Along with "finish your veggies," one of the most memorable (nagging) nuggets of wisdom my mother imparted during my adolescence was "don't pick at your face."  Of course, this advice is not some unique family secret for the key to clear skin.  You have surely heard warnings that picking your face will a) enlarge pores, b) exacerbate a breakout, c) create scars, or d) all of the above.  So, imagine my surprise when I read the instructions for Renee Rouleau Daytime Blemish Gel ($36.50), which advised to properly care for a blemish by squeezing out the infection!

When you see the phrase "blemish gel" on a product, you might assume you are getting a topical spot treatment that both dries out and heals troubled skin.  Not so for Renee Rouleau.  The main purpose of this particular gel is to prevent dirt and debris from getting into a blemish opening.  Renee Rouleau instructs that after an infection has risen to the surface, you should squeeze the surrounding skin until the infection comes out (but remember the rule: three strikes and it's you who are out).  Then you are meant to apply the gel, which acts as damage control.

Does this sound counter-intuitive to anyone else?  It appears that Renee Rouleau's so-called "blemish gel" is not targeted for blemishes at all, but rather intended to treat the redness that lingers after sqeezing.  Unlike drying spot treatments, which sometimes zap the nearby skin as well as the blemish, this gel will not make skin feel dry or peel.  It forms a healing seal over the spot, blocking pollutants and reducing the post-breakout red mark.  But, this red mark is the result of squeezing, which was under the guidance of Renee Rouleau.  Understand the logic?  Me neither.

You can't say I didn't give Renee Rouleau a fighting chance.  I shared the blemish gel with not one, but three, other people, and each wholeheartedly declared their efforts futile.  Though I have a feeling each tester was expecting the Daytime Blemish Gel to perform as other acne spot treatments do, by nipping the infection in the bud, I, for one, did use the gel as directed. Though I was hoping for an immediate calming of the irritated skin I had just been instructed to squeeze, the redness refused to fade, and my skin was left with a thin residue smelling of menthol.

The watery formula won't clog, dry, or irritate your skin, but it also won't produce miracles for your acne.  A low dose of salicylic acid helps dissolve cells blocking the pore and purifies toxins within the pore.  The gel's combination of dipotassium glycyrrhizinate, a calming molecule from licorice, and green tea, work in tandem to soothe signs of redness. While tea tree oil keeps pores clear of bacteria, soluble beta glucan supports skin's self-repair processes.

Perhaps Renee Rouleau's treatment would be worthy of a try on one of those monster zits that lead to a volcanic eruption, but for every day spot treatment, I'd forego both squeezing and relying on this gel for any drastic improvement.