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Visibly Clear For Acne Review

The Visibly Clear Acne-Prone Skin System promises a simple, drug-free, botanical-based skin care system that will get rid of blemishes in days. But does Visibly Clear really work?

Visibly Clear by Neutrogena
Many of the botanical ingredients in Visibly Clear products can irritate the skin.


  • The Visibly Clear Acne-Prone System promises plant-based remedies for acne that will get rid of blemishes in just days.
  • Unfortunately, there are serious problems with all of their products.
  • Many Visibly Clear products are mislabeled.
  • Most Visibly Clear products contain botanical ingredients that can irritate your skin.
  • The Visibly Clear skin peels do not contain actual salicylic acid. They contain willow bark, which provides fibers that rub your skin, not salicylic acid that loosens dead skin.
  • The oil-free moisturizer is made with shark liver oil.
  • For acne treatment kits that cost 50% less and that come with a one-year, money-back guarantee, buy Exposed Skin Care.

A System For Different Skin Types

Visibly Clear offers five different packages of products for five different acne types. There is a treatment system for mild to moderate acne, and a treatment system for moderate to severe acne. There are packages for normal, dry, and dehydrated skin. Here is how the products differ.

Visibly Clear Acne-Prone Skin System for Mild to Moderate Acne offers a pore clearing cleanser, a pore-purifying astringent, a clear skin ultra gel, a BHA/enzyme surface peel, and a zinc and sulfur mask. The pore clearing cleanser uses yucca and chickweed for its “soap” and combines them with willow bark and tea tree oil. The pore-purifying astringent offers BHA it claims comes from sugar cane and fruit extracts (actually these are AHAs), green tea, echinacea, tea tree oil, and willow bark. The clear skin ultra gel is supposed to be “pure glycolic acid” attached to an amino acid. The BHA/enzyme surface peel claims to contain pomegranate and pumpkin enzymes with sea whip, also used to clear up ocean oil spills. The zinc and sulfur masque also contains titanium dioxide and witch hazel extract. These five products retail separately for a total of $162.75 and are offered as a package deal for $140.

Visibly Clear Acne-Prone Skin System for Moderate to Severe Acne offers all of these products plus a AHA/BHA Cleansing Mousse with both lactic acid and glycolic acid (both of which are AHAs) plus tea tree oil (listed by its botanical name, Leptospermum scoparium) and 4-terpineol, which is added to deliver “broad-spectrum inhibition of hostile skin flora without irritation or allergens associated with pure Tea Tree oil” which begs the question of why the product also contains pure tea tree oil—although under a different name. It also offers a “Clear Skin Ultra Gel” for “skin that has not previously been able to withstand lactic or glycolic acid,” which are included in another product in the kit. These products are available separately for $285.65 or as a package deal for $190.

The Visibly Moist Dry Skin system starts with a Moisture Protecting Cleansing lotion that contains “rose” oil (that turns out to be evening primrose oil, which is not pressed from roses) and jojoba and kukui nut oil. There is a Continuous Moisture Cream that contains rosemary oil, said to increase barrier lipid product by 450% in five days, and sodium hyalouronate, which is said to hold 1,000 times its weight in water on the skin1. Not all of the products are available separately, but they retail together for $105. There are also systems for treating “very dry” and “dehydrated” skin that add a vitamin B5 cream to a package retailing for $140. The package for “dehydrated skin,” however, is the same as the package for moderate to severe acne. The “acne” package sells for $140 but when the products are sold for “dehydrated skin,” they cost $190.

Problems With Visibly Clear

If a formulator of natural skin care products was asked “What ingredients are consumers willing to pay more for?” and then told to put all of them in a bottle, the result would be something like these Visibly Clear products. Here are the major problems with formulas.

  • The makers of the product don’t seem to know the difference2 between alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which are more commonly used on dry skin, and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), which are more commonly used on oily skin. They label substances that are AHAs as BHAs and vice versa.
  • Salicylic acid is a BHA, but “willow bark” is not. Willow bark removes dead skin by rubbing it off, possibly taking healthy skin along with it. Salicylic acid dissolves the glue between dead skin cells3 and relieves irritation.
  • 30% glycolic acid is used to dissolve warts. Pure glycolic acid would dissolve skin. However, the product has a pH of 5.9, so it won’t dissolve anything.
  • The titanium dioxide in the facial mask will stain black skin purple.
  • The kit for moderate to severe acne contains both a tea tree oil distillate—added because pure tea tree oil supposedly would be too strong—and pure tea tree oil.
  • The kit for moderate to severe acne contains two face peels. One is made with lactic and glycolic acid (mislabeled as BHAs, even if they are both AHAs4), and the second is designed to be sued by people who suffers burns after they use the first.
  • Jojoba oil can increase the formation of blackheads on oily skin.
  • Evening primrose oil does not come from a rose, and it is not used on the skin. It’s taken as a supplement.
  • Rosemary oil does not increase “barrier lipid” production. It increases sebum production in pores—although the 450% figure is correct.
  • Hyalouronic acid does not absorb 1,000 times its weight in water—and your face would look really odd if it did.

Visibly clear also makes a Shine Free Solution, a Solar Defender, and an Oil Free Hydrating Fluid. Many of the ingredients on the label for the Oil Free Hydrating Fluid are misspelled, but one ingredient is squalene, which is extract from shark liver oil5.

The most charitable assessment about these formulas is that they were probably created by someone who had no idea he or she had no idea of what the ingredients in skin care formulas do. They are full of misidentified ingredients, and they are full of ingredients that can irritate and dry out the skin. Not every ingredient that is “natural” is good for your skin!

Even worse, these potentially harmful products are sold by spas that do not offer money-back guarantees. They take your money, and leave you to find the product is worthless, or worse than worthless.

Don’t waste your money on Visibly Clear acne systems. Try a more reliable product with a money-back guarantee like Exposed Skin Care.


  1. John H.E., Price R.D. Perspectives in the selection of hyaluronic acid fillers for facial wrinkles and aging skin. Patient Preference and Adherences. 2009;3:225-230.
  2. Moghimipour E. Hydroxy acids, the most widely used anti-aging agents. Jundishapur Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products. 2012;7(1):9-10.
  3. Arif T. Salicylic acid as a peeling agent: A comprehensive review. Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology. 2015;8:445-461.
  4. Smith W.P. Comparative effectiveness of alpha-hydroxy acids on skin properties. International Journal of Cosmetic Science. 1996;18(2):75-83.
  5. Popa O., Băbeanu N.E., Popa I., Niță S. Dinu-Pârvu C.E. Methods for obtaining and determination of squalene from natural sources. BioMed Research International. 2015.
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