This Acne System Transformed My Skin in 3 Easy Steps

Why BalmLabs

Everyone experiences acne growing up. But what can you do if it continues to haunt you as an adult?

I've had issues with my skin for most of my life. I was the first kid in my school with acne, which gave me plenty of insecurities from an early age. At the time there was one skincare system that was always on TV infomercials. My mother dialled the 1-800 number and ordered me a set, desperate yet hopeful.

Unfortunately, it was harsh on my skin and only treated the tiny surface bumps. It did nothing for my deeply painful cystic acne and scarring.

Living with acne can be isolating. Often, it feels like a curse. For decades I've been trying to mask my problems with makeup. I've been bombarded with half-baked "advice" from concerned friends and family. It was time to take charge of my skin and stop letting in run my life.

Today's I review BalmLabs ClearBalm 3-Step Acne System and tell you how to get smooth, glowing skin in 3 easy steps.

The BalmLabs ClearBalm 3-Step Acne System ($144.95) is strong enough to remedy the worst breakouts, and gentle enough to leave skin soft and smooth (not stripped)...

Just follow these 3 simple steps:

✔️ Rinse face and apply 2 pumps of Foam Cleanser

✔️ Smooth 2 drops of Power Elixir onto skin

✔️ Apply pump of Serum Hydrator and pat in

These words are personal opinions; they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


  • Guaranteed results in 4 weeks
  • Dermatologist formulated
  • Subscription option for easy auto-renew
  • Zero harsh ingredients (clean, effective, plant-based formulas)


  • Major results take around 2-3 weeks to show - commitment is required
  • The 3-step system is a bit pricey if you’re apprehensive to buy skincare online, but they have a no-hassel return policy

What Causes Acne?

Adult acne affects up to 50 million people in the US every year according to the American Academy of Dermatology. A study on the psychological and emotional impact of acne found that 75% of subjects suffered interpersonal problems, and 88% reported moderate to severe embarrassment and self-consciousness in everyday activities.

Yet for some reason, there continues to be a stigma around acne and its treatments.

So what actually causes acne? In summary, oil, bacteria and hormones. Our pores are openings to hair follicles (a hair and an oil gland). The oil gland release sebum to keep the skin lubricated, using the hair follicle as a pathway out of the pore. Bacteria can build up if the oil gland produces excessive sebum or if there is a buildup of dead skin cells and voila - acne. Hormonal changes can increase the oil your skin produces. This is why it's SO important to have a skincare ritual that can combat oil without totally drying out your skin.

Ratings Breakdown


High quality, all natural and scientifically effective ingredients

VALUE 🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿

Similar pricing to other high-quality skincare brands; the 3 step system ends up being quite a bit cheaper than replicating a similar regimen a la Sephora


Sustainable packaging made with PCR and wind power; all ingredients sourced with sustainability in mind


Easy no-commitment subscription offering and money-back guarantee (even if you’ve used every drop)

BRAND 🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿

Founded, owned and operated by women, including Chief Dermatologist Dr. Robin Schaffran; cruelty-free, all natural, vegan certifications with a 96% ★★★★★ reviews

BONUS 🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿

About BalmLabs

Founded by Sarah Waldock and dermatologist Dr. Robin Schaffran, their mission was to create groundbreaking solutions for adults with acne-prone skin. Working with a team of North America’s leading skincare scientists, they formulated BalmLabs’ ClearBalm line, a plant-powered, 3-step system for adult skin that doesn’t rely on surface stripping chemicals like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.

Each ingredient was meticulously curated to harness the raw efficacy of plant-powered actives. No fillers. Products are cruelty-free and void of synthetic dyes and fragrances, parabens, and PEGs. BalmLabs is loved for the simplicity, purity and genuine results of the Toronto based skincare line.

Browsing their website, I was pleased to see they focused on a few key products, as with any good restaurant - the smaller the menu, the better the meals.

BalmLabs doesn't use harsh chemicals or synthetic ingredients, like:

  • Parabens
  • Sulfates
  • PEGs
  • Animal Testing
  • Animal Products
  • Synthetic fragrances
  • Artificial dyes
  • Harsh ingredients (such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide) They offer a discount with subscription - which is great if you like sticking to a routine. New products are always a bit scary to try when you have sensitive skin like me!

You can purchase their best-selling ClearBalm 3-Step Acne System ($144.95) with a hassle-free, 100% money back guarantee if you're not completely happy with the results.

You can tell these are quality products upon opening. Plus, BalmLabs is committed to reducing their environmental footprint. Their bottles are made with post-consumer recycled content, and cartons manufactured with wind power.

BalmLabs ClearBalm Gentle Foam Cleanser

The ClearBalm Gentle Foam Cleanser was formulated by chief dermatologist Dr. Robin Schaffran, intended to eliminate pore-clogging oil, dirt and makeup without leaving your skin tight and stripped of all its natural goodness.

Key ingredients include bixa orellana seed extract natural and AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids). AHAs are a group of plant and animal-derived acids used in a variety of skincare products and are primarily used to exfoliate.

AHAs can help:

promote collagen and blood flow correct discoloration from scars and age spots improve appearance of surface lines and wrinkles prevent acne breakouts brighten your complexion increase product absorption BalmLabs derives their AHAs from all natural products - such as sugar cane, sugar maple, bilberry and citrus fruit extracts.

To use the product, I applied 2 pumps to my damp skin, massaged and rinsed. I used this in the shower and before bed as a multi-purpose cleanser. Each bottle of the ClearBalm Gentle Foam Cleanser should last about 45 days - but really depends on how often you’re using it. With the heat of summer heat in full swing, I tend to have 1-2 showers a day and found the product lasted me just over the 45 days.

Overall, I found this to be very pleasant to use. With my fine lines, some not so fine, I need a cleanser that doesn’t dry out or exacerbate my tender skin. This was pretty effective at removing my makeup and sweat; my skin felt clean and refreshed after using, but never tight. Queue Outkast’s So Fresh, So Clean.

BalmLabs ClearBalm Power Elixir

The ClearBalm Power Elixir is designed to clarify, revitalize, and smooth the skin.

Key ingredients include hyaluronic acid and broad-spectrum, hemp-derived CBD (a non-intoxicating, natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant). Hyaluronic acid is a MEGA-hydrator that helps keep moisture but won’t clog pores, a natural substance that is the main component of what gives your skin structure - think plump, dewy, hydrated skin.

Hyaluronic Acid can help with:

  • anti-aging (wrinkles and skin elasticity)
  • moisturization
  • wound healing
  • eczema and facial redness I used this following the elixir morning and evening, gently dabbing my face and neck - avoiding my eye area. Like the other products, this has little to no smell and felt refreshing when applied. In my opinion, the ClearBalm Power Elixir is a healing serum, whereas the Serum Hydrator is a lightweight, calming moisturizer.

Additional Staff Review

“One of the best acne treatments, approved by skin experts, whether you’re dealing with maskne or hormonal – or stress-driven acne.” — AKILI KING, BEAUTY EDITOR, VOGUE Photo by Carolyne Lorée.

BalmLabs ClearBalm Serum Hydrator

The ClearBalm Serum Hydrator was my favourite of the bunch. It's a cult favourite that "provides lightweight hydration while soothing irritation, calming redness and smoothing fine lines."

Worthy Tip: Don’t waste your skincare by layering products too soon. Gently tap your product in until it’s fully absorbed. You’ll get a more even result, use less product, and have a more flawless base if applying makeup.

Key ingredients include Niacinamide and Squalane. Niacinamide renews and restores the surface of the skin, while reducing the appearance of redness and irritation. Squalane strengthens and protects your skin barrier from environmental irritants. Squalene can also help moisten your skin, making fine lines dry patches less visible. Together, these ingredients can help balance oil production without clogging your pores.

I applied this after the Power Elixir, allowing it to sink into my skin completely before applying my makeup. After a minute my face felt soft and smooth. It was great at hydrating the sensitive skin around my eyes and mouth. My only gripe is that I could have used a bit more of the Serum Hydrator. I started to limit my use near the end as I was burning through this faster than the other two products. That said, I was probably a bit too generous at the start and didn’t understand that you need less of this serum to moisturize than you would a conventional cream.

The Bottom Line

As a woman who's managed cystic acne most of my adult life, I don’t have the luxury the of slacking in my beauty regimen. I often have remnants of discolouration and scarring, along with recurring blemishes that becomes the focal point of my face.

After the recommended 45 days of BalmLabs ClearBalm 3-Step System, I was shocked at how much smoother and even my complexion was. In my late 30s I now have combination skin, a mix of super oily and very dry patches. The cleanser was great at removing the day from my face - and I would use it to treat the occasional bacne breakout.

The ClearBalm Power Elixir and ClearBalm Serum Hydrator were able to penetrate my skin and did a great job at keeping me hydrated, so my face never felt tight nor irritated. I could see my pores and fine lines looked significantly minimized. As someone with acne-prone skin, I'm usually quite scared to venture outside my typical routine, but I'm glad I did. The natural ingredients were gentle yet effective, leaving me feeling in control of my skin.

If you could use a little help treating your skin, I recommend you check out the BalmLabs ClearBalm 3-Step System for yourself.

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ClearBalm 3-Step Acne System


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