Review Of SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense - Goals To Get Glowing (2023)

Review Of SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense - Goals To Get Glowing (1)

When I think about the different products I’ve tried over the past year or so, this one stands out as a clear favorite. This was one of the first products in a long time that grabbed my attention and made me not want to do any other routine that didn’t include this. It isthat good.

*Disclaimer: This product was sent to me via SkinCeuticals PR with no obligation to review. All opinions are my own.

I think this product doesn’t market itself very well because when I saw the bottle label I thought this was a salicylic acid treatment since that was what was so prominent on the package. Basically I thought it was a spot treatment and I wasn’ttoointerested in it because I usually like to have at least 2% salicylic acid as a spot treatment (and this has 1.5%). But I am really glad I took a closer look at the ingredients and really gave this a try because it is one of my favorite products I’ve tried. And for what its worth, I have never once used it as a spot treatment.

What does it do?

As the name suggests, it is for someone that cares about reducing fine lines and wrinkles as well as preventing blemishes. It is also designed to inhibit excess sebum production (which was key for someone like me that always finds themselves a bit too shiny by midday) and minimize hyperpigmentation.

In a nutshell, it exfoliates skin, decongests pores and refines the skin’s surface. Where I have seen the biggest improvement is in texture on my skin and the regulation of sebum.

At the end of this post I will go into detail about some empirical research that compared this product to a prescription acne medication and a prescription retinol. Briefly, here are some of the findings. Something to note is that, except for the reduction of pustules which showed improvements by week 1, all other findings took at least 4 weeks with the most effects by week 8.

I will add that I saw some clearing up of my skin after a week or so, but I really didn’t see any major results until around week 4 or 5 (and I was using it almost daily).

Evidence suggests that Blemish + Age Defense has been effective at:

  • Reducing sebum production
  • Improving fine lines
  • Reducing pustules and papules
  • Reducing acne lesions
  • Improving skin tone (clarity)
  • Improving dullness, blotchiness
  • Improving skin roughness

How did I use it?

When I started using this, I stopped using all other acids and retinol because I was a little concerned that using this plus other potent actives would be too much for my skin. I used it morning and night for about 2 weeks and would apply a couple drops to my entire face after cleansing. And then I followed it up with a hydrating and nourishing routine. After 2 weeks I dropped down to just using this at night and I would sometimes use a BHA toner in the morning (although I found that I didn’t really need it). I was really shocked at how great my skin looked. The texture on my forehead cleared up and I felt less oily, my skin felt smooth and had a more even tone. I started to rotate this with retinol (using this on the nights that I didn’t use a retinol) and my skin responded nicely. I personally never felt like it dried me out or sensitized me but I was very cautious to always ensure my routines added back in a lot of moisture.

After using it for 6 weeks I started to drop down to only using this once or twice a week and that has been working perfectly until I just ran out of my bottle.

Who should use it?

People that are concerned with both signs of aging and blemishes/ skin texture. People with dry skin or with allergies to alcohol denat will want to avoid this.

Price: $91, Available at,,,also you can buy it through using the code TALESOFSKINCARE and get 20% off (but I believe you have to email or call in your order). Also, the above retailers also will sometimes have 20% off coupons that work on SkinCeuticals products.

Make sure you also shop through Ebates so that you can save more money. Right now is offering 8% back and Dermstore is offering 4% back. (If you sign up through my link, you will get $10 in your account after your first purchase of $25 or more)
Review Of SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense - Goals To Get Glowing (2)

Will I repurchase?YES!


What I think makes this product really unique is the inclusion of 2% dioic acid (which I talk more about below).

Let’s take a look at its key ingredients and what they do….

  • 3.5% Glycolic Acid + 0.5% Citric acid
    • Provides exfoliation to help smooth skin, reduce skin imperfections, and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
    • I really like the idea of a slow and steady use of glycolic acid. Since this is the smallest molecule size of the various AHAs, it can sometimes be irritating. But at a lower concentration I did not experience any irritation.
  • 2% Dioic Acid
    • Shown to reduce sebum and acne
    • Prevents hyperpigmentation caused by inflammation or UV exposure
    • It also has anti-inflammatory effects
    • Said to act similarly to azelaic acid as an antimicrobial agent
      • One study found that it may have other benefits as well: “In clinical trials comparing Octadecenedioic acid (2%) with azelaic acid (20%) and benzoyl peroxide (5%), Octadecenedioic acid compared favorably but without the somatosensory negative effects.” (Rawlings et al., 2006)
    • Proposed to have both anti-blemish and anti-ageing results (Wiechers et al., 2005)
  • 0.3% Capryloyl Salicylic Acid AKA Lypo-hydroxy-acid (LHA)
    • This is a derivative of Salicylic acid but with a larger molecule size. Similar to salicylic acid, this decongests pores. This exfoliates in a slightly different way from Salicylic acid, but they are complementary to each other
    • This can also help to diminish surface indicators of age and can stimulate cell turnover.
    • Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.
  • 1.5% Salicylic Acid
    • Highly effective at unclogging pores and targeting and treating blemishes.

Complete Ingredients

Active ingredient: 1.5% Salicylic acid

Inactive ingredient: Alcohol Denat.[increases penetration of other ingredients], Water, Methylpropanediol [enhances penetration of salicylic acid], 3.5% Glycolic Acid [exfoliate and help prevent wrinkles], Diisopropyl Adipate [emollient], 2% Octadecenedioic Acid [dioic acid:reduces skin pigmentation and sebum], Hydroxyethylpiperazine Thane Sulfonic Acid [buffering agent], 0.5% Citric Acid, 0.3% Capryloyl Alcicylic Acid [LHA: exfoliant, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic], Sodium Hydroxide [buffering agent], Polyquaternium-10.

Let’s Talk About the Alcohol

The number one question that I get asked whenever I post about this product is whether I am concerned that alcohol denat is the second ingredient. The short answer is no.

I know that many people follow the “rule of thumb” that alcohol is a “bad alcohol” and should be avoided at all costs. If you follow that rule, that is totally your choice. I personally don’t.

Alcohol denat is included as a penetration enhancer. It will help tosolubilize the acids to help the skin better absorb themwhich make the product function better than it would without it. In fact, without the alcohol the salicylic acid wouldn’t dissolve and would just sit on the skin and basically do nothing.

Alcohol denat can also act as a preservative and antimicrobial agent toprevent the growth of bacteria and mold and extend the shelf life. It can also help make the formula more light-weight and less viscous.

Alcohol temporarily dehydrates the skin increasing the absorption of nutrients and beneficial ingredients in a particular cosmetic so the active nutrients can reach the deep layers of the skin, maximizing its regenerative and nourishing actions. I think the KEY thing is that I never only use this product. I always apply at least a moisturizer on top, and usually a hydrating serum and then a moisturizer. So I counteract any potential drying from the alcohol.

But that isn’t to say that this product might not dry you out or irritate you in this formula. You definitely should spot test and see for yourself. The AHAs/BHAs alone may prove too drying for some. As always, YMMV.

Here is a great video by Liah Yoo about alcohol in skincare products:

Denatured Alcohol report


2 important studies that demonstrates the skin benefits of using SkinCeuticals Blemish and Age Defense Serum

Evidence it helps with Acne

  1. A single-center, split-face, double-blind, 8-week clinical trial of 28 subjects was conducted by a board-certified dermatologist compared Blemish + Age Defense toBenzaClin® (a prescription drug containing 1% clindamycin and 5% benzoyl peroxide)
    • There was no statistically significant difference between the performance of Blemish + Age Defense and BenzaClin at any time. In other words,Blemish + Age Defense was as effective as BenzaClin, for the treatment of acne.
    • As early as day 2,Blemish + Age Defense reduced inflammatory and non-inflammatory lesions.
    • During the 8-week period, Blemish + Age Defense significantly reduced blotchiness and clogged pores.
      • Blackheads reduced by 58%
      • Pustules reduced by 65%
      • Total lesions reduced by 50%
      • Clogged pores reduced by 48%
      • Papules reduced by 45%
        • Baumann, L. S., Oresajo, C., Yatskayer, M., Dahl, A., & Figueras, K. (2013). Comparison of clindamycin 1% and benzoyl peroxide 5% gel to a novel composition containing salicylic acid, capryloyl salicylic acid, HEPES, glycolic acid, citric acid, and dioic acid in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD, 12(3), 266-269
  2. On the SkinCeuticals websites it also states that “In a dermatologist-controlled 8-week study of 50 multi- ethnic subjects ages 25-50, Blemish + Age Defense reduced sebum by 39% and improved fine lines by 28% at week 4.” But I was unable to locate the citation for this study.

Evidence to Back up Anti-Aging Claims

  1. A single-center, split-face, double-blind, 8-week clinical trial conducted by a board-certified dermatologist of 30 subjects aged 35+ with mild to moderate signs of aging and mild to moderate acne.Participantsapplied Blemish + Age Defense to one side of the face and prescription Tretinoin (0.025%) to the other side twice daily for 8 weeks. At week 1, 4, and 8 participants had their skin rated in terms of number of acne lesions, skin tone (clarity), blotchiness, roughness, dullness, fine lines, and clogged pores.
    • At no point during the 8 weeks did Tretinoin statistically outperform Blemish + Age Defense.
    • Blemish + Age Defense was statistically better than Tretinoin in improving skin tone (weeks 1, 4, and 8) and blotchiness (weeks 4 and 8) and in reducing total tone improved by 45%
      • fine lines improved by 28%
      • skin roughness improved by 46%
    • At weeks 1 and 8 it was equally effective as Tretinoin at improving all other signs of aging and acne.
      • Kircik, L. H., Dahl, A., Yatskayer, M., Raab, S., & Oresajo, C. (2012). Safety and efficacy of two anti-acne/anti-aging treatments in subjects with photodamaged skin and mild to moderate acne vulgaris.Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD,11(6), 737-740.



How long does it take for blemish age defense to work? ›

After 4 weeks, Blemish + AGE Defence was proven to statistically reduce the grade of PIH by 19%. After 8 weeks, it was proven to reduce the grade of PIH by 36% and the number of PIH marks by 29%.

Should you use blemish and age defense morning or night? ›

How to use. Apply over the entire affected area with a thin layer in the morning and at night. Suitable for oily skin, acne prone. Use as part of the program Age Blemish, cleaning care Gentle Cleanser and tonifying, care Equalizing Tone in order to enhance the effect and the penetrability of the Blemish + Age Defense.

Can you use blemish age defense everyday? ›

If you have active breakouts, start with once daily and see how your skin reacts. If you don't have active breakouts, using it up to 3 times per week to avoid any breakouts should be fine. For oily skin types, you could probably use this every day. For sensitive skin types: DO A PATCH TEST!

Can SkinCeuticals blemish age defense be used with retinol? ›

SkinCeuticals recommends applying Blemish + Age Defense either once or twice daily, depending on your individual skin needs and routine. If you're seeking to incorporate both glycolic acid and retinol into your skincare routine, using Blemish + Age Defense in the morning and a retinol cream each morning.

How long does it take for face blemishes to fade? ›

Acne marks (discoloration) usually fade away within 3-6 months. There are many ways to speed up the process. However, scars remain and can be removed medically or by using home remedies.

Do you put anti blemish on before or after moisturizer? ›

If it's a big blemish, treat it right after your toner. If it's not so bad, apply spot treatment after serum and before moisturizer. The goal of this step is to add hydration to the skin with a water-based serum, so we can seal it in afterwards with a thicker oil or moisturizer.

How often to use blemish and age defense? ›

Apply 4-5 drops of Blemish + Age Defense to a dry face and other affected areas, once or twice a day.

Can I use blemish and age defense with vitamin C? ›

Yes, you may use the SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense with a vitamin C serum, which we recommend applying first.

What goes first spot treatment or night cream? ›

Apply it in the right order

It is best to apply spot treatments after cleansing and toning, but before applying serums and creams. The active ingredients are best applied on clean skin, and if you apply a spot treatment on top of a thicker cream or oil, it may not penetrate as well.

What are the side effects of blemish cream? ›

Skin reactions such as peeling, itching, irritation, and reddened skin may occur, especially at the start of treatment. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

How do you use SkinCeuticals blemish and age? ›

Clean the skin thoroughly before applying product. Cover the entire affected area with a thin layer in the morning and evening. For optimal results, use as part of the Blemish + Age Program, starting with Cleanser and LHA solution. Active: Salicylic Acid 1.5%.

How long does it take SkinCeuticals discoloration defense to work? ›

Formulated with 3% tranexamic acid, 1% kojic acid, 5% niacinamide, and 5% HEPES, this latest-generation formula improves the appearance of skin discoloration, brightens skin, and evens skin tone in as early as 2 weeks.

What serums not to mix with retinol? ›

Don't Mix: Retinol with vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, and AHA/BHA acids. AHA and BHA acids are exfoliating, which can dry out the skin and cause further irritation if your skincare routine already includes retinol.

Is skinceuticals retinol as good as tretinoin? ›

They have similar benefits and can be used on any skin type, though tretinoin is more often recommended to treat acne and is FDA approved for photoaging. Tretinoin is the more potent of the two, so it will show results faster. Retinol is an over-the-counter (OTC) retinoid that doesn't require a written prescription.

Do you put retinol before or after moisturizer SkinCeuticals? ›

Retinol - this is definitely a personal preference. I struggle with retinols, but if you use one- you should apply AT NIGHT, after you cleanse and before your serums/moisturizer/creams. Hydrating B5 Gel - this is like a first-aid for your skin if you live in a dry climate (like Texas!).

How many years does it take for dark spots to fade? ›

How long does it take for hyperpigmentation to fade? Once what's causing the dark spots or patches is found and stopped, fading can take time. A spot that is a few shades darker than your natural skin color will usually fade within 6 to 12 months. If the color lies deep in your skin, however, fading can take years.

How do you get rid of dark blemishes fast? ›

Some potential options include:
  1. Laser therapy: This involves a dermatologist using a beam of light to target areas of discoloration. ...
  2. Chemical peels: Professional chemical peels are stronger versions of OTC acid exfoliants. ...
  3. Microdermabrasion: This exfoliating treatment uses minuscule particles to remove dead skin cells.
May 20, 2021

When should I use anti blemish? ›

Usage tips

Apply morning and evening directly on perfectly cleansed blemishes.

How often should I use blemish control? ›

Apply CeraVe Blemish Control Gel in the evening and always follow with SPF protection in the day time – we suggest the CeraVe AM Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF 50. To prevent from over-drying the skin, start with one application every couple of days and then build up to daily usage or twice a day.

Can I put blemish patches on after moisturizer? ›

Do you put pimple patches on before or after moisturizer? The answer is simple: you should not apply pimple patches after your moisturizer. Leave the areas of your face dry that you want to treat with a pimple patch.

What are the benefits of blemish serum? ›

It helps to smoothen scars and pits and restore skin's natural suppleness. It neutralizes skin damage that helps to restore skin texture. Our blemish care serum evens out blemishes and minimizes spots.

What does anti blemish do for your skin? ›

Helps treat existing acne and prevent future breakouts. Creates a barrier against acne-causing agents. Helps control excess oil. Lightly hydrates to minimize dryness and peeling.

What serums should you not mix with vitamin C? ›

AHAs and BHAs, such as glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids should never be used with Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an acid, too, and is unstable, so the pH balance will be thrown off by layering these ingredients together and might as well be useless.

What faces should you not use with vitamin C? ›

Vitamin C is effectively an acid (it's sometimes known as ascorbic acid), so layering it with AHAs and BHAs like glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids is a big no-no.

Does vitamin C lighten age spots? ›

Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is especially fantastic at treating age spots on the face because it depigments or reduces melanin on the skin—thereby removing dark spots.

How long do you have to wait between moisturizer and spot treatment? ›

“It is important to leave a 10-20 minute wait time before applying the next product.

How long do you leave spot treatment before moisturizer? ›

Acne Treatments: 1 minute

They need to be fully melted into your skin before serums and moisturizers are applied on top for maximum efficacy, Shah says.

What makes blemishes worse? ›

Frequent washing can irritate the skin and make symptoms worse. Wash the affected area with a mild soap or cleanser and lukewarm water. Very hot or cold water can make acne worse. Do not try to "clean out" blackheads or squeeze spots.

Should I moisturize blemishes? ›

When creating an acne treatment plan, dermatologists sometimes include a moisturizer. Acne can cause your skin to feel oily and greasy, so a moisturizer may be the last thing you'd think of trying. A moisturizer, however, may be just what you need if you're using one of the following acne treatments: Benzoyl peroxide.

What is age and blemish serum SkinCeuticals? ›

Blemish & Age Defense provides an elegant and effective option for my mature patients who still suffer from acne. It not only resolves their acne, it simultaneously reduces oiliness, unclogs pores, brightens skin color, and improves fine lines and skin texture.

How long does vitamin C take to brighten hyperpigmentation? ›

Vitamin C-based skin care products may lighten patches that are darker than the rest of your skin, called hyperpigmentation. In one study, vitamin C applied to the skin for 16 weeks significantly cut down on these spots.

Does ferulic acid fade dark spots? ›

"Not only is ferulic acid an antioxidant but it is also known to brighten dark spots and overall skin dullness thanks to its ability to inhibit the enzyme [tyrosinase which causes melanogenesis—the production of melanin.]".

What is the best for hyperpigmentation? ›

Dermatologists consider products with hydroquinone, alone or combined with other lighteners, to be the gold standard for fading dark spots because it slows the production of pigment. These are available by prescription, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Can you apply vitamin C and retinol at the same time? ›

It's perfectly safe and very effective to incorporate both retinol and vitamin C into your skincare routine, as long as you use them at different times of the day.

Can you put hyaluronic acid over retinol? ›

Can hyaluronic acid and retinol be used together? Unlike many other skin care ingredients out there, hyaluronic acid and retinol can be used in the same skincare routine. Not only that, but using them together can help to lessen the severity of the side effects that often come with retinol usage.

Should I use retinol or hyaluronic acid first? ›

Hyaluronic acid should be layered before retinol in case of dry or sensitive skin, as it helps create a barrier between retinol and your skin, offsetting irritation. Must-mention: let your hyaluronic acid serum dry before following with retinol as, if applied to damp skin, there's a higher risk of redness and dryness.

What is the highest retinol SkinCeuticals? ›

Formulated with the highest concentration of 1.0% pure retinol, this night cream is enhanced with the latest stabilization and delivery technologies to ensure a steady, even release of the maximum available concentration.

How long does it take to see results from SkinCeuticals retinol? ›

Response from skinceuticals-us:

So glad you are giving our Retinol 0.5 a try! You should see a difference in your skin after 4 weeks of using the product once a day.

What is the strongest retinol you can buy for your face? ›

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment

This over-the-counter retinol contains an ingredient called adapalene. It's the strongest retinol you can get without a prescription and it's ideal for treating all forms of acne, including blackheads, whiteheads, and cystic acne, says Dr. Marcus.

Can I use SkinCeuticals retinol every night? ›

Limit initial use of SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 cream to once or twice a week, gradually increasing frequency to every other evening or nightly as tolerated. Due to the high concentration of retinol, please consult your healthcare professional.

Should I apply moisturizer immediately after retinol? ›

Regardless of your skin type or which product you use first, a layer of moisturizer should always be applied after retinoids.

What goes first retinol or moisturizer at night? ›

According to the Cleveland Clinic, if your retinol is irritating your skin, you should apply a thin layer of moisturizer before applying it to give your skin a little barrier. If your retinol is not irritating your skin, then depending on the formula, you can apply it before your moisturizer.

How long does it take for dark spot treatment to work? ›

How long does it take for hyperpigmentation to fade? Once what's causing the dark spots or patches is found and stopped, fading can take time. A spot that is a few shades darker than your natural skin color will usually fade within 6 to 12 months. If the color lies deep in your skin, however, fading can take years.

How long does it take for dark spot cream to work? ›

In some cases, the effects of hydroquinone can be seen in as little as two weeks. However, most should anticipate 8 to 12 weeks of use to see a visible difference depending on a few factors (such as the extent of the hyperpigmentation, how deeply it penetrates, how long it's been there, etc.).

How long does it take for on the spot treatment to work? ›

Skincare Products

However, because skin care products are formulated to be mild, cleansers, toners, and spot treatments for acne will typically take over one month to show results.

What removes dark spots the quickest? ›

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends the following treatments for dark spots in skin of color:
  • 2% hydroquinone.
  • azelaic acid.
  • glycolic acid.
  • kojic acid.
  • retinoids, such as retinol, tretinoin, adapalene gel, or tazarotene.
  • vitamin C.
May 20, 2021

What product gets rid of dark spots the fastest? ›

  • Best Overall. Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum. ...
  • Best Value. Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector Serum. ...
  • Best Splurge. Skinceuticals C E Ferulic. ...
  • Best Peel Pads. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel. ...
  • Best Exfoliator. ...
  • Best With Retinol. ...
  • Best With Vitamin C. ...
  • Best With Lactic Acid.
Mar 14, 2023

Which serum is best for pigmentation and dark spots? ›

Here Are The Best Serums For Pigmentation
  1. Minimalist 2% Alpha Arbutin Serum for Pigmentation. ...
  2. The Derma Co 2% Kojic Acid Face Serum with 1% Alpha Arbutin & Niacinamide. ...
  3. PLIX - THE PLANT FIX 2% Alpha Arbutin Pineapple De-Pigmentation Dewy Face Serum.
Jan 20, 2023

What is the best treatment for blemishes and dark spots? ›

Salicylic acid: This active ingredient helps unclog pores and prevent new acne breakouts. Retinol: This can unclog pores and fade dark spots. You'll find benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinol in acne products that you can buy without a prescription. Retinol is a type of retinoid.

Do dark spots get darker before going away? ›

Yes. Active treatment accelerates cell turnover, pulling pigmented cells to the surface at a faster rate. This increases the concentration of melanin in the epidermis, which can create a temporary darkening of the spots. The darkening means the pigment is coming up and is ready to be shed away.

How do you know if spot treatment is working? ›

Give an acne treatment at least 4 weeks to work.

If a treatment works for you, you should notice some improvement in 4 to 6 weeks. It can take two to three months or longer to see clearing. If you notice improvement, keep using the treatment. Even when you see clearing, you'll want to keep using the acne treatment.

What happens if I put too much spot treatment? ›

You're using them too much.

Certain blemish-busting ingredients “tend to be drying, and the most common mistake people make is overusing them, either too often or too much,” says Dr. Shah. “When they are overused, they can overly dry or irritate the skin, leading to more breakouts.”


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