I tried this cult acne treatment for one month and here are my thoughts on whether it worked

30 October 2019
By Fashion Quarterly

Miss FQ’s digital content producer Maxine Fourie put Dermalogica’s Clear Start breakout clearing product range to the test to see if she could get a hold on her pesky breakouts. She shares her results here.

For the best part of my young-adult life, acne has always been one of those things I just can’t seem to get rid of. Throughout my younger years in high school, my skin loved me just as much as I loved it, and pimples emerging were few and far between. Those really were the days…

Fast forward to my last year in high school and all those years being spot-free seemed like a distant memory. No longer could I get away with a bare, no-makeup face, because pimples were coming at me left, right and centre, wreaking havoc on my skin. Payback for all the years I had a spot-free canvas, I’d say.

But with the rise of social media and my friends wanting to snap a selfie 24/7, my only option to tackle this newfound skin problem was to pile on the foundation and hope that washing my face with whatever skincare product that was on sale that month would do the trick. Long story short, it didn’t.

Over the years I’ve experimented with products that promised high and mighty results; and although my skin isn’t out of control, I would always be disappointed when those little breakouts didn’t cooperate, leaving me impatient and popping them at my own peril, consequently leaving acne scars.

So when I was offered the opportunity to test-drive the Dermalogica Clear Start range to get my acne under control, I was equal parts hopeful and sceptical, as I’ve believed the promise of having beautiful, clear skin one too many times.

Here are my honest thoughts after 30 days of the treatment:

What is Dermalogica Clear Start?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of my results, I’ll give you a simple breakdown as to what the Clear Start range is. Dermalogica (AKA the holy grail in skincare) has developed a range of products designed to treat younger, breakout-prone skin.

The range comes with three staple products; a full-size Breakout Clearing Foaming Wash, Breakout Clearing Booster and a Clearing Defense SPF30 moisturiser. Using these products together with a fourth product of your choice (more on that later) twice a day, the range is designed to soothe and hydrate skin while keeping it clean.

Over the 30 days

Before starting the 30-day trial, I went to see a Dermalogica Skin Therapist who had a close look and my skin and performed a Face Mapping Skin Analysis. After the face mapping, I learned that my skin was extremely dehydrated in the cheeks, my T-zone acne was caused by stress and that my chin area was hormonal acne, so I had a more in-depth understanding of the areas that I needed to target.

Initially, the idea of following a strict skincare routine freaked me out a little. I’ve always washed my face twice a day in the shower, but to religiously moisturise and spot-treat my skin too triggered something in the inner lazy-girl in me, but nonetheless, I got going.


My morning and nightly routine:
Pre-Clear Start, I only washed my skin with any standard face-wash in the mornings and evenings, moisturising it before I applied my makeup. In the evenings, I spot treated my skin (when I remembered) with a drying agent.

Initially, I couldn’t get in the swing of using the range because of one excuse: time. I’m usually rushing out the door to get to the gym super early in the morning and I try to savour my slumber, so at first, a ten-minute routine (I know, only ten minutes) seemed tricky. However, I wanted to invest the time into my skin and make it my priority and one of the great things about the Clear Start range is you don’t have to stack the products on top of each other straight away; meaning I could wash my face and dot the booster on before my workout and then moisturise after my shower at the gym.

My experience with the products

I tried the full Clear Start range, so I got to dabble in the three staple products as well as all of the products available for the fourth free product add-on, including the Breakout Clearing All Over Toner, Breakout Clearing Skin Soothing Cream and the Blackhead Clearing Fizz Mask.

From these extra products to choose from, my favourite would be the all-over toner, because it is so effective in targeting breakouts. I found that once I spritzed the spray on my skin, it felt cool and relieved and so fresh.

Out of all the products in the range, my favourite would have to be the Breakout Clearing Foaming Wash. As I mentioned, I’ve tried and tested multiple facewashes, usually gravitating towards the washes with natural exfoliants that add texture when washing my face, but this is hands-down the best face wash I’ve used. I kept this baby in the shower most days when I wasn’t dashing out to the gym and found it soft and gentle on my skin, but effective at getting deep into my pores.


If you’re lazy when it comes to the application process like me, an easy way to target each area while still maintaining your morning or evening routine is to spread your routine out to ensure that you have time to get all the products on. For example, wash your face in the shower, use the booster after and then put the Fizz Mask on while brushing your teeth. Easy!

The results from these products speak for themselves, and I can honestly say that my skin has transformed with significantly fewer new breakouts (especially larger, whitehead pimples) and it feels softer, more hydrated and more even without aggressive and red acne. I have worn less makeup in the last two weeks as my skin hasn’t had nearly as many breakouts, which most definitely has assisted in the process!

As the photos are 30 days apart, what I’ve kept in mind is the changes in my skin due to hormonal acne. As every woman knows, this acne is pesky and changes with your menstrual cycle, but the acne on the bottom half of my face is less inflamed and clustered, which I’m definitely happy about.

Feeling confident is the biggest thing for me and looking at the before and after photo, I can see a huge change, which means a huge change in attitude.


Would I recommend the Dermalogica Clear Start range?

From my personal experience over just 30 days, the short answer is yes! Clear Start has restored my skin but more importantly my confidence, which is something that, to me, is priceless. Although my skin is not completely spot-free, not having pesky blemishes pop up daily has been a huge booster for me and has allowed me the freedom to wear less makeup and just to embrace my natural skin. If you don’t like to cake your face with products like myself, this is a major benefit of the range.

The Dermalogica Clear Start range also is extremely convenient – with university, work and life getting in the way, Clear Start makes it easy to keep your skin looking its best without really having to think about it. I mean that quite literally – with its automatic subscription delivery every two, three, or four months (you decide!), you don’t even have to do anything; this skin saviour arrives at your door in a recyclable cardboard box.

In the delivery, you’ll get the three staple products I’ve outlined, plus a free product of your choice. You can also mix the freebie up as you go, so you can test the full range without having to spend more. That’s a money win for a budgeter like me!

Overall, the products are incredibly easy to use (although instructions come with the order if you get stuck) and I found that I got into the swing of the process very quickly. The initial results for me took just over a week to show and so I was hooked from then on out.

If you struggle with your skin, from someone who’s been there and done that, I couldn’t rate this range enough; in my opinion, it’s worth every penny!

This article is bought to you by Dermalogica Clear Start. The Clear Start plan is available online from www.clearstart.co.nz for $123.


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