Sunday, June 23, 2024

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control 3-In-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control 3-In-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment Review

Acne Treatments

Product Grade
Report Card Grade
0 Reviews
Best Feature:
Holistic treatment for skin that is affordable and effective
Worst Feature:
Contains dye and fragrance
Best Uses:
Good OTC treatment for mild acne and blackheads

Where to Buy

Store Name


Neutrogena's Oil-Free Acne Stress Control 3-In-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment helps clear mild acne and blackheads using a 3-pronged approach. First, it uses powerful MicroClear™ technology to help the key acne medicine, salicylic acid, unclog congested pores and penetrate deep into the skin to treat acne before you can even see it. At the same time, the unique formula contains moisturizers that work to hydrate and soften skin. It is light and absorbent and also has calming ingredients (like green tea and cucumber extracts) to reduce redness and irritation.

You can purchase it online or at local drugstores for about $7.

Product Report Card Grade

We give Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Stress Control 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment an A- because it is an affordable and very effective treatment for mild acne and blackheads. It also includes moisturizers and soothing ingredients to streamline and simplify your nightly routine. While we highly suggest this OTC treatment, we felt we had to deduct just a few points because it contains fragrance and coloring agents that may irritate sensitive skin and it doesn’t fade acne scars.

This Product
Overall Score
Our Awards
Date Reviewed
April 2013
April 2013
February 2012
inexpensive; effective treatment of mild acne and blackheads; 3-1 makes nightly routine easier
enhances effectiveness of current acne treatment routine and is gentle on skin; convenient size for traveling; 100% natural; good for reducing redness and inflammation
inexpensive; very effective treatment that contains the maximum amount of Benzoyl Peroxide allowed in an OTC acne medication
won't fade acne scaring; fragrance and coloring agents may irritate sensitive skin; may be overly drying for some users
time-consuming; expensive (especially if you end up buying the "Power Pack")
Benzoyl Peroxide can bleach hair and dyed fabric (clothing, carpet, sheets/pillows, towels, etc.); skin will be more sensitive to outside irritants/sun; tested on animals
Active Ingredient or Technology
Gel contains 2% Salicylic Acid.
Device uses phototherapy.
Gel contains 10% Benzoyl Peroxide.
Skin Concern
Mild acne and blackheads
Mild to moderate acne
Mild to moderate acne
Skin Type
Normal, Oily or Combination
Normal, Dry, Oily, Combination, Sensitive
Normal, Oily or Combination
Prescription Needed?
2 fluid ounces
Device is 6.5" tall and the head is 1.25" in diameter. It weighs less than 8 ounces.
1 fluid ounce
Varies based on usage
Varies based on usage
How It Works
Powerful MicroClearâ„¢ technology helps the key acne medicine, salicylic acid, unclog congested pores and penetrate deep under the surface of your skin to fight acne at its source. At the same time, the unique formula contains moisturizers to hydrate and soften skin, as well as calming ingredients to reduce redness and irritation.
Releases wavelengths of blue light that penetrate deep into your skin to kill acne-causing bacteria, P. acnes, and soothe inflammatory acne vulgaris. Basically, within P. acnes bacteria, there are small molecules known as porphyrins. When exposed to 420 nm and shorter wavelengths of light, porphyrins generate free radicals that attack and kill P. acnes bacteria.
Benzoyl Peroxide increases cell turnover to unclog pores and destroys acne-causing bacteria below the surface of your skin to eliminate and prevent future breakouts.
Side Effects
Increased dryness and peeling are possible side effects.
Increased dryness and irritation are possible side effects.
Warranty/Money Back Guarrantee
5-year warranty and 60-day money back guarantee

ProductReportCard Editors' In-Depth Review

Pros And Cons


  • Inexpensive
  • Effective treatment of mild acne and blackheads
  • Non-comedogenic (won't clog pores)
  • 3-1 makes nightly routine easier


  • Won't fade acne scaring
  • Fragrance and coloring agents may not be great for sensitive skin
  • Some users felt it was very drying

Key Features

2.0 fluid ounces
Skin Type
Oily, Normal or Combination (not appropriate for very sensitive skin)
Skin Concern
Mild acne and blackheads
How it works
3 in 1 acne treatment that works in the following ways:
  1. Treats acne before it emerges: MicroClear™ technology is an exclusive technology and it has been clinically proven to improve the delivery of salicylic acid by unclogging congested pores. MicroClear has powerful dissolving agents that break though dirt and oil and allow the acne medicine to fight breakouts at the source.
  2. Hydrates and softens: Neutrogena doesn't give much information on the moisturizers except to say that the formula is lightweight, non-comedogenic and absorbent. It won't leave greasy residue on your face, and it will work continuously to clear, hydrate and soften your skin.
  3. Reduces redness: Formula contains calming ingredients, like green tea and cucumber extracts, to help reduce redness and irritation. These are naturally derived skin-soothers that leave skin looking and feeling soft and stress-free.
After washing your face, apply a thin layer of the medication to the entire affected area. Can be used 1-3 times daily, but you should start with once daily (since excessive drying of the skin may occur) and gradually increase as your skin adjusts. If bothersome dryness or peeling occurs, reduce application to once a day or every other day.
Prescription Needed?
Active Ingredients
Salicylic Acid 2%
All ingredients
(Neutrogena doesn't guarantee that list is accurate, so you should also double check package) Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG 8, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sodium Polyacrylate, Vinyl Dimethicone Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Cocamidopropyl PG Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Cucumber (Cucumis Sativus) Extract (Cucumis Sativus), Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, C12 15 Alkyl Lactate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Lactate, PEG 75 Stearate, Ceteth 20, Steareth 20, Trideceth 6, PEG/PPG 18/18 Dimethicone, Sclerotium Gum, Laureth 23, Laureth 4, Disodium EDTA, Benzalkonium Chloride Solution, Potassium Hydroxide, Green 5, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Fragrance


The Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control 3-In-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment has received great reviews from customers on (4/5 out of 442 reviews), on (4.3/5 out of 211 reviews), on (4.4/5 out of 130 reviews) and on Amazon (4.4/5 out of 54 reviews). Since salicylic acid is a BHA (beta hydroxy acid), it is best used for the treatment of mild acne and blackheads. Paula Begoun, a skincare and cosmetics expert who conducts reviews on products using scientific research, feels that Neutrogena has formulated their best BHA acne treatment yet since this version contains 2% salicylic acid at a pH of 3.4 (ideal for effective exfoliation), and comes in a nearly weightless silicone base that includes antioxidants and anti-irritants. For an inexpensive acne treatment, it doesn't sound like you can go wrong with this product.


Customer Responses, Reviews, or Complaints

Baldwinsville , NY
Works for awhile
Review submitted: 2013-07-09
I started using this product when I was in High School. I kept seeing ads on the T.V. and decided to try it out. After about a week or two, I noticed results. However, it did dry my face out. After a year or so of using it, it didn't work as well and I wasn't seeing the same results. I now use Neutrogena Acne Stress control 3-in-1 hydrating acne treatment lotion and Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Triple-Action toner. I feel these products work better for my skin type and I love the results. I would recommend the Neutrogena acne stress control products to anyone. They smell great and you can feel the dirt and grime getting out of your pours.
Kearney, MO
Best for Your Face
Review submitted: 2013-07-06
I have tried many many acne treatments but none have been better than the one I am using now. I rarely have breakouts and when I do, the treatment easily takes care of them. It doesn't leave your face dry and itchy. It is just perfect for what I need. I only use it once a day to prevent from any side effects happening, so its perfect. I never have any issues with this product. I would recommend it to anyone because it has been very helpful to me. The only thing that I can say I do not like about this product is the scent, it just smells like chemicals and I would probably enjoy it more if it smelt like something enjoyable.

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