March 10, 2016

The main reason why pimples can be so pesky is their tendency to pop up on the same area, over and over again. For me, it’s my chin, an area that has given me trouble for quite some time now, alternating between angry pustules and large foreboding bumps (my facialist recently told me, in an ominous tone, that a blemish-prone chin is a sign of a weak digestive system – but I swear I’ve been digesting just fine).

When they get especially bad, I run to the dermatologist for a prescription acne gel that dries them up fast; but the downside is, it leaves my skin parched and flaky, so concessions have to be made: the pimple heals fast, but makeup won’t be able to sit properly there due to the peeling skin.

So for some time now, that prescription gel has to be a last resort, used when the breakout proves too much for me to handle. If it’s just one pimple I’m dealing with, I’ll resort to over-the-counter remedies such as acne patches, which honestly, aren’t always as effective as I hope.

Until recently, when I mentioned to my editor that I had been dealing with the return of another breakout, and she handed me Kate Somerville’s DermalQuench Clear Anti-Acne Treatment from the press kit of the last Sephora Press Day. At home, I took a closer look at it, and found it to be the most curiously-packaged skincare product I’ve seen yet: It’s a spray can but with an extended nozzle, which I assumed I would have to aim straight at the offending pimple.


dermal quench

Turns out, the bottle indeed has to be shaken well before each use, but the nozzle isn’t meant to be aimed straight at your skin. The instructions state that you’re supposed to press the actuator button while aiming the nozzle at your fingertip, and apply to the skin from there. I soon figured out this is probably due to the force with which the product blasts out of the nozzle, landing on the finger as a white fizz that’s cold to the touch. The tiny bubbles soon dissolve, and by the time I’m putting it on my skin, it has become a colourless, rather chemical-smelling solution.

It’s easy to dismiss this product as just a gimmick, but in time, I found that pimples dried up in about two days, and emerging blemishes that would usually morph into pus-filled pimples never became those dreaded whiteheads. This also doesn’t make my skin flaky, probably due to its Hydrafill™ Complex that makes the hyaluronic acid in the formula fast-penetrating, thanks to an infusion of Oxygen Carriers, as well as a side of moisturising botanical extracts. I even pushed it onto my twenty-year old brother, who’s that typical guy who does nothing to take care of his breakouts – and his skin has definitely been clearer since.

Sure, the way in which the product is dispensed might be somewhat gimmicky, but that blast of cold liquid that comes out each time, coupled with the reassuring chemical smell, does help to make us feel like this is an acne treatment that packs some extra punch. I’ve been keeping it close to stop pimples in their tracks, each time I feel the emergence of an incoming bump on my chin, or anywhere else (but usually on my chin). To anyone asks me for a good acne treatment from now, this is what I’ll be pushing; while keeping what my facialist said in mind, and hoping what she said about those underlying digestion issues is just a myth…


Kate Somerville DermalQuench Clear Anti-Acne Treatment, $94. Available at Sephora. katesomerville.com