Rodan and Fields Unblemish Review: Can it Really Clear Adult Acne?

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Acne isn’t an easy condition to treat. There may be numerous products available that promise to leave you with pimple-free skin, but, unfortunately, many don’t actually work very well.

Why? Because in order to really treat acne, you need to go with a multifaceted approach. Not only should an effective anti-acne regime clear existing pimples and bacteria, but it should also control oil production, reduce inflammation, and prevent scarring.

That’s a lot to ask for, which is why we were a little apprehensive when we first heard about the Rodan + Fields Unblemish Regimen. So, in order to provide you with the best information possible, we decided to create this Rodan and Fields Unblemish review to see whether or not using Unblemish can really help with adult acne.

Who is Rodan + Fields?

Have you heard of Proactiv skincare? Rodan and Fields was started by the same two dermatologists back in 2000. The company has changed hands a couple of times since then (Estee Lauder owned it for a few years), but Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields are back in control once again, and business is better than ever. Their clever marketing strategy has helped with this, allowing individuals to sell Rodan and Fields products to friends and family members, although the products are available on the brand’s website too.

Rodan and Fields focuses on performance-led skincare. They offer a variety of different systems and products, each one designed to treat specific skin concerns, from the Reverse Regimen that targets discoloration to the Unblemish Regimen, which treats acne.

rodan and fields unblemish

What is the Rodan + Fields Unblemish Regimen?

The Rodan + Fields Unblemish regimen consists of four products that are sold both as a kit or individually. The line also includes a face mask that isn’t included in the kit, simply because it isn’t an essential part of this daily four-step routine, but can still bring about an improvement when used a few times a week.

How Do the Unblemish Products Work?

The products are designed to be used as a complete topical acne treatment, meaning that you won’t need to use any other skincare products. Each product in the regimen is clearly labeled with a number, depicting the order in which it should be used.


The Unblemish Refining Acne Wash

unblemish acne wash

When it comes to choosing a cleanser to use as part of your topical acne treatment, sulfur wash products are the way to go. Sulfur works in a similar way to benzoyl peroxide by unclogging the pores and destroying acne-causing bacteria [1], but without the side effects that benzoyl peroxide is infamous for.

In addition to containing colloidal sulfur, this Rodan + Fields cleanser is also formulated with salicylic acid – another ingredient that you definitely want in an acne cleanser. To prevent drying the skin out too much, you’ll also find hyaluronic acid and ceramides in this product.

Directions for use:

  • Moisten your skin with lukewarm water.
  • Then press a one-fourth amount onto your skin.
  • Proceed to massage gently with your fingertips (ensure to avoid your eye area) for 1-2 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
  • Use this product once daily and increase it to twice gradually. While doing so, pay attention to your frequency. 

The Unblemish Clarifying Toner

unblemish clarifying toner

After using the acne treatment sulfur wash, the next step in the Rodan + Fields Unblemish Regimen is the toner. This one contains glycolic acid – an alpha hydroxy acid that has gentle exfoliating effects, which keeps the pores clear and therefore prevents pimples from forming.

Just like the cleanser, the clarifying toner also contains hyaluronic acid for hydration (oily skin that’s dehydrated will only become oilier as a result), as well as rosemary extract, witch hazel, and green tea extract. Although it consists of some powerful ingredients, those with skin sensitivities could have huge problems with this formula – you may be best off looking for a toner that makes use of azelaic acid instead.

Directions for use:

  • The first step is to apply the Unblemish Clarifying Toner evenly on your face. You can choose cotton swabs or gauze pads.
  • After applying the toner, do not rinse off and let the toner dry on your skin.
  • Apply once regularly. Also, you can choose to increase the frequency to twice a day.

The Unblemish Dual Intensive Acne Treatment

Unblemish Dual Intensive Acne Treatment

Next up on the list is the Dual Intensive Acne Treatment. This is a pretty unique product – the container features two separate chambers, each one with their own unique solution. The point of this is to keep certain active ingredients apart until the last possible moment, to prevent them from interacting with each other in a negative way.

After mixing a couple of pumps from each chamber in your hand, you’ll have a solution that contains 2.5% active benzoyl peroxide, along with a variety of ceramides, vitamins and plant extracts. While the aloe and chamomile flower extract should help to keep your skin soothed, this is quite a hefty concentration of benzoyl peroxide, to the point where those who have sensitive skin may not be able to tolerate it.

Directions for use:

  • First, cleanse your skin properly before applying Unblemish Dual Intensive Acne Treatment.
  • Then dispense 1-2 pumps from the dual chamber and blend well. If you have oily skin, take one pump from each chamber. But if you have dry skin, take two pumps from each chamber.
  • Apply evenly over the entire face and skin.
  • Do not rinse off. 
  • Use once daily, then gradually increase the use to twice daily. But if you experience too much drying, reduce the frequency to once daily.

The Unblemish Invisible Matte Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Unblemish Invisible Matte Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30

The final step in the Rodan + Fields Unblemish line is the sunscreen. The brand’s SPF 20 products were quite popular a few years ago, so it’s good to see that they’ve upped the ante and gone with something a little stronger, especially since UV rays can seriously exacerbate spots.

This mattifying lotion also contains smart silica, which absorbs excess oil, as well as omega fatty acids and aloe vera to protect and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier. On paper, it’s a great product for oily and combination skin, with both skin types often experiencing breakouts from heavier sunscreen products.

Directions for use:

  • Apply one-tenth of The Unblemish Invisible Matte Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 evenly on your face and skin every morning.
  • Avoid using it if you have dry skin.

The Unblemish Clarifying Mask

Unblemish Clarifying Mask

Designed to be used two to three times a week, which is why it isn’t included in the daily kit, this face mask promises to make a significant difference to acne breakouts. 10% of this mask is made up of sulfur, but you’ll also find a variety of botanical extracts infused into this clay-based formula. The clay that they’ve picked is kaolin, which is known for the way in which it absorbs excess oil from the skin.

The Unblemish Power Up Special

unblemish power up special kit

If you really want to take your topical acne treatment to the next level, then Rodan + Fields offers a special kit called the Power Up Special. It combines the four products from the Unblemish family with the brand’s Pore Cleansing MD System.

As you know, keeping the pores clear is crucial to preventing breakouts. The Pore Cleansing System consists of a serum that breaks down excess oil, as well as an extraction tool with two specialist tips, one of which is designed specifically for blackheads.

We also did a review on other Rodan and Fields products. Be sure to check it out.


How to Know the Right Frequency for Your Skin?

A single Rodan and Fields Unblemish Kit will last for two months.Generally, anyone using any skincare product for the first time must wait at least a week before their skin improves and acne diminishes.

This clearly shows that the treatment won’t give you results at the speed of light. It takes time and you have to be patient, consistent and work out your frequency. 

With that said, below is a list of factors that you need to consider to know the right frequency for your skin: 

  • How often do you get acne? This is a vital factor to consider because everyone’s skin is different. Most people can get acne occasionally, and others every now and then.
  • Do you suffer any allergic reactions after applying the product a few times? If yes, you can reduce how frequently you use the Rodan and Fields Unblemish Products or stop it entirely.
  • What type of acne do you have? There are various types of acne. This includes blackheads, cystic acne, pimples, and blemishes. For each type of acne, the frequency you apply the Rodan and Fields Unblemish Products differs. For example, the frequency you use the product for cystic acne is more than that for blackheads.
  • What’s your skin type? Keeping things simple, you either have dry or oily skin. Among these skin types, people with oily skin will need more application of Rodan and Fields Unblemish Products than the rest skin types.
  • How long do you stay outdoors? The longer you stay outdoors, the more your skin gets exposed to sun rays and dust. On that note, people who spend longer time outdoors need to apply Rodan and Fields Unblemish Products at a higher frequency than those who devote less time outdoors.

Does the Unblemish Collection Really Work on Acne-Prone Skin?

While all of the extras are great, we’re here to review how the Unblemish Regimen in particular works on adult acne. To find this out, we searched through just about all of the customer reviews out there, to see how the skin looks and feels after both days and months of using these products.

The outcome was definitely interesting – while many noticed an improvement in their acne after they started using R+F products, the difference wasn’t significant enough to convince them to stick around as a lifelong Rodan and Fields fan. Those pimples and dark spots may not have been quite as obvious, especially under makeup, but the products didn’t manage to completely clear acne.

Out of all of the products in the collection, the Dual Intensive Acne Treatment received the best reviews and comments. In terms of the cleanser and toner, these weren’t particularly amazing in any way. As for the sunscreen, it seems to work well at preventing sun damage, but reviews showed that other products also had the exact same results.

The natural ingredients included in these formulas, especially the aloe and flower extracts, were appreciated. However, at the price that they come in at, people expected a little more.

The price of these products really seems to put many off. The high cost means that many people simply can’t afford to use this as a life-long acne treatment (see our best acne treatment here), which is what led to many reviewers making the most of the brand’s 60 day money-back guarantee.

Woman applying face toner

Do the Unblemish Products Have Any Side Effects?

Our review found a couple of side effects that you should be aware of. The first is redness and a tingling sensation, but the brand explains that this is normal – it’s simply your skin adjusting to the medicated ingredients in the products.

You could possibly also experience dryness, since many of these formulas are designed to absorb the oils from the surface of the skin. If this happens, the brand recommends layering a moisturizing lotion over the other products.


How long does it take for Unblemish to work?

pretty woman on her morning skincare routine

Although the ingredients in the products start to work pretty much immediately, it will take about 4-6 weeks for you to notice a significant difference in your skin after using the Rodan and Fields Unblemish Regimen. If you have severe adult acne, then it could take up to eight weeks to see an improvement.

Is Rodan and Fields Unblemish the same as Proactiv?

No, Proactiv and Rodan + Fields are different brands, although they were both founded by the same people. They do have many similarities, with both offering acne products making use of the same ingredients, but Proactiv is designed for milder acne and sensitive skin, while Rodan + Fields can treat pimples deeper in the skin too.

Does Unblemish help with hormonal acne?

Many of the ingredients in the Unblemish family, such as glycolic acid, green tea extract, and aloe vera, can help to calm a hormonal acne breakout. However, you’ll definitely experience better results if you speak to your doctor about using a treatment or medication that’s specific to hormonal acne too.

Rodan and Fields Unblemish Review Conclusion – Are Unblemish Products Worth Buying?

When it comes down to it, the Rodan and Fields acne products do work, but they don’t seem to be any better than many of the lower-cost acne treatments out there. They do make a difference in terms of the severity of a breakout, but won’t leave you totally acne-free. Unfortunately, if you were hoping for a clear face, you’ll still need to turn to makeup for help.

While many of the ingredients, such as glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide, in the Rodan and Fields Unblemish Regimen have been scientifically-proven to help clear pimples, these ingredients aren’t anything revolutionary. Neither are the botanicals that they have chosen – green tea extract and chamomile flower extract are all pretty common. You’ll find them in so many other acne treatments too, and they won’t be accompanied by such a high price tag.

One example would be the acne treatments from Exposed Skincare. Each of their products contains multiple active ingredients, and, in addition to offering similar formulas to Rodan and Fields, they also make use of other proven acne-fighters, such as azelaic acid [2]. If you would like to know more about how Exposed Skincare could potentially have you on your way to pimple-free skin, even faster than what you would have achieved by using Rodan and Fields products, check out the official Exposed Skincare website here.



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Avatar for Megan Foley

Megan has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. In that time, she’s penned a diverse collection of articles for online publication, with a focus on skincare and beauty. From in-depth product reviews to concise marketing content, Megan is passionate about developing content that informs, entertains, and inspires.