Choosing a moisturizer if you have adult acne might be the most confusing shopping trip ever. Not only are you dealing with a skin-care concern that may be increasingly common to women in their 20s and 30s but feels annoyingly adolescent, everything looks like a potential pore-clogger or an invitation to further eruptions. (Or is made for the Stridex-using teenager.) It can make you not want to deal with moisturizers altogether.
That’s probably why REN, a natural brand based in the UK, calls its new product a “fluid” and not a moisturizer, which evokes fewer oil slicks, at least to my mind.
It’s not just marketing. ClearCalm 3 Anti-Blemish Day Fluid uses hyaluronic acid, a super light hydrator that draws moisture rather than heaping it on, plus a handful of helpful (yet non-toxic) ingredients that keep grown-ups’ pimple-prone skin composed.
The most important one is salix nigra or black willow bark, which is a source of pore-penetrating salicin. It can dissolve proteins over time, loosening the debris that makes whiteheads and blackheads.
Willow bark is also an anti-inflammatory—and those angry red pustules are indeed inflamed—so it’s a two-birds, one-stone ingredient.
Playing backup is zinc gluconate, a common nutritional supplement used to fight acne, which when used on your skin minimizes surface sheen (immediately) and works as a calming agent. Why is this crucial for adults? Most signs of aging, from redness and wrinkles to lack of firmness, start with inflammation.
REN really seems to get what’s often a missing tenet of acne products: Calming skin down is just as crucial as clearing it up. In fact, it’s part of the process. —Melisse Gelula
REN ClearCalm 3 Anti-Blemish Day Fluid costs $40 and is part of a four-piece skin-care line, which includes a cleanser, night fluid, and sulfur treatment mask. Right now, it’s sold only at Sephora.com