Right now, the line has two products, the Retinol Exfoliating Cleanser ($22) and a Penetrating Acne Serum ($28). You can purchase the duo for $39.90. A Best Things in Beauty reader tested both products, and, additionally, I tested the cleanser. We have extraordinary results to report!
Let's focus on acne for a minute. Unfortunately, it's not just a teen issue. The sad truth is that adult acne can plague women until menopause (I'm not sure when men get rid of it). Adults don't normally suffer from weekly breakouts, but monthly, unsightly blemishes can be just as upsetting. I the "old days," when I would get one of those hormonal "undergrounders," I would go to the dermatologist (never an inexpensive trip, since insurance doesn't cover cosmetic procedures) to get it injected with cortisone. I wish I had had the Coral Actives Retinol Exfoliating Cleanser to keep my pores open.The Retinol Exfoliating Cleanser is comprised of three major ingredients.
- Encapsulated retinol that releases when cleansing
- Microbeads to help with exfoliation
- Sea Whip Coral Extract to help reduce inflammation
- 6% benzoyl peroxide to kill bacteria
- Sea Whip Coral Extract to help reduce inflammation
- Humectants to attract water to the skin
- Emollients to retain moisture on the skin
As someone who is concerned about over-harvesting of coral, I asked Chris about Sea Whip Coral. He told me that it's a coral from the Caribbean that is renewable. It comes from four fields underwater. The sole harvester snips the tips off, without killing the Sea Whip Coral, which is a stringy-looking coral that regrows in three years. The development focus of Ermis Labs was on a natural anti-inflammatory, and the founders became enamored with Sea Whip Extract because there was so much in-vitro testing showing its effectiveness. You can read more about it at this link. The two founders did their homework. I found Chris to be a soul mate when we talked about ingredients. He's a great resource.
The Coral Actives Retinol Exfoliating Cleanser is a low-foaming formula developed with sensitive skin in mind. That's why I wish I had had it in the days when my face would break out now and then. My skin was so sensitive, it reacted to everything my dermatologist tried with retinol in it. The cleanser has a clean, subtle cucumber scent. It is intended to be used once a day for twenty seconds while cleansing the face, but it can be used twice/day if needed. The Coral Actives Penetrating Acne Serum is a light serum that dries quickly. It's also designed to be applied topically once a day.
I found the cleanser to be extremely nice. I am very surprised that I am writing these words, since my skin reacts to retinol like Savannah reacted to Charlie the first time she saw him. It's not pretty. Chris convinced me to try the cleanser, explaining why it would be gentle and effective on my skin, and I was amazed that it didn't irritate at all. It was gentle, effective, and sweetly exfoliating without any side effects. I was impressed. Chris told me that the cleanser's retinol is encapsulated. It stays pure until you wash your face, and it has excellent penetration in the short time it takes to cleanse the skin.
Even more impressed was our tester, a young woman who reads Best Things in Beauty and has combination/oily, blemish-prone skin. Here, in her own words, is her review of both products.
Coral Actives Retinol Exfoliating Cleanser
Cleansers have always been a favorite part of my skin-care routine. I have combination acne-prone skin with a very oily T-zone during the summer. I also have some issues with larger pores and acne marks or scars. Therefore, I have very high expectations of cleansers because I have so many issues I want to correct. The first thing I noticed about the Coral Actives cleanser is that it contains retinol. I have never used any product with retinol before, so I was a bit worried, since many skin-care ingredients make me break out. This cleanser has a very pleasant texture and smell (very light fresh scent), and one pump is more than enough for my entire face and neck. I usually leave it on for a few seconds and rinse it off with warm water. Normally, I have used two types of cleansers - the ones that are gentle, but don't clean my face deep enough - and the "harsh," deep ones that dry and irritate my skin. I am very happy to report that the Coral Actives cleanser leaves my skin feeling very clean (my pores appear smaller, and my face and neck feel very smooth). My skin is not irritated, but is perfectly prepared for the next step in my skin-care routine. And I guess retinol is my new best friend now :)
Coral Actives Penetrating Acne Serum
The next step is a Penetrating Acne Serum. It contains 6% benzoyl peroxide, so this is some strong stuff. The first couple of times I used it, my face was pink and tingly for a couple of minutes, and then it calmed down. I personally do not mind the sensation, but I would recommend a patch test on a small area of your face if your skin is very sensitive. I also noticed that after I used this serum a few times, my skin did not get warm and tingly anymore, so I assume I got used to it. This serum truly does penetrate the skin because it absorbs momentarily. I just hate skin-care products that "sit" on my face because that usually means one thing: more acne for me. This serum leaves my skin so smooth and glowing! Yes, not shiny, but glowing. I have some light wrinkles on my forehead, but after I use the serum, the wrinkles are hardly noticeable at all. I had a couple of acne bumps on my cheek, and the serum made them smoother and a little lighter (after just a couple of weeks). Yes, the serum dries the skin a bit, but I can use it with other, more moisturizing products.
For the purposes of this experiment I refrained from using any other skin care - just the cleanser and the serum. So far I am a happy customer and would recommend the Coral Actives cleanser for any skin type, and I would definitely recommend the Coral Actives Penetrating Acne Serum for people with combination/oily skin who are affected by acne. Thank you so much, Coral Actives and Charlestongirl for this opportunity. These products really helped me to make my skin look better!
Back to my words...
Chris said that if you get dry while using the products, reduce the frequency of of use. For example, try using the cleanser every day and the serum every other day - or once every three days. They are moisturizing, but our skin types are different. Do what works for you. The company is working on a new moisturizer as I write. It will have a light feel, an SPF of 15, and, of course, the star of the show, Sea Whip Extract. Chris hopes to have it ready by February.
Coral Active products can be used by anyone of any age who has a need to keep those skin cells exfoliated and "out of the way." That's why Chris thought I would like the cleanser (even at my age!), and he was right. I use it a few times a week. It's so gentle.
Give Coral Actives a four-week trial, and you will see a difference in your skin. If you are not completely satisfied, the company will refund your money! The guys at Ermis Labs are the real deal - they mean that.
Ermis Labs is super-busy. In 2011, the company will introduce its CorallGen line of anti-aging products.
- NIGHTpHace Peptide Sequencer for the treatment of fine lines and wrinkles
- DAYpHace Active Peptide with SPF 30 for the treatment of fine lines and wrinkles
- Eye Complex for the treatment of dark circles and puffiness
You can visit the company on Facebook if you would like to read some "real-time" customer feedback.
Photos and skin care courtesy of Ermis Labs