Clearasil Ultra Products
Clearasil is a longstanding anti-acne line that offers a large assortment of products designed to battle blemishes. Lamentably, most of these products are either too irritating or utilize effective active ingredients in rinse-off, rather than leave-on, products (rendering the products ineffective). The Ultra products below are supposed to be their best offerings, but anyone dealing with blemishes and blackheads is bound to be disappointed by the lackluster to poor formulations.
(neutral face) Ultra Daily Face Wash ($6.99 for 6.78 ounces) contains 2% salicylic acid, but any potential benefit is wasted in a cleanser because it is not left on the skin long enough to work. And that's not to mention the drawbacks of avoiding the eye area during use and the fact that the pH of this cleanser is too high for the salicylic acid to work as an exfoliant. This is otherwise a standard, water-soluble foaming cleanser that is an option for normal to oily skin--so long as you don't expect it to provide "clearer skin in just 3 days."
Ultra Acne Clearing Scrub ($6.99 for 5 ounces) contains 2% salicylic acid (BHA), but the real exfoliating benefit comes from the polyethylene beads, because this scrub, just like any other scrub, won't be left on the skin long enough for the BHA to have an effect, even though its pH of 3.6 is low enough for exfoliation to occur. It's a decent scrub option, but the sodium lauryl sulfate makes it less enticing than similar options from Neutrogena or Olay Clarity. Leaving it on the skin is an option, but not one I would encourage, given that there are better ways to get the benefits of BHA.
Ultra Acne Eliminating Astringent ($7.69 for 6.78 ounces) lists alcohol as the second ingredient, and that makes this otherwise effective, pH-correct 2% BHA toner too irritating for all skin types.
Ultra Deep Pore Cleansing Pads ($6.99 for 90 pads) have a pH-correct formula similar to the Ultra Acne Eliminating Astringent above, but hydrogen peroxide is added to the mix. Although hydrogen peroxide isn't excessively irritating, it is a source of free-radical damage and an impediment to the skin's healing process, both of which are problems that someone already battling acne (or with any skin type for that matter) doesn't need to deal with.
Source: Paula Begoun