(Trial Run)

I Finally Found A Gentle Acne Spot Treatment That Works For My Skin

Bye bye, blemishes.

Originally Published: 
Taylor Jean Stephan
Taylor Jean Stephan holding the product
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In our series Trial Run, TZR editors and writers put the buzziest new beauty products to the test and share their honest reviews. This week, our beauty writer is testing the new Waso Koshirice Acne Calming Spot Treatment.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with acne. There have been years when it’s been sporadic and debilitating (hello puberty) and there have been others when it’s less noticeable (thanks to a round of Accutane that seemed to nix it, at least for a while). Still, I’ve always found myself desperately trying to refine my skin care routine in an effort to keep acne, redness, and textural issues under control. Anyone with regular breakouts knows that it is a very delicate balance between using products that are too harsh (re: stripping and drying) and using ones that don’t seem to do anything at all. That’s why when I recently discovered Waso's new Koshirice Acne Clearing Treatment I knew I had to get the word out.

This gentle-but-effective spot treatment is part of a larger line from Shiseido's newly launched sustainable collection. In addition to the tube being made of 10% sugarcane-derived polyethylene (which is more sustainable than plastic packaging), the ingredients are all very transparent. “I like products with very pure, simple ingredients that have a purpose,” explains Dr. James Y. Wang, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Metropolis Dermatology.

Keep reading to learn more about my experience with the calming, rice-infused acne treatment.

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Fast Facts

  • Price: $25
  • Size: 20ml/.7oz
  • Clean/Cruelty Free: Yes
  • Best for: Reducing the appearance of blemishes
  • Ingredient Highlights: Koshikari Rice Extract from Hyogo, Salicylic Acid, Shikwasa Peel Extract
  • What we like: Doesn’t dry out skin, you can apply over makeup, gentle enough to use multiple times a day
  • What we don’t like: Results are not immediate
  • Your Rating: 4.4/5

About My Skin

Try as I might to baby my skin, it will forever be acne-prone. Especially in the weeks leading up to my cycle, I experience red cystic breakouts along my cheeks and jawline. In the past I’ve poked and prodded, only to make the situation worse, but in recent years I’ve learned that being kind to my skin and using gentle ingredients is the way to go. Now I’m all about rehydrating my skin and using products that don't irritate it. I’ve pretty much stayed clear of acne spot treatments for the past year (since most are notoriously harsh) — until now that is.

The Science Behind Koshirice Acne Calming Spot Treatment

What I found most fascinating about this spot treatment is the unique ingredient list. “Koshihikari rice is one of the famous rice hybrids in Japan,” says Dr. Wang. Waso sources this particular rice straight from a family farm in Hyōgo Prefecture. “Extracts from this rice type yields high levels of antioxidants, which can repair and soothe the skin. It also prevents excess sebum oxidation, which leads to pimples,” he adds. Another ingredient in the product is the Shikuwasa Peel Extract, which is a humectant (meaning it absorbs water) and ideal for skin conditioning. “Paired with the rice extract, this product is actively protecting the skin from additional oxidative damage,” explains Dr. Wang.

The third key ingredient, salicylic acid, is a common one found in acne products. “Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid derived from willow bark that exfoliates and unclogs pores,” explains Dr. Wang. Over-the-counter concentration ranges from 0.5% to 2% and this product contains the gentlest concentration, at 0.5%, he explains. “Although salicylic acid can be beneficial for acne, higher concentrations induce irritation,” he warns. “I would consider this a very gentle spot treatment.”

How I Used The Koshirice Acne Calming Spot Treatment

The product itself is a clear, runny gel. It comes in a lip gloss-like tube and one gentle squeeze will give you more than enough product to saturate one blemish. I simply use my index or middle finger to dab it on to the affected area.

To start I used it at night as the final step in my skincare routine. Once I saw that it didn’t inflame my skin, I decided to start applying in the morning, too — again as my last step after SPF. With harsher formulas, my skin starts flaking off; however, since this one has a low amount of salicylic acid (a powerful BHA), I quickly worked my way up to two times a day with no problem.

Courtesy of Taylor Jean Stephan

My Results With The Koshirice Acne Calming Spot Treatment

Since using the treatment consistently for a month, I’ve noticed a significant difference in the overall texture of my skin — my complexion is smoother and when blemishes do arise, I’m able to address them before they become massive. And because the formula is non-irritating, I’m able to use it everyday to treat breakouts if I need to do so. One of the biggest benefits I’m noticing is a drastic reduction in redness (which always, for me, comes along with those breakouts). I can see it working really well for anyone with problematic, sensitive skin as well.

Courtesy of Taylor Jean Stephan

Is The Spot Treatment Worth It?

The Koshirice treatment is, hands down, one of the best spot treatments I’ve tried. But remember, this is not an instant formula. The only products that do anything like that are the ones that are overly loaded with high concentrations of drying ingredients. It takes time (a few days generally) for this product to minimize blemishes so you can get back to smooth, glowing skin — zero irritation in sight.

BDG product reviews and recommendations are written and conducted by writers and editors with expertise in their fields. Testers often have specific experience with the situation or product at hand, and/or their review or recommendation is provided in consultation with experts. You can learn more about our standards here.

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