by Jenn Rutsky
Over the past four weeks or so, I’ve been using the Desert Pea Refining Gel ($45) roughly every other day. First a little bit about myself: I’m 34, Caucasian, and have overall pretty good skin. On occasion, I get a pimple here or there, or a blackhead/whitehead. I have what I would describe as combination skin — my nose and chin tend to get oily, but my forehead and cheeks tend to be more on the dry side.
I was expecting the Desert Pea Refining Gel to reduce the size of my pores and eliminate pimples/blackheads/whiteheads. I don’t really think it has achieved any of these goals. I have been using it every other night after my shower. During my shower, I wash my face with a cleanser and use my knock-off Clarisonic (it’s now an Oil of Olay one, I’ve upgraded from my Conair one for those of you following my reviews). I would then put a light coating of the Desert Pea Refining Gel on my face. It says to use it as a spot treatment so I would use it in that way, but I’d also put it on most of my forehead, nose and cheeks, and chin, as those are areas where I’d like to reduce the size of my pores (avoiding sensitive skin around my eyes and lips). The product then encourages you to use a light moisturizer once the gel dries, and I always adhered to that advice.
I think my skin actually got worse by using this product — I did notice more frequent whiteheads and pimples than when I wasn’t using this product. It’s also a bit harsh on your skin, so for those with sensitive skin, I wouldn’t recommend this product.
Now, onto the science. The main ingredients in the Desert Pea Refining Gel are 2% vitamin B5 panthenol and 2% salicylic acid. So what in the world are those things? In cosmetics and ointments, vitamin B5 tends to be very common and is used as a skin penetrator. It tends to improve hydration, reduce itching, inflammation and accelerates healing! Woo hoo!
Now, onto that salicylic acid. Trivia fact for you, it's name originates from the willow tree, where it was originally taken from but now it can be produced synthetically and derived from other plants/fruits. It’s another ingredient commonly found in beauty/skin care treatments. It has been used since ancient times as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. It is commonly used today in lots of acne treatments. It is classified as a beta hydroxy acid or BHA, which are known to irritate the skin as well. When using any products with a BHA, you want to be careful not to get too much sun exposure, and you shouldn’t be using other strong products like retinols.
I don’t know why this product didn’t work for me. I believe I followed all the instructions to a tee. Just because it didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.