Product Review: Avon Clearskin Professional Acne System

Skin Care

It’s a new year, and people always love a fresh start.  So what about a fresh face? Avon Clearskin Professional Acne System ($34.00, is Avon’s leading acne system, featuring a Deep Pore Cleansing Scrub (4.2 oz), Clarifying Toner Pads (45 pads), and Daily Correcting Lotion for under $40.  Not a bad deal!

The primary ingredients in the system are salicyclic acid, glycolic acid, and zinc hexapeptide-11.  Salicyclic acid, also known as beta-hydroxy acid, has long been known to thoroughly cleanse and exfoliate the skin.  In addition, salicyclic acid may be a superb anti-acne treatment for those with darker skin types: Although The New England Journal of Medicine reports that retinoids are the first choice for acne vulgaris, followed second by salicyclic acid, salicyclic acid has been shown in this study from Dermatologic Surgery to be safe and effective for patients with darker skin types, which is not necessarily the case with retinoids.  In fact, many physicians hesitate to recommend retinoids for darker skin due to the increased possibility of irritant contact dermatitis and poor compliance (Dermatologic Therapy, 2004).  Lastly, it is of note that Avon Clearskin Professional Acne System contains salicyclic acid but no benzoyl peroxide, and according to this sole study, patients suffering from acne treated with salicyclic acid alone may generate better results than those treated with benzoyl peroxide alone.

The second primary ingredient, glycolic acid, is an alpha-hydroxy acid.  Touted often for its anti-aging properties, glycolic acid increases the rate of cell turnover in patients, causing skin to be regenerated faster.  As a result, numerous studies have shown that glycolic acid is effective treatment against acne, including this 1995 study in The Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology amongst 32 Caucasian patients, and this 1997 study in Dermatologic Surgery amongst 40 Asian patients.  The only disadvantage in the Avon Clearskin Professional Acne System is that the concentration of glycolic acid is not specified, and most studies use a concentration of at least 10% glycolic acid for efficacy.

The last primary ingredient, zinc hexapeptide-11, has little scientific documentation verifying its efficacy.  Although Avon claims that zinc hexapeptide-11 “helps control oil,” this has not been established in an independent, peer-reviewed, published scientific study to date.  (Although, as always, if you are aware of one that I may have missed, please let me know and I’ll be sure to post it!)

After three weeks of using the system, a close friend of mine says, “It feels minty on the skin…My skin feels really clean and fresh afterwards…I also feel as though I am breaking out less.”   Always a wonderful thing.

As a result, I would say that this system is worth a try, primarily due to the salicyclic acid and glycolic acid.  The system can further be improved upon by using an oil-free sunscreen with it during the day, and applying an on-the-spot 10% benzoyl peroxide treatment on comedones/pimples/blemishes only.  I say on-the-spot only for benzoyl peroxide because benzoyl peroxide has been found by Nacht et. al. to trigger free radical formation (i.e., it kills bacteria by generating reactive oxygen species in the sebaceous follicle), and free radical formation has been linked to premature aging (and just about everything else under the sun).  Overall, though, even on its own, I think Avon Clearskin Professional Acne System is worth a try.   I give it a solid 8/10 (High concentration of effective ingredients: 2.5/3 [as concentrations are not listed].  Unique or proven formulation: 3/3.  Value for the money: 2.5/3. Sunscreen: 0/1. )

To read a post on a more general skin care system for acne, please click here.

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  • Acne occurs most to everyone. Though its not really a serious problem but it affects the self-esteem and confidence of every individual. Natural ways to get rid of acne is very safe and effective. To treat acne is to know first its causes. I’m happy to find this site, I may recommend this to my friends.

  • Dear DermRes,

    Thank you for your advice. (I know that you wrote this a little over six months ago, and I apologize…I haven’t reviewed the Comments thread for a little while!)

    With that said, I am actually interested in primarily conducting research to answer crucial questions in dermatology, and practicing general dermatology. Cosmetic dermatology is actually a side interest/hobby (yes, I’m serious). I guess it’s kind-of like how some med students enjoy medicine as a career but have, say, soccer or basketball as a hobby. I have been extremely fortunate in that my career and #1 hobby (by far) are pretty similar. I actually used to research skin care products and ingredients for my family and friends, and I realized I was spending so much time doing it, I should just start a site!

    Hope that this helps to clarify things, and thank you again for the advice.

  • Truc

    Hi Nikki,

    I find your blog very helpful! Can you do a review for Epicuren products? I’ve been using mainly the citrus cleanser, facial emulsion, and eye cream. I’m thinking of switching to some of the products that you recommended but I’m wondering if I should still incorporate some of my favorite Epicuren products into my facial regime. Epicuren products are expensive so I’m concerned over their quality as compared to the ones you suggested. Much appreciated!

  • DermRes


    I would be careful about this site, especially with your professed love of dermatology – more like cosmetic dermatology. This will not be well looked upon when you are actually applying for residency – this is the exact thing they DO NOT want in their programs. I would maybe take down what you actually do and keep this as a hobby.

  • Angela

    I would really love it if you’d review Bliss The Youth As We Know It Concentrate (serum).

    As well as a review of MEG 21.
    MEG 21 seems pretty interesting.

  • Acne Myths & Facts

    Are these products oil free?

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