My skin is pretty good for the most part, but that doesn't mean I'm immune from the occasional breakout. My pimples usually flare up quickly; they don't get large or inflamed, but they are stubborn enough to persist in the face of any anti-blemish treatment I throw at them and last about a week at least, only to leave behind a dark spot that doesn't fade.
Enter Dermalogica's Overnight Clearing Gel ($58; available at BeautyMark). Dermalogica headquarters was kind enough to send it to me after reading my not-so-great review of the Concealing Spot Treatment. (More about that later.) This clear gel contains the traditional skin-clearing ingredients salicylic acid and tea tree oil, as well as a slew of vitamins and natural extracts: vitamin B complex, zinc gluconate, yeast extract, caffeine rosemary, spiraea and nordihydroguaiaretic acid, a powerful antioxidant. It's a blemish-fighting cocktail that promises to reduce inflammation, zap bacteria, clear congested pores and inhibit sebum production.
I had a chance to try the Overnight Clearing Gel against a full-fledged breakout as well as a few bumps that seemed like they were on the verge of becoming blemishes, and an inflamed under-the-skin pimple on my nose that was red and swollen. (Okay, so my otherwise good skin didn't have a very good two months. I blame stress.) For the full-fledged breakout, the Overnight Clearing Gel reduced the duration and severity. I even avoided the post-pimple dark spot. For the blemishes-in-the-making, the gel cleared up the bumps overnight. The gel also reduced the redness, size and pain of the inflamed under-the-skin pimple overnight. In three days, what could've become an unsightly and painful mess on the end of my nose cleared up without a trace.
As effective as the Overnight Clearing Gel was, I also found it to be quite gentle and it didn't dry out my skin at all. The instructions say to apply it all over your cleansed face at night, which is good for someone with all-over acne. If you're like me and only prone to occasional breakouts, it also works well if you just apply it to specific spots. Yes, it's a pricey product, but the 50 ml bottle is huge and contains more than enough product to last you.
Of course, the miraculous disappearance of the inflamed breakout can't be attributed to the Overnight Clearing Gel alone. It had help in the form of the Concealing Spot Treatment ($42; available at BeautyMark), which I still had lying around despite my mediocre experience with it the first time. Remembering what Anya said in the comments about how the Concealing Spot Treatment stopped her pimples from getting inflamed, for three days I dabbed a bit of Concealing Spot Treatment on my nose. While the salicylic acid and tea tree oil in the Overnight Clearing Gel worked their magic as I slept, during the day the zinc oxide and sulfur in the Concealing Spot Treatment provided round-the-clock blemish-fighting. I still think the Concealing Spot Treatment doesn't do much for the sorts of pimples I usually get, but I'll go with Anya on this one: it's quite good for stopping a painful inflamed blemish in its tracks.