It wasn't until college that I experienced shower envy—aka the feeling of jealousy a person with body acne experiences upon seeing other people's fun, trendy body-care products. While my roommates picked out their body washes based on scent alone, I'd have no choice but to select the clinical-looking ones that declared their pimple-clearing purpose in BIG letters (would it kill them to make it a little less noticeable?). I'd inevitably try to hide my boring body wash in the back of our shared shower—until now.
Enter: Isle of Paradise's two new body care lines—one to clear skin and one to brighten—that break all of the usual body-acne care product stereotypes (i.e. they smell good, look cute, and they work). The brand is already my holy grail self-tanner for sensitive skin, so needless to say, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the Confidently Clear polish, cleanser, and moisturizer.
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What causes body acne?
Let's back up for a second—what causes is body acne? "Just like facial acne, the main causes of body acne are genetics and hormones," board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, FAAD, says. "Stress can play a part as well and for some people, diet may make a difference too—particularly foods with a high glycemic index and some dairy products. ...Comedogenic topical products and occlusive clothing—particularly over sweaty or oily skin—can also contribute."
So basically my two favorite things (hot yoga and cheese) are most likely contributing to my body acne—but even if I cut both of them out (which I wouldn't do—I love cheese too much) my genes are likely the most influential factor, according to Dr. King.
How the body-acne care products work
It's clear (no pun intended) that a lot of thought went into which active ingredients to use in each line, because (spoiler) they're actually effective. The Confidently Clear line is made with a blend of lactic, salicylic, and polyglutamic acids, which are proven to reduce the appearance of dry, rough bumps and texture to reveal healthier-looking, clearer skin.
Dr. King notes that, in particular, salicylic and lactic acids are great ingredients to look for when shopping for body-acne care products. "Salicylic acid is an excellent pore-clearing ingredient because it exfoliates the surface of the skin and penetrates into pores to remove oil, [which] helps to prevent pores from becoming clogged and can help remove clogs that have already formed," Dr. King says. "AHAs [like lactic acid] dissolve the bonds that hold dull, dead skin cells on the skin's surface, so the skin will gently shed, revealing smoother, brighter skin underneath."
Meanwhile, the Brilliantly Bright line is formulated with vitamin C, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, which work together to hydrate and brighten dull skin. "Vitamin C is an essential part of skin health, both as an antioxidant and as a critical factor for collagen synthesis," Dr. King says. "And it helps to brighten the skin and prevent and fade dark spots that result from UV radiation."
The formula gets a double whammy of brightening benefits from niacinamide, which Dr. King refers to as a multi-tasking ingredient: It simultaneously helps with oil regulation, brightening, reducing redness, hyperpigmentation, and acne, while also improving the skin's tone and texture.
My review of the Confidently Clear line
When the Isle of Paradise body-acne care products arrived, I instantly loved the pretty bottles that looked like they'd been pulled straight from the aesthetic shower scene of my dreams. Then, I obviously had to give them all a sniff.
The Confidently Clear line smells softly sweet, almost like buttercream, with notes of orange and jasmine that makes it feel decadent to use. Usually I find myself rushing in and out of the shower so I can get on with my day, but the sweet-smelling products had me stopping to smell the flowers (figuratively speaking). Instead of another chore, showering became more of a self-care practice.
But I'll admit it—the scents made me a little nervous that the products would cause a flare-up, as my skin historically hasn't responded well to scented products. But based on the brand's promise that the formulas had nailed the combo of luxurious and effective, I decided to give them a shot—especially since they use less than one percent of synthetic fragrance (like all Clean at Sephora products) making it gentle enough for sensitive skin. Added bonus? All the fragrances used by Isle of Paradise are sustainably and ethically sourced.
While I only exfoliate about two times a week (always the day before I self-tan with my Isle of Paradise drops, of course), I was surprised by how gentle the scrub felt on my skin—and it still *really* exfoliated my legs, better than any other exfoliator I've used before TBH. And when followed by the delicious-smelling cleanser, frankly I was in heaven. The whole experience felt full-circle with the matching moisturizer to use after each shower, and my skin has been feeling so soft.
To my shock and delight, the products also did not cause a breakout on my chest and shoulders—instead, my skin cleared up, despite my daily hot yoga classes (and, you know, cheese) while also making my skin literally glow. These results really should not have come as a surprise—92 percent of the Confidently Clear body cleanser users felt their skin was smoother and 90 percent of the Brilliantly Bright users agreed that their dull, dry skin was brighter with a more even tone after a week of using the products, according to the Isle of Paradise body care consumer study.
Count me among the 92 percent, because after a few weeks of using the products, I've been experiencing all of the above, and have been loving the way they've turned my shower routine into a delightful sensory experience. Shower envy, who?
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