Sebamed Clear Face Gel Review: A Savior When Nothing Works
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Ah, Sebamed Clear Face Gel. The thing that was my saving grace in times of turmoil, and what actually sparked my interest in learning about how moisturizers work. Check how many times I repurchased this bad boy.
When I discovered this moisturizer I was having AWFUL breakouts, and felt like I had tried every product under the sun with no luck. Everything, and I mean everything, was either giving me acne, irritating my face, or making my skin red and splotchy.
Randomly came across some commentary online where people were recommending Sebamed Clear Face Gel for those that absolutely can’t stand any moisturizers. I figured “eh, why the hell the not?”
Tried it, and lo and behold: no breakouts. A week later everything was looking significantly more “calm.” Needless to say, this sparked my curiosity — why, of all the dozens of moisturizers I tried, did this one work? What the hell was in this magic potion that actually sat well with my skin?
Let’s break down the ingredients and find out!
Table of Contents
Ingredients and Benefits.
Le magic sauces’ full ingredient list.
Aqua (Water), Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Sodium Carbomer, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
A.k.a. aloe vera. This photo might ring a bell for some of you: “There are two kinds of people in this world.”
Indeed, for most people it’s that thing to slather on after the sun has cooked them like a lobster. Don’t worry, I know that doesn’t apply to you because you’re being diligent about daily sunscreen use. 🙂 Right? *crazy girlfriend stare*
Aloe vera is a natural ingredient that’s been used to treat skin for over 3,500 years. It’s a great source of antioxidants and has healing, moisturizing, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and lightening effects. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Some studies have even shown it effectively treats psoriasis. (6, 7, 8, 9) I’ve had the lovely opportunity of dealing with psoriasis in the past (sarcasm). Here’s what it looks like in case you’re wondering. Yes, it is painful.
A provitamin of b5 that moisturizes the skin via humectant properties. It helps maintain a healthy stratum corneum (outer most layer of skin) by promoting keratinocyte differentiation, and preventing transepidermal water loss (TEWL). (10, 11, 12)
Preliminary studies on mice have also shown it effectively treats burn wounds. (13) But unless you’re a mouse, it’d take that information with a grain of salt.
It may also be an effective dermatitis treatment. (14) I’m such an unlucky n00b, I’ve had experience with that too….
A.k.a hyaluronic acid. A natural part of skin that plays a crucial role in speeding up the wound healing process, and applied topically hydrates the skin by pulling water from the atmosphere and dermis. (15, 16, 17, 18) It’s one of the most powerful humectants available today, capable of holding 1000 times it’s water weight!
Soothes dry irritated skin, and has moisturizing and exfoliating properties.(19) A couple mice studies have also shown it helps heal wounds. (20) But again, you’re not a micey mice! So don’t take that information at face value.
So what makes this formula so great?
To answer the question above: “what the hell is in this magic potion?” — it isn’t so much what’s in the formula, as much as it is what’s not.
In other words, this is such a basic moisturizer that it’s hard to imagine it would realistically cause problems for anyone. (Still important to patch test though). It doesn’t even include any oils or emulsifiers! Something 99% of products out there can’t claim.
Naturally, after using this gel and seeing my skin calm down significantly, I began thinking, “either all oils or emulsifiers break me out, or only some do.” Which led me to start investigating.
If you find yourself in this position and would like to know what ingredients you’re sensitive to, the next step would be to try a moisturizer without oils, but with emulsifiers. Generally speaking, these will be gel based ones. From here, you can begin pinpointing which ingredients you’re sensitive to by process of elimination.
Long story short, that’s what I did and how I discovered I had two malassezia induced skin conditions (pityrosporum folliculitis and seborrheic dermatitis). If those sound scary or confusing, it just basically means my skin flairs up or breaks out any time I put fatty acids with carbon chain lengths between 11 and 24 on it. Problem is, upwards of 95% of moisturizers out there contain some form a problematic fatty acid via an oil or isolated ingredient.
UPDATE 5/16/17: I have written a massive guide on fungal skin issues (for example, malassezia folliculitis a.k.a. fungal acne, seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis (eczema), psoriasis, dandruff, tinea versicolor etc.) and how to treat them. It can be found here. If you have incredibly stubborn acne, are an adult, or breakout from EVERYTHING. I highly recommend you read that article!
When would Sebamed Clear Face Gel be a good option?
In two scenarios:
1. You absolutely breakout from everything. And I mean EVERYTHING.
2. As a placeholder moisturizer to use while doing some detective work to figure out what ingredients you’re sensitive to.
Mind you, if you’re perfectly happy with this moisturizer, and find it hydrating enough, then by all means — keep using it! Like I always say: if it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it.
With that said, if you’re like me and this moisturizer doesn’t provide quite enough hydration (my skin is very dry), then use it as placeholder until you find something better.
UPDATE 8/4/17: if you find that Sebamed Gel isn’t moisturizing enough on it’s own, I HIGHLY recommend adding a few drops of squalane to it. This is my all-time favorite oil and it’s VERY unlikely to cause breakouts or aggravate any skin type including those with sensitivities to malassezia because it’s a natural part of human sebum.
Squalane oil also helps reduce the stickiness of sebamed gel. Kudos to u/svvaffles for the tip and sharing her before and after photos on r/skincareaddiction. She regularly uses squalane in her routine with sebamed gel!
Now let’s discuss how the Sebamed Clear Face Gel feels on the skin.
Application and Feel.
It goes on like a thick gooey water initially, but seemingly “melts” into a liquid before evaporating on the skin.
It’s hard to see it in the third photo, but it leaves the slightest sheen. It definitely has a slight tacky feeling to it once it’s dried. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of that sticky-ish feeling. But in this formula, it’s not overbearing at all like it is for example, in a gross goopy American sunscreen.
It smells a lot like CeraVe Baby, in other words, like fluffy vanilla cake packed into a lotion. (If that makes sense?)
Overall, it spreads well, feels good, and provides a minimal amount of hydration.
- Ingredients: 5/5
The Sebamed Clear Face Gel takes an absolutely minimalist approach by eliminating any potentially problematic ingredients that could cause acne flair ups. This is as barebones as it gets, as far as moisturizers are concerned. Notable ingredients include: Aloe Vera, Hyaluronic Acid, Panthenol, and Allantoin.
- Benefits: 5/5
Allows the skin to calm down if it’s been subjected to a ton of active ingredients or products, or is hyper-sensitive. One of the only moisturizers out there that can truly claim it will not cause breakouts for the majority of people. Ideal for those that absolutely cannot tolerate any moisturizers.
- Application: 5/5
Spreads easily, feels like a gooey water, and leaves the slightest tacky feeling behind. Not at all bothersome in my opinion, and I hate the tacky feeling of products.
- Packaging: 5/5
Simple packaging for a simple product. No complaints here.
- Value: 4/5
Ideally I would have liked this to be in a bigger container because it doesn’t very long.
- Overall: 4.8/5 (Highly recommend!)
This product is ideal for those that cannot tolerate any moisturizers. Its super basic formula is almost guaranteed to work on all skin types, and could prove to be a useful tool in determining why other products are breaking you out.
That does it for the Sebamed Clear Face Gel. Hope you’ve enjoyed this review! And keep fighting the hard battle, Skin Warrior! You will get there.
Tell you friends about this handy-dandy-detective gel!