My search for the perfect spot treatment continues, I actually haven't tried that many, and I definitely haven't been blown away by any particular one. My main skin concern pertaining to acne is hormonal and stress related breakouts which generally come in the form of under the skin, cystic breakouts. Every other spot treatment I've tried had little effect on them, so I thought I should bring out the big guns and try out one that is targeted toward them - the Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion.
The Buffering Lotion has been raved about from the reviews I've read, certainly touted as being the best for cystic acne. It comes packaged in a small bottle that actually contains a considerable amount of product - 29mL. The consistency is not a lotion at all, but liquid with white sediment that settles at the bottom. Before use, the product should be shaken well to combine the two, creating a cloudy white liquid. The packaging isn't the best, the spout is unpredictable in how much product it releases. I generally take one drop at a time with my finger and apply to the affected area. It's a bit incovenient as a runny liquid, but manageable. The liquid is clear on application so fine to use under makeup.
What intrigued me most was that it doesn't contain your conventional acne-fighting ingredients like Witch Hazel or Benzoyl Peroxide. It supposedly contains Salicylic acid though I don't see it in the ingredients (possibly under another name that I'm just not familiar with?). The main other ingredient is Sulfur (let's hope no one mistakes me for a demon...Spn fans will get me ;) ), which I'm not familiar with in terms of treating acne. The Buffering Lotion boasts "quickly minimising large clusters of acne, preventing future eruptions and reducing inflammation and redness". I must say I had pretty high hopes for this product, but like others before it, it doesn't offer immediate results. The product doesn't make the spot disappear overnight, or even after two or three nights, especially if it's a big bugger. I find that it helps accelerate the spot's healing process, by helping bringing the spot down, reducing redness or bringing it to a head. Depending on the size of the cystic pimple, it can take anywhere from two nights to a week. The second ingredient is alcohol, and I do find it slightly drying on the spot but it doesn't burn or purposefully dry out the spot. It also doesn't make much difference in terms of scarring. Although it's not marketed for whiteheads, I do find it semi effective on those spots. It's recommended usage is every other night, though I've been using it every morning and night and haven't experienced any reaction or irritation.
While it hasn't blown me away, it's definitely the best performing spot treatment for cystic acne that I've tried. Perhaps there isn't a product out there that will bring down pesky zits within a few days, but I'll certainly still be on the lookout. This product retails for AUD$22 (yay for recent price reductions!) at Kit Cosmetics or Mecca Cosmetica. It is a bit pricey, but I have a feeling this bottle will be lasting me a decent while.