Beauty,  face care,  product review,  skin care,  vegetarian

Product review: Alba Botanica Natural Acne Dote Invisible Treatment Gel

Today I’m finishing off a three-part series of reviews on a trio of Alba Botanica acne products I used up this month. Friday I reviewed the regular wash, yesterday I showed you the scrub, and today I’m posting a review on the treatment gel.(Apologies for the crappy old picture, and shame on me for tossing the carton before checking my camera card to see if the picture turned out okay. You can tell I took this picture several months ago, when I was still learning.)

The product: Alba Botanica Natural Acne Dote Deep Pore Wash; $10

The claim: 2% salycylic acid derived from willow bark deep cleans pores. 65% of testers saw clearer skin in the morning when used overnight. (From their website)

I tried it: Since I loved the Acne Dote pore wash and scrub so much, I thought this spot treatment would be perfect for me. Despite trying to stick to a healthy diet and regular skincare regimen, I do get the occasional spot, and they always show up at the worst times, so I was really hoping to score a spot treatment that could kill a zit overnight.

Instead, I got a minor skin disaster. Surprised? You might be if you read my glowing reviews of the wash and scrub! Before I go on, I do feel the need to tell you that I’ve looked up reviews for this product on the Alba Botanica website, on, and on Makeup Alley; and while there are a couple of bad reviews, most people seem to love this product. So you need to take what I say below with a grain of salt and realize that this is merely my personal experience, and this product may work very differently for another person! :)

Here’s the deal: this stuff will suck the life out of a zit overnight like nothing I’ve ever tried. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. If you’ve ever used a spot treatment gel you know how they work; you dab a tiny bit on zits and other trouble spots. When I get up in the AM, I can see exactly where I’ve dabbed the gel, because I have red, dry, flaking spots! Did I mention they’re flaky? I don’t have words to describe how lizard-y and icky I feel. Makeup makes the flaky spots even more visible; even a thick coat of creamy moisturizer can’t help them. They’re more like scabs.

And of course, if you know anything about skincare, you know that when the skin gets super-dry, it ramps up oil production to compensate…which means that a few days later, by the time the scab is finally gone and the surrounding dryness is healing up, I tend to get a new breakout in the same spot.

This product goes on clear, which is awesome, but it stings like crazy. I’ve tried using it in conjunction with my other Acne Dote products, with gentle cleansers, and finally with nothing more than a splash of warm water, thinking perhaps it was just the layering of so many acne products that was drying out my skin. It doesn’t matter. From the first dab to the last, this stuff dries out my skin instantly and terribly.

I’m honestly scratching my head at the number of positive reviews I’ve read, because it wasn’t like I was using this on a part of my face that tends to be dry. This is my T-zone, site of the world’s largest oil slick come a warm summer afternoon if I haven’t taken precautionary measures. I used to use the Clean & Clear spot treatment without ever experiencing this sort of drying issue, so I’m not really sure why this doesn’t work for me, especially considering how well the other Acne Dote products have performed for me.

One last note: this product is 100% vegetarian and is Leaping Bunny certified.

My verdict: Fail! I hate to say it, because I do love Alba Botanica, but they really let me down with this product. Perhaps it just works poorly for me and other people would love it, but I certainly won’t repurchase it in the future.


  • Yun, The Polish Hideout

    Sorry this didn’t work out for you. Thanks for your honest review. I’m always on the lookout for stuff to help with my acne. :-)

    ~ Yun

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