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ShopSmart Uncovers the Unblemished Truth about Adult Acne

Discovers Best Acne Treatments Might Not be the Priciest

ShopSmart MagazineYonkers, NY – Acne is not just a problem for adolescents – about 26 percent of women and 12 percent of men in their 40s report having acne, and treatment can be expensive.  The December 2011 issue of ShopSmart magazine, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, took a look at some popular treatments and found that they all had an effect, but the biggest difference among them was the price tag.

“Millions of Americans deal with acne on a daily basis,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart.  “We went out and tested lotions, washes, and even gadgets to find out what options exist, and were pleased to find that even inexpensive options can help.”

Here are the zit fighters that ShopSmart tested:

Lotions & Washes

Benzoyl peroxide topical treatments are some of the best over-the-counter options for most people.  Proactiv, promoted in ads with stars like Katy Perry and Justin Bieber, and AcneFree both claim to be the top brand.  We tested those three-part systems against Oxy Maximum, an inexpensive benzoyl perozide wash, and found they all work about the same.  None got rid of acne completely, but they all reduced blemish counts on many faces by about 40 percent.

Oxy Maximum
Price: $5.00 for 6 oz (lasts about two to three months)
What it includes: A face wash with 10 percent benzoyl peroxide.  One caution: It might cause some irritation on sensitive skin.
Where to get it: Drugstores, discount retailers, online

Price: $20.00 per kit (lasts about a month)
What it includes: A wash and a repair lotion, each with 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide, and a toner.
Where to get it: Proactiv.com and mall kiosks

Price: $20.00 per kit (lasts about two months)
What it includes: A wash containing 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide, a repair lotion containing 3.7 percent benzoyl peroxide, and a toner.
Where to get it: Drugstores and discount retailers


The Zeno Hot Spot and the No! No! Skin devices claim to reduce or completely eliminate red, inflamed acne blemishes using heat and/or light, but they aren’t designed for whiteheads and blackheads.  We had 26 volunteers test each device on a few blemishes on one side of their face for two days.  Both devices were somewhat effective at reducing the size of acne lesions but erased only about 13% of blemishes.  A zapper may be a good last-minute fix, but it isn’t cheap.

Zeno Hot Spot
Price: $40.00 for 80 uses
Best for: People who need to clear blemishes only once in a while.  If you don’t have a lot of blemishes to zap, there’s no need to spend more.
Where to get it: Drugstores, discount retailers, online

No! No! Skin
Price: $180.00
Best for: People who have frequent outbreaks.  This pricey model may actually save you money over the long run because it’s rechargeable.
Where to get it: Neiman Marcus, HSN.com, online

About Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization.  Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually.  Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications.  Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

About ShopSmart Magazine

Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon the publication’s celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. ShopSmart features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. It’s ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at www.ShopSmartmag.org.


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