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The Coral Actives Acne System uses benzoyl peroxide to help kill the bacteria that causes acne and sea whip, which helps to mitigate pain and take down inflammation — very beneficial for those with acne. I’ve had an unfortunate breakout as of late, so it was the perfect time for Coral Actives to send us their soap for us to try. I found that it was a bit tough on my skin, which became very sensitive, but overall, it was effective in helping me.
What Causes Acne?
Acne is caused when excess sebum — known colloquially as oil — is produced and blocks the pores. They attract bacteria and inevitably become inflamed. After a multi-step process, this inevitably forms pimples.
This doesn’t just happen to teens, it can and does happen to adults frequently, with some of the common causes being: weather changes, cosmetic products, heredity or hypersensitivity, high sugar in food and drinks, hormones, medication and medication changes, smoking, and stress.
Unfortunately, some of those are unavoidable, but with treatment, one can keep acne under control.
Benzoyl peroxide is frequently used in acne medication because it kills Propionibacterium acnes. P. acnes are found in the follicle and they reproduce very quickly, which means you want to take care of them quickly.
While there are acne medicines that employ the use of antibacterial agents, up to 60% of those suffering from acne have bacteria-resistant acne (Baumann).
But the way benzoyl peroxides kill P. acne is by creating reactive oxygen species in the follicle (Journal of American Academic Dermatology). Consequently, you should use benzoyl peroxide as a spot treatment and not necessarily everywhere.
Benzoyl peroxide can also denature trentinoin, which is the vitamin A form found in products like Retin-A micro. So, you can use one in the morning and one at night but you shouldn’t use them together in the same application (British Journal of Dermatology).
[Read More: Acne: What Causes It and What to Do about It]
Sea Whip Extract
Coral Actives name may be referring to the fact that the company’s products contain extract from the Sea Whip Coral. The extract is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
In a study on its anti-inflammatory properties, sea whip extract was found to reduce inflammation better than commercial drug indomethacin, also known as indocin. It also penetrates deeply, going into the deeper layers of skin. It also inhibits phospholipase, 5-lipoxygenase, and cycloxygenase (Journal of the Inflammation). Phospholipase has been shown to be a part of an arachidonic cascade of inflammation (International Journal of Cosmetic Science).
In addition to anti-inflammatory properties, it also has analgesic properties, which means that it can help stop pain (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science).
Sea Whip extract has also been shown to have some healing properties, making it an all around beneficial ingredient to have in terms of caring for wounds and inflammation, issues that can plague acne sufferers (Department of Chemistry).
Personal Use and Opinion
I found the Coral Actives bar gave me a good clean, but my skin felt a bit tight afterwards, as though there was still some residue from the soap. The Retin-A soap afterward took that feeling away, but left my skin feeling a bit sensitive. When I put on the topical Spot Treatment, I found that it burned a bit. My skin is relatively sensitive, so it’s possible that this reaction is merely that. I have not often used benzoyl peroxide products in the past, so I cannot speak comparatively. However, I did notice that some of the unfortunate breakout that’s been happening lately on my face went away (hooray!).
I’m not sure about the efficacy of including Retin-A in a wash-off product such as Coral Actives Scrub, particularly given the fact that it can denature in the presence of benzoyl peroxide. However, if you use the scrub at night and don’t cover it with benzoyl peroxide and use the benzoyl peroxide in the morning, that might work as a regiment. Overall, I found that the bar left me feeling a bit of residue on my face. However, I really enjoyed the Coral Actives spot cream, which definitely penetrated and helped to reduce acne and inflammation. I think that’s a product that I will continue to use.