It’s review time, kids! Today, I would like to introduce you to a long-time r/ScA favourite which I’ve discovered lately, and that has earned itself a fixed place in my skincare routine:
sebamed Clear Face Care Gel
6,29€ for 50ml
AQUA • ALOE BARBADENSIS (ALOE VERA) LEAF GEL • PROPYLENE GLYCOL • GLYCERIN • SORBITOL • PANTHENOL • SODIUM HYALURONATE • ALLANTOIN • SODIUM CARBOMER • SODIUM CITRATE • PHENOXYETHANOL • SORBIC ACID
according to manufacturer at pH 5,5
Oh my, what a joy to look at! This must be the very first no-nonsense INCI I’ve ever layed my laywoman’s eyes upon. As far as I can see, there is nothing in here that doesn’t have a clear purpose, the purpose being to hydrate and calm. Aloe vera leaf juice is obviously the heavy hitter here (and together with sodium carbomer the ingredient that gives the product its divine consistency), closely followed by glycerin, sorbitol, panthenol, sodium hyaluronate, and allantoin.
You see I’m listing half of the list here — that should be an indicator on just how agreeing this product is on 99% of all skins. Of course, everyone is different; some might react to the aloe, or the glycol, or the sugar alcohol (sorbitol), or the panthenol, or the hyaluronic acid derivative (sodium hyaluronate), or the allantoin, or the phenoxyethanol — all of these ingredients can cause averse effects on some people’s skins, but the majority will be good with it.
Before finishing this section, I’d like to add that this gel might not have enough moisturising prowess to statisfy dry/combo-dry skin on its own, as it’s specifically formulated not to contain any oils, which dry skin obviously lacks and needs. You could try and layer it underneath Vaseline or Aquaphor (which I’m doing in my PM routine, despite being combo-oily), or over a separate oil product, but I can’t guarantee any success.
Official product description
sebamed CLEAR FACE Pflege-Gel ist die ideale, dermatologische Basispflege bei Pickeln, Mitessern und unreiner Haut. Der hauteigene pH-Wert 5,5 stabilisiert den natürlichen Säureschutzmantel der Haut, schützt biologisch gegen pickelverursachende Bakterien und beugt so wirksam neuen Pickeln vor
Wie Pickel entstehen?
Ihre Haut ist dicht besetzt mit winzigen Talgdrüsen. Die meisten finden sich im Gesicht, im Dekolleté und Schulterbereich — etwa 300 pro cm². Eigentlich haben diese Talgdrüsen eine wichtige Aufgabe. Sie erzeugen spezielle Fette, die auf der Haut eine glättende Schutzschicht bilden. Wird jedoch die Öffnung einer dieser Talgdrüsen durch Schmutz, verklebte Hautzellen o.ä. verstopft, staut sich der Talg und es bildet sich ein Mitesser. In diesem Mitesser können sich bestimmte Hautbakterien (Propioni bacterium acnes) festsetzen, die zu einer Entzündung der Talgdrüse führen. Sie schwillt und rötet sich, es kommt zur Eiterbildung, und schon haben Sie die unschöne Bescherung — einen lästigen Pickel.
Wie Pickel wieder gehen?
Auch wenn Ihnen die Werbung oft »wahre Wunder« verspricht — Pickel und Mitesser lassen sich nicht einfach über Nacht aus der Welt schaffen. Aber mit den richtigen Pflegemaßnahmen und etwas Ausdauer bekommen Sie das Pickelproblem in den Griff. Eine wichtige Rolle spielt dabei der sogenannte Säureschutzmantel der Haut mit dem pH-Wert 5,5 — unser natürliches Schutzsystem gegen schädliche Umwelteinflüsse und Krankheitserreger. Der saure pH-Wert 5,5 verhindert, dass sich schädliche Bakterien auf der Haut vermehren und schützt so vor Infektionen. Weil herkömmliche Seife dieses ökologische Schutzsystem zerstört, raten Hautärzte bei unreiner Haut zu einer seifenfreien schützt so schon [sic!] beim Waschen auf biologische Weise gegen Akne-Bakterien (Propioni bacterium acnes). So haben Pickel keine Chance!
[source: body label]
English translation (don’t use without credit):
sebamed Clear Face Care Gel is the ideal dermatologist-approved basic moisturiser for acne, blackheads, and blemished skin. The skin-identical pH of 5,5 stabilises the natural acid mantle of the epidermis, protects biologically against acne-causing bacteria, and thus effectively prevents new pimples.
How do pimples form?
Your skin is densely occupied with tiny sebaceous glands. The majority of them is found on the face, décolleté, and shoulders — around 300 per cm². In theory, these oil glands have an important function. They produce special fats which form a smoothing protection layer on the skin. If the opening of one such pore gets clogged with dirt, dead skin cells, etc., though, the sebum stows, and a blackhead forms. In this blackhead, certain skin bacteria (Propioni bacterium acnes) can get trapped, which lead to an inflammation of the oil gland. It swells and reddens, gets filled with pus, and there it is — an annoying pimple.
How do pimples go away?
Even though ads often promise you »wonders« — pimples and blackheads won’t disappear overnight. But with the right skincare measures and a bit of endurance, you can get a grip on the pimple problem. An important role in this play the so-called acid mantle of the epidermis with a pH of 5,5 — our natural protection system against harmful environmental influences and germs. The sour pH of 5,5 prevents bacteria to breed on the skin and thus protects against infections. Because common soap destroys this ecological protection system, dermatologists recommend [soap-free cleansers to be used on; sic!] blemished skin. Simply by washing correctly, you already protect your skin in a biological way against acne bacteria (Propioni bacterium acnes). That way, pimples stand no chance!
Is it even possible to love this moisturiser even more? I mean, the formula is already pretty neat, it comes in a tub, which means the actives won’t evaporate as soon as you open the product, the pice is beyond awesome — and now this press text.
I love how they don’t even actively endorse their own products, but that they actually give general advice on how to build yourself an effective anti-acne routine — cue pH and endurance. Those two things are what makes the real difference in your skincare.
I can’t show you now, as I’ve thrown the packaging away already, but on the backside of the leaflet was a pH scale on which were highlighted the healthy range for skin, where common soap products usually are, and what pH sebamed’s products have. Genius, if you ask me!
I’ve heard a lot of people complain about the packaging being a cheap plastic tube with a very basic design — I’d like to remind those people that this whole line is less than 20€, and is intended to be used as sort of a »starting platform« off of which you launch into the vast depths of Skincare Space to discover more nourishing and protecting products, with skin whose most fundamental needs have already been provided for.
Okay, in less flowery words now: This is a very basic, but very affordable, and outstandingly well-fomulated skincare line. You can’t well expect the company to sell its products in the ultra-fancy glass jars that for example Oromovicza uses (apart from the fact that Oromovicza can’t hold a candle to sebamed, and the fact that you don’t shell out money for jar packaging if you know anything about skincare — more on that to come). Just be happy that it comes in a tube and is dirt cheap.
I’ve used it consistently for two months now, and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve found my holy grail moisturiser. It just does the job perfectly for me — it delivers enough hydration, it doesn’t leave an overly sweaty shine, it doesn’t ball up underneath my sunscreen, and it’s pretty affordable! (I usually get them in bulks of six during sales and always save at least 10€.) Beware, though — it does smell pretty chemical.
To be quite honest with you, this product is one of a kind; I’ve never encountered anything with such a clean and beautiful formulation, and yet so cosmetically elegant — even back in the day when I did everything to mattify that oil field of a face of mine. I can only assume that the closest you can get to this texture-wise is using pure (or watered-down) aloe vera juice as moisturiser, but then you would be missing out on a bunch of truly exciting ingredients that can help lighten hyperpigmentation (or »acne scars«, as the condition is more commonly known — although those red/brown spots aren’t actual scars), and increase your skin’s quality overall. I’d strongly recommend getting a tube of this if you’re oily, combination, prone to CCs (closed comedones) from using too heavy products, or just on the hunt for a summer moisturiser that doesn’t feel like you’ve put a wool blanket over your face.
√ pH 5,5 (although the pH doesn’t really matter as much with moisturisers as it does with cleansers and toners)
√ notable ingredients: aloe vera gel, propylene glycol, glycerin, sorbitol, and sodium hyaluronate to hydrate the skin, panthenol and allantoin to calm it down
√ no silicones or petrochemical ingredients (which would render the product rather heavy and greasy)
√ no alcohol denat.
√ non-fragranced (doesn’t smell good, but it dissipates immediately upon application)
√ not tested on animals
√ dries down to a skin-like finish; doesn’t leave a film (as some aloe-based products tend to do)
~ stupidly hard to get one’s hands on (FeelUnique.com is a great tip for people who can’t get it in-store!)
√ great price-size ratio (if you manage to get it at the same price I did)
√ outstanding price-performance ratio
Résumé: Believe me when I say that I have tried to find something negative about this product, but there simply isn’t. It serves remarkably well to the needs of oily and combo-oily skins prone to sensitivity, but might be too little moisturising on its own for anybody drier than that. Also, you should maybe stay away from it if you have known aloe allergies, or can’t tolerate glycols or phenoxyethanol — just don’t buy it if you know you don’t react well to one or more of the ingredients. Duh.
Has anyone else found a holy grail product through r/ScA recommentations?
This post doesn’t contain any affiliate links. Affiliate links and PR samples on PALE AS F∗CK are always marked with one (∗) and two (∗∗) asterisks, respectively.