If there’s anything you can say with absolutely certainty about Aveda, it’s that they are organic. Aveda (pronounced ah-VAY-dah) was founded in 1978 by Minnesota entrepreneur Horst Rechelbacher, who had learned about the benefits of Ayurveda on a trip to India. Beginning his product line with a clove shampoo he mixed in his kitchen sink. In less than 20 years, Rechelbacher’s company was reaping 1/3 of a billion dollars a year in sales, and he sold it to cosmetics giant Esteé Lauder. The uniquely natural qualities of Aveda products have been preserved as Aveda is still run as a separate company.
Aveda makes three products for acne. Two of them great. One of them is in our humble opinion not so great and something we really don’t recommend. Let’s look at them one by one.
Aveda Outer Peace Acne Relief Lotion
Aveda’s Outer Peace Acne Relief Lotion is the product we like the most. Like some of the other products we have discussed lately, it contains 0.5% BHA (salicylic acid). BHA treats whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples. It breaks up the glue-like mass of excessive skin oil and ceramides released by skin cells as they die on the surface of the skin. This brings natural color back to the skin, produces a smooth matte texture on the surface of the skin, and helps to open pores. Because Aveda Outer Peace Acne Relief Lotion only contains 0.5% BHA, there is no danger of removing too much skin at once so you don’t have to worry about neutralizing pads or rinsing your skin within a certain number of minutes. Sure, you would get faster fading of blemishes if you used a product with a higher concentration of salicylic acid, but this product is completely safe for your skin no matter how you apply it. (Just be sure not to get it in your eyes.)
This Aveda product also contains some Ayurvedic botanicals you don’t get in competing brands. One of the herbs used to make this lotion is Phyllanthus emblica, which is also known as Indian gooseberry or emblica. An edible fruit, emblica is used in Ayurvedic medicine to reduce inflammation and irritation. The Outer Peace Acne Relief Lotion also contains Boswellia serrata, more commonly known as frankincense. The scent of frankincense is used to relieve depression and the herb itself treats inflammation caused by bacterial infection.
Aveda Outer Peace Acne Spot Relief
Aveda Outer Peace Acne Spot Relief is another Aveda product we recommend. The Spot Relief product works with the power of 2% salicylic acid (BHA) at the perfect pH of 3.9, allowing maximum exfoliation of dead skin that clogs pores with minimum irritation or inflammation that stronger products can cause. It is a great spot treatment for whiteheads and blackheads that you could keep on hand for “acne emergencies” when you have at least 48 hours to wait for the whitehead or blackhead to disappear. Just apply the product, wait, and the blemish should fall out of the skin after it is cleansed.
While we recommend Aveda Outer Peace Acne Spot Relief, we don’t necessarily think it’s perfect. At $29.50 for 1/2 of a fluid ounce (15 ml), it’s a little pricey for a product that is mostly just salicylic acid. And if you have dry or sensitive skin, the alcohol in the formula might stimulate oil production that replaces the blemish shortly after the product removes it. (This is not the only product that works in a way that keeps you needing the product.) It contains linalool that can cause inflammation of the skin, but emblica and frankincense that can relieve it. Still, if you use other Aveda products, this is a good product to have on hand for “blackhead emergencies” that won’t require to make a special trip to another cosmetics counter to buy.
Aveda Outer Peace Acne Relief Pads
Aveda Outer Peace Acne Relief pads are the product we’re not wild about. These pads contain 1.5% salicylic acid (BHA). That’s more than enough salicylic acid to break up dead skin cells that make your healthy skin look gray and that keep the skin around blackheads and whiteheads tight. Unfortunately, the salicylic acid is at a pH of about 5.5 (at least in the sample we tested), and that’s just too high for it to break of up dead skin. The salicylic acid in the pads can still relieve redness and inflammation, and the action of rubbing the pads across the skin also breaks up whiteheads and blackheads, but then there’s the problem of alcohol. Next to water, alcohol is the second-listed ingredient for the pads. Alcohol dries out the skin—and the skin repairs itself by making still more oil. While alcohol is great from the company’s perspective, since it both removes skin oils and stimulates the production of more skin oils, it’s an ingredient you need to avoid unless you have extremely dry skin—in which case you probably wouldn’t be using this product anyway.
What about other Aveda products for people who have acne?
Aveda Outer Peace Cooling Mask is an effective way to take care of “shiny face” for a few days by removing excessive skin oil. There’s no doubt that the product works for removing excessive skin oil, although it doesn’t contain any ingredients for fighting acne. At $37 per application, however, most people find it a little expensive.
Aveda Charged Radiance Moisturizing Masque is a great moisturizing treatment for dry skin. It contains glycerin for adding moisture and lycopene for adding antioxidants to the skin that usually are in short supply. The longer you leave it on your skin, the better it will work, and you will probably want to be sure to get your money’s worth, as each application of the moisturizing mask costs $29 plus tax.
We want to like Aveda. They do a lot to source their botanical ingredients ethically, not only ensuring that they meet high standards for purity and verifying that they are grown organically, but also compensating farmers in India for the fair value of their herbs. As we have positive recommendations to make about Aveda, we will add them in the comments section for this article.