Tried and tested: Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Breakout Control Treatments

A two-prong attack on adult acne


By Cai Mei Khoo

Tried and tested: Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Breakout Control Treatments

We’ve gone through painful teenage years where, if you were unlucky, ran a pimple plantation, while the more fortunate ones among us got away with the occasional breakout. As grown-ups, though, adult acne continues to be a point of concern—in the US, it is one of the most common skin issues, affecting more than 40 million people, and on social media, it is the number one most referred to skin concern worldwide.


More common amongst women, acne is generally caused by four common factors: hormonal imbalances, blockage of sebum flowing through the skin, bacteria and inflammation. Harnessing a natural yet powerful ingredient to combat acne, Kiehl’s introduces the Dermatologist Solutions Breakout Control Targeted Blemish Spot Treatment, and the Blemish Treatment Facial Lotion, two products that when used together, have been proven to be highly effective in treating acne. “It’s a two-step regimen,” says Cammie Cannella, Vice President of Global Education at Kiehl’s. “One to be used regularly and all over the face to help prevent breakouts, while the spot treatment is just to target the acne spots. You may not need to use both but if you have problems with acne, then the two products combined will be very effective for you.”


The key ingredient in the Targeted Blemish Spot Treatment is sulphur, an acne-fighting active with a maximum over-the-counter usage level of 10%. “Sulphur has been used for thousands of years in skincare but only in the last forty or fifty years has it been studied more for acne,” says Dr. Geoff Genesky, Head of Kiehl’s skincare laboratory. “It’s a natural product with antiseptic properties and has excellent tolerance profile compared to other products used for acne. If you put it on acne, it helps to open up that surface layer and allow sebum to flow to the surface.”


“When we dug in a bit deeper, it was the perfect ingredient for adult acne. Adults with acne don’t necessarily have super oily skin; they could also have sensitive skin. Adults generally have drier, more sensitive skin than adolescents. Sulphur is quite gentle so it was the ideal ingredient for that purpose.”


If it’s the scent of rotting eggs that you’re worried about, Kiehl’s has that covered. “We were able to optimise the formula to avoid any odour associated with sulphur and to ensure that it absorbs quickly to act fast on the skin. We also utilised Vitamin B3 in order to soothe skin and help to prevent it from feeling oily,” shares Genesky.


In a clinical study on 50 men and women between the ages of 18-50, all with mild to moderate acne, Kiehl’s Targeted Blemish Spot Treatment showed promising results “We tracked their acne lesions for over the course of one week and saw a dramatic improvement in just one day,” reveals Helen Sung, Kiehl’s Assistant Vice President of Product Development. “The acne lesions showed swift reductions in their diameter, height, and redness.”


With these positive clinical results, Team Buro decided to put the Breakout Control Treatments to the test, with our writer, Tan Su Fen, trying out both products for a month.


Tan Su Fen, Writer:

Last year was not a good year for my skin, to say the least. What started out as localised breakouts took a turn for the worse, and I was left to deal with acne. I have rather sensitive skin so I’m usually quite cautious when it comes to trying new beauty products but fortunately, both the Breakout Control Blemish Treatment Facial Lotion and Breakout Control Targeted Blemish Spot Treatment didn’t trigger any adverse reactions when I incorporated them into my existing skincare routine.


The Targeted Blemish Spot Treatment is recommended as the first of the two products to be used on the face and I use it sparingly, and only once a day, when needed. Instructions say that it can be used up to two to three times daily, but I find that its tinted, slightly grainy texture leaves a visible residue, so I try to avoid using it during the day. On the bright side, I noticed that it works in diminishing the occasional cystic blemish.


I use the Breakout Control Blemish Treatment Facial Lotion twice a day, in the morning and evening, after toning and before moisturising. I found that it really helped to calm my skin while improving its texture. I like that the lotion is lightweight and is quickly absorbed. It also worked in controlling oil production of my skin; I noticed less shine on my face during the day. With this in my skincare arsenal, my skin feels like it’s on the right track: it’s softer, healthier, and less angry. In fact, after a month’s use, I think I’ve found a keeper in the facial treatment lotion.


Keen on trying out Kiehl’s Breakout Control Treatments for yourself? Click here and here to buy now. 

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