I have tried it all. I mean ALL. I had flawless skin my entire childhood and nearly through my teens. I started having acne problems around the time I became a sophomore in college. Great. I think I would rather I had suffered from acne in my teens than in college. Nothing I tried worked. I went from dermatologist to dermatologist and nothing worked. Some things worked for a bit, most things dried my skin out like crazy, and others made my skin even oilier. I wouldn’t say I have oily skin and I wouldn’t say it’s dry either. I tried diet changes, I tried not wearing makeup, I tried wearing more makeup, I took every over the counter cream, every oral antibiotic, and even… Accutane. Accutane, guys. You know, the medication that has too many lawsuits against it to count? Sure, it promises that if you take it for a few months you’ll never experience acne again. That worked for a hot minute, then bam. Back to my normal breakouts.
I had given up all hope and just tried random face washes and topical creams suggested by friends to no avail. I switched makeup brands now and then and just accepted my fate. After having kids my skin is all over the place, so every now and then I try different products to see if a miracle will happen. Here are my reviews of the Dermalogica MediBac and Rodan + Fields Unblemish lines.
Expensive? You bet. I sprung for the kit and bought it at Ulta without a discount ($40 and usually a free gift is given online). I shopped around a bit and found that the full trial kit is about the same no matter where it is purchased.
It is typical to wait a period of 4-6 weeks to determine if a product is working on adult (30-something) skin. I used the products for around 2 1/2 months or so. Here are some things I liked about this system:
- My skin felt extremely clean after cleansing-very smooth, not oily, but it didn’t seem excessively dry as it does with some other systems.
- This system uses salicylic acid, so it won’t stain clothes or towels (oh, the horror of benzoyl peroxide…).
- It is targeted toward adult acne. Unlike most systems, this is formulated for ADULTS. Adults get… wrinkles. Other systems don’t really take that into consideration. This system does.
- I liked that this had a night clearing lotion as well as a lotion formulated for day. The night clearing lotion was targeted toward fighting acne while the day seemed more important to keep my skin moisturized.
- There weren’t a million steps-just wash, put on a lotion. It did come with a mask that they suggest using every few days, which I did like. It was the first mask that I felt actually did anything for my skin. It felt smoother, my pores felt smaller, and my skin didn’t feel completely dried out like it can sometimes.
- Price. Each tiny bottle of this stuff runs around $50. I did however manage to purchase from Target online at a discount (thanks, gift cards from diaper purchases!!!) as well as a discounted price from Nordstrom thanks to Nordstrom Note rewards.
- The moisturizer doesn’t contain an SPF. I felt this was rather odd since this system targets adult acne problems. Most adult systems contain an SPF moisturizer to combat and prevent signs of aging.
- It didn’t eliminate the core problem I was having: acne. The system began strong, so I purchased full versions of each item in the system (ouch… that was a mistake). This was so disappointing when my acne started to return after around 8-9 weeks.
- It didn’t seem to reduce old acne marks or redness, which was a major reason I purchased an adult acne kit. For some reason I now have more red pigmentation in my cheeks than I used to. This product seemed to increase this problem.
Overall this system made my skin feel great, but it didn’t fix the problem: acne. It seemed to for a while, but then kind of went in reverse, which is what always seems to happen. After purchasing each pricey item, it all quit working. Talk about disappointing. Reluctantly, I moved on to Rodan + Fields.
Ugggghhhhh… you guys. Believe me when I say I did NOT want to have to resort to this. Why? I want to walk into a store (ok… really I want to just go on Amazon, but you get the point…), grab whatever product I need, and go, WHEN and WHERE I choose. So, naturally, I went to Amazon. Alright, Amazon is charging $190-something for this crap. NEXT!
Ebay. Ebay! I forgot about Ebay! Found the entire kit brand new, sealed and in its original sealed box for $125-woo hoo! Yeah… I know, that’s a discount… insane, huh?
My Unblemish Routine
I modified the Unblemish routine a bit for various reasons. First of all, the system says to use it once a day until you know how it will affect your skin. I have a fairly greasy T-zone, but the rest of my face tends to dry out very, very easily (especially in the winter months). I figured I might be sticking to the once-a-day instructions for this system since benzoyl peroxide can be very drying for skin.
Using the system once daily seemed to work nicely with some dryness, so that’s what I went with. Here is the routine I’ve been using for the past few months:
In the morning I wash my face with Cetaphil daily cleanser. This is a mild cleanser and I figure since I’m not wearing makeup at night it is sufficient to eliminate any oil my face has produced overnight.
Next I apply the Unblemish system’s Step 4 moisturizer with SPF 20. This moisturizer is very light and helps to repel harmful UV rays while keeping your face matte. Overall it is a pretty good moisturizer, but I wish they provided the kit with a larger size, especially since all of the other products in the system are significantly larger.
I use almost the full Unblemish line nightly. First, I remove any makeup I’ve been wearing that day with Garnier Micellar water. This product definitely won’t remove any stubborn waterproof makeup, but I’ve found it useful to help get any daily makeup off before washing my face.
Next, I wash my face with the Unblemish Step 1 sulfur wash for at least one minute. I’ve read that the longer you leave a sulfur product on your face, the better the results. A full minute is about as patient as I get, which probably isn’t a good thing.
After the sulfur wash, I apply the Step 2 toner. This is basically like any other toner and I apply it with a cotton round.
Next, the Unblemish Step 3 is a dual pump with what seems to be a benzoyl peroxide product that you mix with a moisturizer. Since this step contains a moisturizer and I won’t need an SPF product at night I omit the Unblemish Step 4 from my nightly routine.
Lastly, I finish with the anti-aging eye cream that I also use in my morning routine.
- My skin feels much smoother and seems to have a more even skin tone.
- My acne seemed to decrease around my forehead area. However, I did seem to start getting breakouts on my upper neck, but it resolved itself within a few days when before any breakouts I had would last for at least a week.
- Because the products are so expensive I FORCED myself to be extremely consistent. This has also seemed to help my skin improve.
- I love the convenience of just having a few different steps to the system that are very consistent.
- I was able to make the product last much longer than the 60 day claim (score for my wallet!) because I only used the system at night and the moisturizer in the morning.
- It seemed to diminish any fine lines I was beginning to get, which was a very unexpected benefit.
- Consultants. I repeat, CONSULTANTS. If you love being a consultant and love your product, awesome-you do you, boo boo, but count me out. I don’t want to have to go through a consultant EVERY DANG TIME I have to order something. I’m I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T do you know what that mean, man? Now I got the song stuck in your head, didn’t I? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, climb out from under your rock… here you go… you’re welcome.
- This stuff is EXPENSIVE. I mean insanely expensive.
- The sulfur wash smells. Horribly. It makes your face smell like a stink bomb kids used to break in class in elementary school.
- Benzoyl peroxide stains (bleaches) clothing, towels, and pillowcases. BUT… I actually haven’t noticed it staining anything, which is odd.
- It does dry my skin out a little, but moisturizers work fine to combat a little dryness. We’ll see how I hold up through the dry winter months. My guess is I’ll need a little more help in the moisturizing department.
- The one component I was looking forward to the most was a TINY trial size. Yep… the moisturizer with SPF was tiny. I guess I could always purchase a similar moisturizer, but if I’m going to commit to something I would like to be consistent and use all of the products, since I’m guessing they work together best. On the bright side I have found that you can purchase Step 4 on eBay and there seem to be fairly good prices whenever I check.
As much as I hate to admit it, I think the Rodan + Fields Unblemish system is the ultimate winner. I started the system in August and it is now November and I’m still not out of product, which is fantastic. I do only use the products at night, so I know this has contributed to the longevity of the system. My skin has never felt smoother or more primed for makeup application without being flaky, oily, or uneven. It hasn’t completely eliminated my acne, but at this point I’m not expecting any product or system to do so. I think it’s probably a mixture of genetics, a hectic lifestyle, and stress all rolled into one. I think these products overall control major breakouts and make the best of acne marked and aging skin. For now I’m sticking with the Unblemish system and will be finding ways of purchasing the kit from eBay or Amazon. Yes, I know… I’ve heard all of the horror stories about why I shouldn’t purchase beauty products from such places, but I’m taking my chances. The first kit I purchased from eBay was sealed in the box, not expired or close to expiration, and was the real deal, so I’ll take my chances. Hope my honest reviews helped you choose what to purchase so you don’t have to waste money to find something that works great for your needs!