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This hybrid lotion and spot treatment helps me keep my adult acne under control

INSIDER logoINSIDER 3/26/2020 Julia Guerra
© Osea/Facebook
  • OSEA Malibu is a plant-based skincare company that uses natural ingredients from the ocean and the earth.
  • I swear by the brand's acne treatment, The Blemish Balm ($48), which is a "complexion control" lotion that helps balance the skin by both preventing and treating acne.
  • The lightweight formula can be massaged all over the face or used as a spot treatment, and it even acts as a smoothing primer for makeup.
  • It works best for people with oily or combination skin since it has a mattifying effect when used all over. If you have dry skin, you may want to stick to using this as a spot treatment.

When I was a teenager, I naively believed breakouts were something you grew out of; that once puberty was behind me, forehead pimples would be, too. Wrong.

I've been at odds with acne-prone skin since middle school, and over a decade later, I've tried and tossed my fair share of drugstore products and highly rated Sephora picks that failed to keep my now 28-year-old skin clear. But then I was introduced to the OSEA Malibu Blemish Balm, aka magic in a two-ounce bottle.

Blemish Balm is a "complexion control" lotion aimed at rebalancing the skin and both preventing and treating acne. It's a lightweight, creamy formula that doesn't feel heavy on the skin or take forever to absorb, and can be used as a spot treatment or massaged all over the face as part of your morning and nighttime skincare routines.

The ingredients

The Blemish Balm was formulated specifically for oily and acne-prone skin as a way to prevent and treat blemishes. It uses natural ingredients to target problem areas, prevent sebum build-up (which can cause acne), and protect against irritants and other environmental stressors.

Tea tree oil is one of its star ingredients because it contains anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, "both of which can be helpful for acne," NYC dermatologist Dr. Hadley King tells INSIDER. "It has antifungal and antiviral properties as well."

The ingredients list also includes juniper leaf, rosemary, white thyme, jojoba, grapeseed, and other essential oils, as well as three varieties of organic seaweed rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fatty acids. The formula also contains probiotic ingredients, which support the microbiome and reduce acne, according to Dr. King.

How to use the OSEA Blemish Balm

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The Blemish Balm is a versatile lotion that can be applied as a facial moisturizer, spot treatment, and even a soothing post-shave treatment or makeup prmer.

As a spot treatment, you can apply the balm with clean, dry fingers on an as-needed basis, up to every 2-3 hours.

"Plant botanicals of Rosemary, Tea Tree and Thyme are naturally antibacterial and Rosemary has the added bonus of helping to relieve post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation to reduce any signs of your breakout," OSEA's senior global educator, Nicholle Bertino, tells INSIDER. " [The formula] reduces inflammation and hyperpigmentation while naturally killing bacteria, without drying your skin."

To use as a moisturizer, Bertino suggests applying two to three pumps in gentle, upward, wave-like strokes once in the morning and once at night post-cleansing, toning, or serum application. As an all-over facial treatment, the botanicals work together to provide an antibacterial effect that helps prevent and heal acne, while three kinds of seaweed enhance your natural glow, hydration levels, and stimulate collagen production.

My experience

I was hesitant to use the treatment all over my face (note: you should always spot-test a new product to make sure it doesn't irritate your skin), so rather than go all-in, I divided one pump over rogue pimples and clusters of breakouts before bed. I was impressed by the degree of minimization that took place just overnight. My blemishes shrunk and my skin didn't feel dry or crusty.

After a few weeks of the same routine, I felt comfortable massaging the product over my face in an upward, circular motion post-morning cleanse. These days the balm is a staple in my routine: I use it as a spot-treatment at night and a moisturizer in the morning. Unlike other moisturizers that absorb into the skin without a trace, the Blemish Balm has a mattifying effect, which is great for oily skin types and for creating a smooth canvas for seamless makeup application. If you have dry skin, it's probably best to reserve this as a spot treatment.

The bottom line

Finding the right acne treatment can be a lengthy and expensive process. And while there are a handful of creams, lotions, and patches that get the job done, I've yet to find a product that works as well as the OSEA Blemish Balm. It's lightweight, absorbs quickly, and doesn't leave my skin totally parched.

Obviously $48 for 2 oz of product isn't exactly thrifty, but a little goes a long way. As long as you're not drowning your face in product, one bottle can last for a couple of months.

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