You’ve been stressing and slaving away all week, holding out for the weekend, only to find that by the time Friday’s rolled around the only company you’ll be keeping is that of Mr Pimple. Dialling 999, you’re redirected to Dermalogica’s emergency services – a targeted gel that claims to wipe out spot-causing bacteria deep within the pores and at a rapid rate. But does the hit squad live up to the hype or is it time they re-recruited? We investigate the main team players.

The Claims

With just a few dabs of this anti-inflammatory concentrate, the Dermalogica formula promises to ‘wipe out pimple-causing bacteria deep within the pore, to clear your breakout fast.’

The Science Behind the Bottle 


Niacinamide, also going by the name of vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid, has been shown to help prevent our skin from losing moisture and to stimulate microcirculation, which could help with the healing process of a blemish. As well as targeting the spot itself, niacinamide helps to reduce the red marks (post-inflammatory hypopigmentation) left behind afterwards. Add in the sebostatic and anti-inflammatory activity and niacinamide can provide a triple threat against spots and blemishes! Used over a period of two to four weeks, niacinamide can also help to reduce sebum production (the natural oily secretion) that can block pores and feed bacteria, if produced in excess. Research has also shown that at a concentration of 4-5%, niacinamide has been found to be as effective at reducing inflammation associated with spots as a topical antibiotic (1% clindamycin). Although it’s the first active ingredient featured on the ingredients list, we would like to know the exact concentration of Niacinamide used, before we can give it our full support. 


Sulfur may conjure up images of rotting eggs and you may be wondering what it is doing in our skincare, but it is in fact ‘keratolytic’. Keratin is a component of skin and –lytic means to break down, so sulfur allows the skin to shed at a faster rate than normal, to help gently unblock pores. It also boasts antibacterial properties, so can kill acne-causing bacteria, both reducing existing spots and reducing the likelihood of blemishes in the future.

Plant extracts and oils

As well as making this product sound more natural and mother-earth worthy, including plant extracts in the formula goes beyond mere marketing benefits. They may help to sooth the skin and calm irritation, working much in the same way as Vitamin B3, encouraging the retention of moisture and balancing out other, more drying ingredients. ‘Camellia Sinensis leaf extract’ comes from Green Tea Leaves and in herbal preparations its antioxidant benefits are traditionally believed to be anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, helping to reduce the size and redness of unwanted blemishes. The formula also contains tea tree oil and licorice root extract to similar effect, which go by the nerdy alter egos of ‘Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil’ and ‘Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract’, respectively.

Cetyl Alcohol 

This is used as an added moisturizer to prevent the treated area becoming too rough or scaly, it targets itching and flaking and also allows the ingredients to mix together whilst thickening the gel so it won’t run straight through your fingers!

The Verdict

For the odd little breakout, it appears to have a good combination of spot-fighting ingredients whilst not being overly harsh or irritating, encouraging the skins natural healing processes and preventing scarring. The reviews generally appear to support its claims, however for £13.10, we were hoping for a little something more exciting as it doesn’t contain some of the more well established anti-acne ingredients such as salicylic acid. If you find that you have recurrent, diffuse, large red, cystic acne and that topical preparations are not helping then you should always consult your doctor for further help.

Click here to get hold of Breakout Clearing Emergency Spot Fix.

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Water / Aqua / Eau, Niacinamide, Butylene Glycol, PEG-8, Sulfur, Magnolia Kobus Bark Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Citrus Grandis Fruit Extract, Thujopsis Dolabrata Branch Extract, Cetyl Alcohol, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyl Dimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polysorbate 80, Glyceryl Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract, Porphyra Umbilicalis Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil, Xanthan Gum, Citral, Limonene, Disodium EDTA, Linalool, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891)