikely I’d get through the whole bottle before the expiration date. I also think it’s strange that it’s not in opaque packaging, since benzoyl peroxide loses efficacy when exposed to light, and the clear glass roll-on container isn’t helping there. I suppose you could just vow to keep the thing in a drawer, but it just seems like there might have been a better packaging decision that could have been made there.

It has Sephora’s “natural” seal, though given the lack of regulation of the term “natural” (which is why it appears in quotes in categories/tags on this blog), that may or may not be saying much.


Provenance: Purchased

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): fair

Purchase again? No