Thursday, January 17, 2013

Coral Actives Complete Acne Therapy System- Review

While I am not prone to acne, I do periodically have hormonal breakouts, or product related breakouts. I have, however, received so many emails from readers who are looking for a good skincare system specifically geared toward treating acne. Therefore, when Coral Actives offered to send me their line for review- I jumped at the chance to try a line that was specifically geared to the treatment of acne. I wondered how I was going to fairly evaluate the line given that my skin was clear at the time that I received it, but then as fate would have it (and much to my horror) I ended up having a nasty breakout- so I decided that it was the perfect time to test out their products. Coral Actives is a company that is committed to the treatment of acne, and their products create real and highly visible results. 
The Complete Acne System ($29.95) consists of two products: I) Retinol Exfoliating Cleanser,  and II) Penetrating Acne Serum Gel.
I) Retinol Exfoliating Cleanser – "The ermis LABS Retinol Exfoliating Cleanser with Sea Whip Extract contains mild cleansers, retinol for deeper cleansing and very fine micro-beads to help exfoliate the skin." Coral Actives posits, "Although cleansing alone does not directly address the mechanisms of acne, it is believed that good skin care involving daily cleansing is an important part of attaining good skin health."

Coral Actives Retinol Exfoliating Cleanser is comprised of 3 major ingredients:
1) Encapsulted Retinol. This means that our retinol only releases as you cleanse, all in one big burst as each tiny capsule breaks open.
2) Microbeads. They chose the perfect size; not so big that they’re irritating but large enough to help remove dead skin.
3) Sea Whip Extract. Helping your skin with inflammation is smart skin health.

Coral Actives Retinol Exfoliating Cleanser "employs a unique retinol encapsulation delivery system; this pure form of vitamin A encourages skin renewal and promotes collagen production. Retinol also reduces fine lines, clears congested pores, and smoothes skin texture and tone, creating a more even appearance."

They include interesting and highly effective ingredients: "Sea Whip Coral is a renewable resource found in the Caribbean. Clinical studies have shown that the components in sea whip extract can be used to reduce inflammation and redness, and contribute toward cellular repair. It has very strong soothing properties for sensitive, irritated skin."

Coral Actives Retinol Exfoliating Cleanser is a light green low-foaming formula with a subtle clean scent that is quite pleasant to use. I thought that it was going to be very harsh and stripping, but Coral Actives was developed it with sensitive skin in mind. I was definitely excited to try this product largely because I am a huge fan of retinol because it works so well on my combination skin. It contains very small microbeads, in order to remove dead skin, and for this reason I would not recommend using this cleanser with a Clarisonic. I like this cleanser a great deal, and can definitely see rotating it into my regular stash on cleansers. It is also great for people with combination and oily skin types, and what I found remarkable was the fact that it did not strip my skin. A very nice cleanser, indeed.

Directions: Wet face with warm water.Apply a small amount of cleanser in hands and rub together.
Use gentle circular motions to rub onto face for 20 seconds. Rinse with cool or warm water. Pat dry with towel.

Ingredients: Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Glycerin, Acrylates Copolymer, Cocamidopropyl Betaine Retinol, (and) BHT (and) Tricaprylin (and) Polymethyl Methacrylate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (and) Sea Whip Extract, Polyethylene, PEG 8 Dimetihcone, Cocamide MEA, Fragrance, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Hydroxide, Water (and) Methylisothiazolinone, Blue 1.
II) Penetrating Acne Serum Gel – "At ermis LABS we set out to design a benzoyl peroxide product that would leave your skin feeling moisturized and not dry. We added high quality ingredients that trap water on the skin, we added ingredients that help the benzoyl peroxide get deep into your pores and we’ve added Sea Whip Extract to help with any areas of inflammation."
CoralActives Penetrating Acne Serum Gel is comprised of 4 major ingredients:
1) 6% Benzoyl Peroxide; to kill bacteria
2) Sea Whip Extract; to help your inflamed skin.
3) Humectants; to attract water from the atmosphere onto your skin
4) Emollients; to retain the moisture on your skin
Why does Coral Actives use benzoyl peroxide in so many of their products? Well, because, "its main effect on the skin is to introduce oxygen to the clogged parts of the skin’s pores. When you increase oxygen you create a more fatal environment for bacteria. But it’s not without its side effects: dryness, irritation, itching, mild peeling, redness, or swelling of the skin may occur. Most products take the easy way out and reduce the amount of benzoyl peroxide; what you end up with a weak product. At ermis LABS we chose to develop a special serum that would allow us to use a higher strength benzoyl peroxide but still provide your skin with enough moisture to prevent drying."

I found this gel based acne serum to be a really fantastic spot treatment on the angry pimples that I had, and what I found was that it knocked to red out of my pimples pretty quickly and reduced the swelling. They are quite right in their claim that this serum "goes on light and dries quickly." They suggest that for best results that it should be used once a day. This is a really effective product, and I can see how this would be indispensable for those who have acne. For me, this is a great product to have on hand to zap pimples as soon as they begin to rear their ugly little heads (or even when they are just threatening to do so.
Penetrating Acne Serum Gel Warnings, Directions and Ingredients:
III) The Coral Actives Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin ($12.95) was "formulated with natural ingredients to help fight acne as your moisturize your skin."  

The formulation is paraben free and contains the following natural ingredients:
1) Tea Tree Oil: Natural antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-infection oil.
2) Licorice Extract: Blocks androgen activity of the sebaceous gland’s production of sebum; also inhibits lipase enzyme activity produced by bacteria on the skin’s surface and in pores thereby decreasing inflammation.
3) Copaifera Officinalis Resin – Carapa Guaianensis Seed Oil – Euterpe Oleracea Pulp Oil.

Extracted from natural products from the rain forest these three ingredients are:
1) Powerful natural antioxidants
2) Powerful anti-inflammatory effect
3) Powerful germicide excellent for preventing infections
4) Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract 100% naturally derived ingredient from the olive leaf. Olive Leaf Extract is an antioxidant, and anti-irritant, and an anti-inflammatory
5) Glucosamine HCL – Algae Extract – Yeast Extract – Urea which are natural exfoliators.  They can activate both epidermal and dermal cells, resulting in improved cell renewal.  They also increase production of hyaluronic acid and collagen.

This is a pretty lightweight and easily absorbed lotion that feels really nice on the skin. It smells like Tea Tree Oil, but the scent dissipates fairly quickly. I was surprised to find that my combination skin was actually getting a suitable amount of moisture while I was fighting my breakouts. When I do have a breakout, I do find that I am very careful, if not a bit apprehensive, to use a moisturizer anywhere near my breakouts for fear of exacerbating the problem, but not so with this moisturizer because it fights acne! I think that this will be a welcome relief to those of you who fight acne, and who end up drying out your skin in the process. Bravo, Coral Actives-- nicely done.

Ingredients: Purified water, Cetyl Alcohol & Glyceryl Stearate & PEG-75 Stearate & Ceteth-20 & Steareth-20, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Cyclotetrasiloxane(and)Cyclopentasiloxane, Stearyl alcohol, Glucosamine HCL & Algae Extract & Yeast Extract & Urea, Copaifera officinalis (balsam copaiba) resin & Carapa guaianensis seed oil & Euterpe oleracea pulp oil, Benzyl alcohol&Caprylhydroxamic acid&Glycerin, Sodium hyaluronate, Isopentyidiol, Olea europaea (Olive) leaf extract & water, Licorice (Glycyrrhiza inflata) extract, Triethnolamine (pH adjust), Citric acid (pH adjust)

IV) Acne Cleansing Bar ($7.95): "Demand for a product to treat truncal acne has resulted in the formulation of a 10% benzoyl peroxide bar soap to treat chest, back, shoulder and buttock acne.  The team at Ermis Labs has created another product that combines the best of proven ingredients to treat acne."

Key Ingredients, and the reason they were chosen:
1) 10% Benzoyl Peroxide: There is nothing better at killing bacteria than benzoyl peroxide.
2) Coconut Oil: A natural product found in coconut oil is lauricacid. Lauric Acid (which is also found naturally in mothers’ milk) is a nutrient that supports the body’s normal functional response to bacteria and viruses.
3) Vitamin A: Vitamin A keeps skin and mucous membrane cells healthy. When membranes are healthy they stay moist and resistant to cell damage. The moistness inhibits bacteria and viruses from initiating infectious diseases on the surface of the skin.
4) Vitamin E: Vitamin E is vital in protecting skin cells from ultra violet light, pollution, drugs, and other elements that produce cell damaging free radicals.
5) Shea Butter: Shea Butter is instilled with superb moisturizing and healing capacities for the skin.  The application of Shea Butter has shown to help with eczema, acne blemishes, rashes dermatitis and other skin disorders.  It also includes wound-healing (anti-bacterial) properties to heal skin problems in a healthy, soothing way.

This little unassuming looking white bar soap really means business when it comes to taking down acne. Since I don't actually have acne, there are very few occasions that would warrant the use of a 10% Benzoyl Peroxide soap- however if you have acne you will be amazed by the efficacy of this product. This was created to fight Truncal Acne- which is acne that occurs on your body (i.e. chest, back, buttocks, shoulders etc.)- so I didn't really have the opportunity to try it in the way that it was intended. I did, however, try it directly on my pimples one time, and it was too much for my more delicate facial skin. I normally wouldn't have done that, but I wanted to see how well it worked- well, it is no friend of acne!

Acne Cleansing Bar Warnings, Directions and Ingredients:

Overall assessment: I think that this is a really nice line to treat acne, and I am very impressed by the fact that Coral Actives chose so many moisturizing ingredients in order to prevent the skin from drying out while waging war on acne. My pimples definitely ran for the hills screaming after using these products, and while I hope that I don't have to use them often, I will pull these product out to treat pimples as they pop up. However, of the four items reviewed- I will definitely continue to use Retinol Exfoliating Cleanser once or twice a week because I really like how well it works on my combination skin.

Available from Coral Actives.
PR Samples sent for consideration. All views expressed are categorically my own.

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