Since I haven’t exactly been keeping up with my normal skincare regime since starting TCA CROSS, I wasn’t entirely surprised to feel a pimple coming on. Since I haven’t had bad acne for a while, I don’t usually buy spot treatments, but I did receive a full-size bottle of the spot treatment CLEAR by LUE in my last Glossybox, so I figured now was a good a time as any to give it a go.
Their site description says: Step 3 of LUE’s Skin Solution Set, CLEAR, a powerful compound which leaves skin smooth, radiant, and clear. Using a special blend of 12 herbs and organic biodynamic alcohol, this tincture is the ultimate spot control for leaving your skin flawless.
Instructions: As soon as you notice a flaw, dip the applicator or a cotton swab into CLEAR and apply to the spot. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat up to 3 times. Use as needed. Can be used separately within any skincare regimen.
Ingredients: Organic Alcohol (Cane), Aloe barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Angelica Sinensis (Dong Quai), Rheum Palmatum (Rhubarb Root), Cassia Senna (Senna), Pimpinella Saxifraga (Theriac Venezian), Camphor, Curcuma Zedoaria (White Tumeric), Fraxinus Ornus (Manna), Commiphora Myrrha (Myrrh), Carlina Vulgaris (Carline Thistle), Crocus Sativus (Saffron).
The ingredients are basically alcohol, aloe vera, witch hazel, and a laundry list of ingredients used in various traditional medicines with variable degrees of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. I prefer a limited number of quantifiable active ingredients with chemical names over a list of taxonomic names, so I’m probably not in the target audience for this skincare line, but I also grew up drinking mysterious herbal concoctions (and swallowing handfuls of even-more-mysterious herbal pills) for everything from asthma to tendinitis, so I’m willing to give this a try.
The packaging is pretty sleek – a clear plastic bottle with a doe-foot applicator. The doe-foot applicator doesn’t seem super sanitary to me, but considering that the first ingredient is alcohol, I doubt that much of anything would grow in it.
My first impression on opening the bottle: it smells like the Chinese medicinal oil my mom used to use for her rheumatoid arthritis (and which she gave me to use for tendinitis). Probably the camphor. As instructed, I dipped the applicator in the solution, pressed it against the spot for 30 seconds, and repeated for a total of 3 times. The smell was pretty strong during the application process, but dissipated as soon as it dried.
The next morning, the pimple was starting to come to a head. If I had a hydrocolloid bandaid on hand, I probably would have just popped the whitehead and stuck on the bandaid, but I didn’t, and I didn’t see any indication that I couldn’t/shouldn’t keep using the CLEAR, so I kept trying.
I reapplied CLEAR roughly every two hours. I didn’t have any irritation, but I didn’t see any benefit, either – the whitehead continued to develop.
The next morning when I was washing my face, the top layer skin over the whitehead portion peeled off and the pus washed away, leaving a small spot of raw skin. I dabbed a bit of CLEAR on it, let it dry, then applied BB cream and concealer.
I continued to use CLEAR throughout the day for the next 3 days, with antibacterial ointment at night as an occlusive dressing for the scab (used just for the sake of being sterile petroleum jelly in a tube, not for antibacterial properties). The scab healed and fell off but otherwise I saw minimal change – the area was still raised and red.
I gave up on CLEAR and started putting isotretinoin on it (which I was already doing to the rest of my face). It shrank visibly overnight and was gone completely in a couple of days.
Would I keep using CLEAR? Sure, I’ll probably use up the bottle. Besides the alcohol (although, that’s a pretty big “besides”) the ingredients are generally not harmful for topical use (although a few are possible abortifacients if consumed) and may have some anti-inflammatory effects. But would I repurchase it? Probably not.