Hello. My name is Gina, I am 27 years old and I still get acne. (Come on. I can’t be the only one, right? Right?)
Whenever a nasty blemish finds its way to my skin I grab my trusted vial of tea tree oil. But sometimes I have somewhere important to be the next day and I need a stronger solution that will make that blemish go away even faster. Enter Santalia’s Intensive Spot Treatment. This beauty product surprisingly uses sandalwood instead of tea tree to calm irritations and combat bacteria, as well as 2 percent salicylic acid.
What I like about this product is its soothing nature. The go-to ingredient in most store-bought acne treatments—benzoyl peroxide—leaves my skin feeling very dry and flaky. This product does not have that effect, which may have something to do with the remaining ingredients in the Santalia formula: Kakadu plum, a rich source of vitamin C; witch hazel, a natural astringent; and lemon myrtle extract, a popular extract for acne and oily skin. But don’t let its soothing nature fool you into thinking it’s not a strong acne fighter. The Santalia formula effectively reduced the size of my blemishes overnight: salicylic acid decreases inflammation and onion extract (yes, onion extract!) can help combat scarring, according to the website.
Unlike most spot treatments I have tried, this product is a gel, not a cream. Be careful when using this product—the gel comes out of the squeeze bottle very fast and you only need to use a little at a time.
Its use of salicylic acid may be an area of concern for some people, as it scores a 4 on the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. In my opinion, salicylic acid is a better choice for acne emergencies than benzoyl peroxide, the active ingredient in mainstream acne treatment brands such as Proactive and Neutrogena. In low concentrations, salicylic acid is gentler on my skin and it doesn’t have the bleaching effect on clothes like benzoyl peroxide.
Santalia’s use of sandalwood for skin first surprised me, but then I discovered that sandalwood is actually an excellent skin healer, and that the company’s entire line of skin-care products is based on this ancient herb. Recent research shows that sandalwood oil is more effective at controlling bacteria and stopping inflammation than other botanical extracts or essential oils, according to the company’s website. Interesting!
Try this spot treatment for $28; click here to buy it online.
Gina DeBacker is the assistant editor at Mother Earth Living. She loves that part of her job entails testing beauty products enriched with natural ingredients.