Ever had one of those monster blemishes that goes through a full life cycle on your face? After tunneling to the surface and leaving a surge of soreness in its wake, the blemish can only go downhill (and not in a good way). Whether its fate leads to unsightly blockage or ill-advised popping, your face is guaranteed to sport a lingering red spot. What if you could not only cover the irritated blemish but also clear it up for good with the use of one magic product? This is the implicit agreement I entered into when starting my trial of Dr. Brandt Blemishes No More Spot Blotter & Concealer. With its promise to camouflage, dry, and protect against acne, I figured I would scare off any monster blemish that dared to cross my face.

Instead, my monsters made themselves at home. After tapping the concealer on one dormant mound and a few ruddy vestiges, my skin looked no clearer, both under immediate inspection and hours later. Although the applicator is a smart rubber tip that prevents the need for rubbing in with your fingers (as Revlon's Age Defying Spa Concealer requires), I could not get the solution to stay in place. Like a liquid foundation, the concealer's consistency is so runny and coverage so sheer that my areas of redness remained exposed. Once the concealer had dried into a cakey layer, its presence on my skin was obvious.

And therein lies the biggest problem- this concealer only comes in one shade. No matter how neutral a color is, there are simply too many skin tones in the world to presume that one universal product will match them all. Dr. Brandt's choice of color is far too orangey for my fair skin, though dabbing the solution repeatedly diffuses the pigments (which come from iron oxides). Nonetheless, I think it would be rare to find a complexion that complements this concealer perfectly, which is the whole point of a "concealer" after all, is it not?

But back to the monster blemishes. Dr. Brandt makes much ado about some "advanced blemish fighting complex" called Active Impurity Shield, which is charged with the power of removing dead skin cells, fighting bacterial growth, and controlling sebum production. Without additional information about this so-called shield, I can only say from first-hand experience that it does seem to ward off new breakouts where it is applied, largely due to a small amount of salicylic acid. I can also attest to reduced oiliness, thanks to the encrusting effect which comes from kaolin clay. Also, bisabolol, the primary component of the essential oil extracted from chamomile, can effectively promote the skin's healing process thanks to its high concentration of panthenol. And linseed seed extract has anti-inflammatory properties that may bring down redness.

The remainder of claims about the formula are tenuous at best. According to Dr. Brandt, palmitoyl hexapeptide-26 is a group of linked amino acids that speeds the improvement of active acne. This amino acid complex appears in every product in Dr. Brandt's "Blemishes No More" range, though objective information and use of this ingredient apart from Dr. Brandt are scarce. Likewise, Norway spruce bud extract doesn't appear to have any proven benefits but is a favorite of our good doctor.

The clinical study that Dr. Brandt shares with us reveals that 100% of participants (25 women 15-40 years old) reported a reduction in acne/blemishes "after four weeks of treatment." Personally, I've never known a blemish to linger longer than a week or so. Should we really be impressed that Dr. Brandt's concealer managed to zap a zit after a full month? The rest of the study findings showed a 100% reduction in clogged pores and improvement in skin texture, as well as 96% reduction in sebum/inflammation- which seems odd since the concealer is meant to be a spot treatment, applied to affected areas only. So, how could it improve the texture of the entire face?

To say I'm not sold on Dr. Brandt's concealer would be an understatement. If anything, it can be used overnight to treat thriving acne in action. This way (if you don't care how blotchy your face is at bedtime), you can apply the concealer in potent clumps rather than a thin, yet visible, veil. But considering the final five parabens that drag Dr. Brandt's name through the mud, you might consider slaying your monster blemish with a different sword.


Water (aqua), kaolin, titanium dioxide (ci 77891), magnesium aluminum silicate, triheptanoin, butylene glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate, glycerin, lecithin, silanediol salicylate, vp/eicosene copolymer, picea excelsa bud extract, c12-16 alcohols, palmitic acid, glyceryl stearate citrate, silica dimethyl silylate, palmitoyl hexapeptide-26, glyceryl caprylate, polyglyceryl-3-stearate, iron oxide (ci 77492), xanthan gum, bisabolol, ceteareth-20, linum usitatissimum (linseed) seed extract, salicylic acid, phenoxyethanol, iron oxide (ci 77491), iron oxide (ci 77499), glycine soja (soybean) sterols, hydroxycinnamic acid, methylparaben, alumina, ethylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, triethoxycaprylylsilane, sodium hydroxide