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by Christine GlasgowJune 3, 2017

The Truth Behind Rodan + Fields Products: Do These Adult Acne Products Really Work?

Rodan and Fields – as in Dr. Kathy Fields and Dr. Katie Rodan – have been household names for well over two decades, thanks to the fact that they are the co-creators of one of the best-known acne treatment ‘systems’ in the world; Proactiv.

After years of spearheading the success of that brand though, in 2002 the two, who are indeed, as those old Proactiv commercials claimed, Stanford University trained dermatologists, sold Proactiv to Gunthy Renker and started up a new business – Rodan + Fields, a new line of skincare products designed to appeal to a broader range of people – especially women – than Proactiv ever had. Once again the ladies struck gold and it’s become a billion dollar business. But what about the products, do they actually offer something different – and effective – to those suffering from acne? Let’s take a closer look.


The Rodan + Fields Story

The first few years of the new skincare brand that Drs Rodan and Fields launched were a little turbulent. They placed a limited range of skincare products, products designed to address both acne and skin aging concerns, in major department stores and they sold fairly well. In 2004, they accepted a buy-out offer from cosmetics giant Estee Lauder, citing a desire to slow down and spend more time with their families.

That didn’t last. Buy 2007 the pair bought their ‘baby’ back and began transitioning the brand from the confines of the department store to the world of online sales and multi-level marketing. These days Rodan+Fields can be compared to Avon or Mary Kay, with primary sales coming via the work of ‘consultants’ who sell the products on a commission basis.


The Philosophy Behind Rodan + Fields Skincare

The vast majority of the consumers who buy into Proactiv skincare systems are teens and young people in their 20s who suffer from mild to moderate acne. The system is based on the use of two very common and tried and tested acne fighting ingredients; benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. These can be very effective when treating mild to moderate acne.

The problem is, as Rodan and Fields knew, that as the skin ages it changes, as does the acne that affects it. The skin is then subject to other issues as well; dark spots, wrinkles, a loss of elasticity and more. In creating their new range of products, the dermatologists took this older demographic and made them their primary focus as customers.

Rodan + Fields and Acne Treatment

The Rodan + Fields product line has become a very extensive one, and now offers cosmetics as well as skincare treatments. For this piece though we are going to concentrate on the products that might be helpful for those suffering from acne.

Adult acne is more of a problem than some people (people who are not affected by it) realize, so the market for specialty skincare treatments to address adult acne is a large one. It’s also a growing one, as according to many medical professionals less than healthy diets and declining air quality and pollution are both taking a big toll on ‘grown up’ skin.

Here’s our look at some of the main products offered by Rodan + Fields to try and address the problem.

1. Rodan and Fields  UNBLEMISH Anti Acne Regimen Reviews

As they did with Proactiv Rodan and Fields created a ‘system’ to get rid of acne as one of their first product lines. The Rodan and Fields UNBLEMISH ‘system’ consists of the following ‘basic’ products:

  • UNBLEMISH Acne Treatment Sulfur Wash
  • UNBLEMISH Clarifying Toner
  • UNBLEMISH Dual Intensive Acne Treatment
  • UNBLEMISH Oil Control Lotion

Rodan and Fields UNBLEMISH reviews

As is the case with Proactiv the idea is that the four separate products are used together daily to combat acne. The kit itself retails for around $180, a lot more than the around $20 that Proactiv does. The claim is though that the extra expense is worth it for adult acne sufferers, as the regimen is especially designed to treat their particular skin problems.


The UNBLEMISH Acne Treatment Sulfur Wash is the first step in the regimen. It makes use of another tried and tested acne fighter – sulfur – to unclog and deep cleanse pores while reducing redness.


Next comes the UNBLEMISH Clarifying Toner. This is a toner formulated with mild alpha-hydroxy acids that have a light peeling effect to remove layers of dead skin and encourage faster growth of new skin cells, a natural process that does slow down as the skin ages.

The UNBLEMISH Dual Intensive Acne Treatment is, the manufacturers say, the biggest key to the success of the system. It is a lotion based on a 5% benzoyl peroxide treatment combined with botanicals like aloe vera and chamomile.

Finally, the Oil Control Lotion is designed to do just that, control the production of excess oil throughout the day and keep the skin ‘matte’ eliminating greasy looking shine.

When it comes to efficacy there are thousands of monthly subscribers who say that the system has been truly helpful to them and that they have seen a marked improvement in their acne prone skin. Some however find that the higher level of benzoyl peroxide is a little too strong for their skin, causing dryness and redness. And that price tag? It’s certainly steep for a set of products that is based on ingredients that are used in lots of other, more economical, skin care choices.


Rodan and Fields Unblemish Regimen for Acne and Post Acne Marks, Kit

Rodan and Fields Unblemish for Ance Reviews

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2. Rodan and Fields REVERSE Brightening Regimen Reviews

Dark spots, acne scars and dullness are all a part of having acne prone skin and often these problems are worsened as the skin ages. The REVERSE Brightening Regimen is designed to be used in conjunction with the UNBLEMISH system, and again, it consists of four ‘basic’ product choices.

  • REVERSE Deep Exfoliating Wash
  • REVERSE Intensive Brightening Toner
  • REVERSE Dual Active Brightening Complex
  • REVERSE Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ Sunscreen

The REVERSE Deep Exfoliating Wash is not designed for daily use. Instead it is recommended that it be used every other day to slough of the dead skin cells that clog pores and aggravate acne. The active ingredient in this preparation is glycolic acid, a mild peeling agent, along with peppermint oil for a ‘cooling effect’.

The REVERSE Intensive Brightening Toner can be used in place of a standard toner a few times a week to help brighten up very dull skin, with the help of the proprietary blend of Kojic Acid, vitamins, Salicylic Acid and Licorice it contains. This toner is designed to be used in conjunction with the REVERSE Dual Active Brightening Complex which adds Retinol and Vitamin C into the mix as well to help ‘heal’ acne scars and fade dark marks.

The final step is one that is indeed a very important one for aging skin. The damage the sun does to the skin is underestimated by many people, but the fact is the sun is not your skin’s friend. The SPF protection offered by the REVERSE Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ Sunscreen is some of the highest you can get, but it is formulated to be lightweight and pore friendly.

Rodan and Fields REVERSE Brightening Regimen

Rodan and Fields REVERSE Brightening Regimen reviews

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Again, this system has many, many fans. And again, it is rather expensive, at $190 per kit. This offering however, may be the better buy for adult acne sufferers as it does contain ingredients that other products rarely do.

In Conclusion

There is little doubt that for Kathy and Katie the Rodan + Fields products lines have been hugely successful and the number of repeat customers they can count on seems to indicate that many people get good results too, but it’s unlikely that this is really a product line that is a viable option for most people, if only because of the high pricing. These products simply aren’t worth the money. You can achieve the same results by using much cheaper skincare products. If you look closely at the ingredients R+F uses, there’s really no reason for the exorbitant pricing.

An acne regimen like Zenmed acne solution or Exposed Skincare would provide much better results without breaking the your bank.

Now we’d like to hear what you think. Would you be willing to pay up to $400 a month to improve your adult acne and the overall health of your skin? Have you tried any of the Rodan + Fields products, and if so, what was your personal experience with them? Let us know, we’d love to hear what you have to say.

Christine Glasgow
Canadian girl addicted to beauty and fashion. I'm a Blogger, Entrepreneur and web influencer 👑 I mostly talk about anything related to skin care and beauty. I created this site to share science-based information on skin conditions, treatments and skin care.

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