Our Chemist Reviews It
Adult acne: two words that can strike terror in the hearts of many grown-ups. Thanks to stress, hormone fluctuations and poor diet/sleep habits, acne can continue to flare up through the 30s and 40s. Most acne treatment products are formulated with powerful detergents, peroxides and alcohols to exfoliate, strip and dry out the skin as much as possible. Such skin care products may be fine for those in their teens and 20s, as skin is much more resilient and able to take the punishment of powerful cleansers and exfoliants, but these products are often too harsh for more mature skin types, which are more fragile and prone to scarring and wrinkling. In fact, these products can actually worsen and accelerate the signs of ageing by drying out the skin and making the formation of fine lines and scars more likely. Drying out the skin can also cause over-production of sebum that can lead to more breakouts and more scarring.
Although mature skin may still be prone to acne breakouts, a moisturizer is still needed to bolster the barrier function of the skin and keep fine lines at bay. Traditional moisturizers are often too rich for mature, problem-prone skin, and can cause more problems such as breakouts and formation of milia and sebaceous hyperplasia. Instead, the key is to use a lightweight moisturizer with little-to-no oil content, that relies instead on water and non-oily humectants to add moisture; humectants attract and hold on to water and examples include glycerin and hyaluronic acid or sodium hyaluronate. Such a formulation helps skin retain moisture, while preventing over-production of sebum that can lead to breakouts.
In general, moisturizers are an emulsion of water and oil or other fatty substance; oil-free moisturizers contain silicones in place of the traditional oil content. Earlier versions of oil-free moisturizers tended to have a high concentration of silicones to replace the oil content, which would form an uncomfortable film on the skin that did not actually provide any moisturizing benefit. Newer, more advanced formulations have a lower silicone content. Kellett Skincare Moisturizing Gel is an excellent example of this type of formulation; it is part of Dr. Lisa Kellett’s skincare line and it was developed especially for caring for skin prone to adult acne.
The Kellett Moisturizing Gel is a colourless water-based gel that is free of synthetic fragrance, dyes, and other potentially irritating ingredients. It is packaged in an air-excluding opaque pump, which protects the contents from light, moisture, air and microbial contamination. In addition, it contains Lens esculenta (lentil) seed extract, a plant extract that has been shown to reduce sebum production and help refine the appearance of pores (read about it here).
During the incredibly harsh winter we just went through, my skin became an extreme version of combination skin, with dry flaking skin on the jaw, along the hairline and into the scalp, and a hyper-oily, stressed T-zone. The Kellett Moisturizing Gel has been a lifesaver: it seems to calm the T-zone and make it less oily, and it also hydrates the skin along my hairline without getting the hair roots greasy. The high water content makes the gel feels more like a thin lotion than a gel. Unlike earlier oil-free moisturizers that I have tried, this one absorbs rapidly into the skin, without leaving any noticeable residue. Skin feels hydrated, comfortable and refreshed after applying. Thanks to the lentil seed extract, the pores in the T-zone appear to be less noticeable (at least, to me!). Highly recommended!
About the Author Louise Hidinger, Ph.D., is a chemist and founder of the blog INGREDIENTS.