Helping People Achieve Clear Skin Since 2007

Helping People Achieve Clear Skin Since 2007

Dermalogica Reviews Expose The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

By Dr. Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC, Double board-certified dermatologist

Unlike many mainstream skin care brands, Dermalogica was built on the idea that truly effective skin care products must be free from ingredients that irritate the skin, like specially denatured (SD) alcohol, fragrances, and dyes. Because of its dedication to well-rounded products, we wanted to check out some Dermalogica products to see if they really live up to the hype created by the reviews. Specifically, we are taking a look at the Clearly Matte Kit, which is designed to “deep clean and purify skin, clear breakouts fast and hydrate and defend against harmful UV rays without clogging pores.”

Can it really do all that? 🤔 Follow us as we go through Dermalogica reviews, ingredient lists, and more to find out.

Can Dermalogica Skin Care Really Treat Acne?

Acne is a multifactorial condition, meaning it is caused by a variety of factors, and unless all of those factors are addressed, your acne isn’t going anywhere. So before trying out any new skin care products, you want to check to make sure that they are really able to clear your skin.

There are four basic issues that lead to acne:

  • Clogged pores
  • Excess oil production
  • Acne-causing bacteria
  • Inflammation

The ideal acne treatment addresses all four of these factors. You can see how Dermalogica Clearly Matte Kit measures up in all of these areas in the convenient chart below.

 
Dermalogica
Basic Kit
Exposed
Basic Kit
  • Removes Excess Oil Without Overdrying
    check
  • Unclogs Pores
    check
  • Reduces Inflammation
    check
    check
  • Kills Acne Bacteria
    check
  • Prevents Dryness and Irritation
    check
    check
  • Regulates Oil Production
    check
  • Clarifies and Balances Skin
    check
    check
  • Normalizes Skin
    check
    check
  • Prevents Future Breakouts
    check
    check
  • Number of Bottles
    3
    4
  • Price (60-Day Supply)
    $30
    $40
  • Guarantee
    30-day return policy with full refund.
    30-days on unopened bottles + 1-year performance guarantee. Read our Exposed Skin Care review for details.
Dermalogica
check
check
Removes Excess Oil Without Overdrying
check
check
Unclogs Pores
check
check
Reduces Inflammation
check
check
Kills Acne Bacteria
check
check
Prevents Dryness and Irritation
check
check
Regulates Oil Production
check
check
Clarifies and Balances Skin
check
check
Normalizes Skin
check
check
Prevents Future Breakouts
Number of Bottles
3
Price (60-Day Supply)
$30
Guarantee
30-day return policy with full refund.
Basic Kit
Exposed
Basic Kit
check
check
Removes Excess Oil Without Overdrying
check
check
Unclogs Pores
check
check
Reduces Inflammation
check
check
Kills Acne Bacteria
check
check
Prevents Dryness and Irritation
check
check
Regulates Oil Production
check
check
Clarifies and Balances Skin
check
check
Normalizes Skin
check
check
Prevents Future Breakouts
Number of Bottles
4
Price (60-Day Supply)
$40
Guarantee
30-days on unopened bottles + 1-year performance guarantee. Read our Exposed Skin Care review for details.

As you can see, these Dermalogica products really only solve one out of the four major acne problems.

They offer added benefits, like skin brightening and reduction in acne scars, but that isn’t actually all that helpful if you’re still getting consistent acne.

A Closer Look at Dermalogica Skin Care Product Formulas

It’s one thing for us to tell you that the Dermalogical Clearly Matte Kit doesn’t prevent excess oil production, unclog pores, or kill acne-causing bacteria, but we would never make you simply take our word for it. Instead, we’re going to break down the formulas of each product in the kit and explain why they work (and why they don’t).

Breakout Clearing Foaming Wash: This is the only product in the kit that has an active ingredient, which is salicylic acid, 0.5%. Generally, salicylic acid is a great ingredient for treating acne because it sinks into the pores and breaks up the excess oil and dead skin cells, which means it takes care of one of the four major causes of acne: clogged pores. However, the reason we say the Clearly Matte Kit can’t unclog pores is because the salicylic acid is in the face wash. Typically, you apply your face wash and then immediately rinse it off, which doesn’t actually give the salicylic acid enough time to do anything at all for your skin. On the plus side, it does contain several essential oils that are known to reduce inflammation, such as tea tree oil, lavender oil, and licorice root extract.

Breakout Clearing Booster: This Dermalogica product also contains salicylic acid, but because it isn’t listed as an active ingredient, the amount included is likely too small to truly make a difference when it comes to acne. For people with very sensitive or dry skin types, this could be an excellent treatment option for you, but if you have moderate to severe acne, it is unlikely to make much of a difference in your skin. If you’re looking for a product to use to brighten your skin and reduce scars left behind by acne, this could be an excellent product. It contains niacinamide and orange peel oil, both of which are known to even out skin tone and reduce hyperpigmentation.

Clearing Defense SPF 30 Mattifying Moisturizer: A lot of people with acne skip the moisturizing step for fear of clogging their pores, but in reality, moisturizing is one of the best ways to help prevent acne. Dry skin can lead to irritation and inflammation, and inflammation is one of the primary causes of acne. If you keep your skin well-moisturized, you can actually prevent a lot of acne from forming in the first place. This moisturizer in particular is an excellent choice for acne-prone skin. It contains willow bark extract, which is derived from the same plant as salicylic acid, plus more orange peel oil for brightening and natural tapioca to help prevent shininess.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, Special Cleansing Gel, and Skin Smoothing Cream

We wanted to write a piece that reviews the Dermalogica Clearly Matte Kit because it is their main acne treatment kit, but there are some other wildly popular Dermalogica skin care products we want to review as well. Specifically, we want to take a look at the Daily Microfoliant, the Special Cleansing Gel, and the Skin Smoothing Cream and see if they live up to the Dermalogica reviews.

Daily Microfoliant: The Daily Microfoliant is a loose, rice-based powder that you mix with water to physically exfoliate your skin. Physical exfoliation is when you use a rough substance (like rice powder) to physically remove oil and dead skin cells. The trouble is, physical exfoliants tend to cause a lot of irritation and inflammation, which can actually lead to more acne. That’s our biggest worry with the Daily Microfoliant, so we don’t highly recommend it.

Special Cleansing Gel: This product is essentially a face wash, and we actually think it should work very well based on its formula and ingredients. It’s a foaming cleanser, which we usually recommend avoiding because the chemicals that encourage foaming can cause irritation, but this Special Cleansing Gel is special because it uses an all-natural foaming agent called Quillaja Saponaria.

Skin Smoothing Cream: If you have seriously dry skin, then this intense moisturizer could be the right product for you. It contains aloe vera extract, cucumber extract, and plenty of other hydrating ingredients that actually help your skin retain water to leave your skin feeling hydrated for days. But if your skin is sensitive, be cautious. This cream has a long list of ingredients, which means it’s far more likely to irritate sensitive skin.

What Real Dermalogica Reviews Have to Say

Before you decide to use a new acne treatment product, we always recommend checking out its 1-star reviews. If there are some common problems that could affect your skin type, it’s good to know before buying the product, and 1-star reviews are often more reliable than 5-star reviews, which can be easily manipulated by large companies. But it can be a lot of work to scour all the different reviews on all the different sites, so we’ve done all that hard work for you. Follow us through three of the biggest issues with the Clearly Matte Kit based on ten 1-star Dermalogica reviews from Acne.org and Dermalogica’s website, and read three real Dermalogica reviews that show the problems with the kit.

The biggest issue among Dermalogica reviews seems to be that this kit actually causes additional breakouts for many people.

 
60%
Caused more acne
50%
Caused excessively dry skin
20%
No results at all

6 out of 10 reviews said that after using the products in this kit, they noticed more acne, not less. The next biggest problem in the reviews was excessively dry skin. Dryness leads to irritation, which causes inflammation, which causes acne, so this is obviously a pretty big problem. 5 out of 10 reviews mentioned serious dryness after using these products, and one Dermalogica review said it actually caused allergic dermatitis. Finally, some people who left reviews didn’t notice any extra acne or dry skin, but they didn’t notice anything positive changes either. For 2 out of 10 reviewers, the Dermalogica Clearly Matte Kit simply did nothing at all.

Not Great
one star rating 1 out of 5 stars

I was struggling with break outs and unevenness on my forehead but since using this they have only got worse and the spots have spread to my cheeks. Not sure what to do!

Terrible
one star rating 1 out of 5 stars

The product is terrible, i was expecting it to be amazing because of the price, but it burnt my skin and made it very dry. At the minute i can not even wear makeup as my skin is so dry. i only have it one star because you can’t give it none.

Didn’t Work For Me
one star rating 1 out of 5 stars

made skin soft. didnt work for me i think this product is great for balancing ph levels it made my skin ultra soft like never before. however my mild acne became much worse and whet to moderate. these products werent for me.

Can You Trust Dermalogica As a Company?

We looked into Dermalogica’s company ownership, customer service, and return policy, and we found a few good things, like a very cool skin analysis tool on their website, but we also found a few things that concerned us. Follow us as we explore Dermalogica’s corporate policies that might negatively impact your experience.

Ethical Consumer research highlights several ethical issues…

Dermalogica was founded in 1982 by skin therapist Jane Wurwand in an attempt to create skin care without all the harmful ingredients that bothered her own skin, like alcohol and fragrances. That sounds really great, but in 2013, they became a subsidiary of Unilever, a massive multinational company that manufactures everything from Breyer’s ice cream 🍦 to Lux fragrances . Under this new company, their high-quality skin care priorities may have changed.

Another area of concern is Dermalogica’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation. Namely, the fact that they aren’t accredited. When a company that’s been around for nearly 40 years isn’t accredited by the BBB, that raises a major red flag.

The BBB is a great organization to help consumers identify shady business practices, so by not being accredited, we worry that Dermalogica may not have the best customer service.

Case in point: Dermalogica’s return policy. The Dermalogica return policy is acceptable, but not great. For up to 30 days after your purchase, you can return your Dermalogica products for a full refund. However, because the return policy is based on the date of purchase, if it takes 15 days to ship to you, then you really only have 15 days to test it out and see if you want to return it.

How to Really Get Rid of Acne

Based on our research into reviews of Dermalogica and the formulas of their products, it seems like their products are generally good for the skin, but not necessarily good for treating acne specifically. So what should you use instead?

Our top recommendation is Exposed Skin Care. Each of their products contains a combination of scientific and natural active ingredients that fight all four primary causes of acne and take excellent care of your skin.

Best of all, these products are guaranteed to work. Exposed believes in their products so much that if you use them and find that your skin isn’t as clear as you want it to be they will give you a full refund for the first full year after your purchase.

FAQ

  1. Is Dermalogica a good product? Dermalogica actually makes all kinds of products. Some are good, others are bad. The best way to tell the difference is to check out the reviews, especially reviews written by people with your skin type.
  2. What is the best Dermalogica product? The best Dermalogica product really depends on your skin type. To find the best Dermalogica product to use for your skin, check out the reviews and try out the skin analysis tool on Dermalogica’s website.
  3. How long does it take for Dermalogica to work? Because Dermalogica uses gentle ingredients to avoid irritating your skin, it may take longer for their products to get rid of your acne. Be patient, give it at least 6 weeks of consistent use before moving on to a different product.
  4. Is Dermalogica safe to use? Based on our research into the reviews and formulas of Dermalogica skin care products, we’d say that all of their products are very safe to use.
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