Glossier Zit Stick, £12
After years of secretly smuggling samples over from the US, Glossier Zit Stick is finally available in the UK.
There's one catch though - unlike its American counterpart, it doesn't contain the hero ingredient benzoyl peroxide, which isn't available in the UK without a prescription from a doctor. The ingredient is used to treat acne and works by drying out pimples and regulating oil production in the skin, as well as killing acne-causing bacteria. Rather than rushing to bring out a sub-par alternative in the UK, Glossier wanted to wait until they had a formula that rivalled its Amercian counterpart.
Now, it seems, they have found that formula. The UK version may not have benzoyl peroxide, but it does have a medley of powerful pimple-treating ingredients including Salycilic Acid, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid (a gentler version of Salycilic acid that boosts the formula while remaining gentle on the skin) and Tea Tree Oil. Plus, forgoing the benzoyl peroxide has its benefits - the ingredient can have a bleaching effect on sheets and clothing as well as irritating the skin.
Lottie Winter, beauty editor
I've been stocking up on Zit Sticks every time I go to the US and have relied on it to eradicate my breakouts. It's one of the few products I can trust to make a visible different overnight. It is exceptionally effective, and I'm hesitant to try the new UK formula in case it doesn't deliver the same results. While I try and keep my skin happy with a carefully curated skincare regime, I am prone to occassional breakouts and have always had an oily T-zone, so having a product that provides targeted treatment is important.
If you had both versions side by side (which I do), you wouldn't know the difference by looking at them. They both have the signature Glossier pink packaging and bold, red writing. Both of them also have a stainless steel tip, that with three clicks, delivers the exact amound of product needed per application.
In the interest of a fair experiment, I decided to treat one half of my face with the US version, and the other with the UK, in order to see if the new UK version could deliver the same results without the prescription ingredient. Luckily, I had two similar-sized pimples on either side of my face that served as the perfect test subjects.
The UK version contains 2% salycilic acid, which exfoliates the skin and regulates oil production, as well as Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, which amplifies the spot-treating benefits without becoming too harsh on the skin, and Tea Tree Oil, which works as a anti-bacterial agent.
After three nights of treatment, both pimples had virtually disappeared. Not only had they dried up and decreased in size but they were also far less red and noticable. The UK formula really was gentle on skin and although it contains potent ingredients, my skin never felt irritated or sore. Well done Glossier, it seems my skincare smuggling days are well and truly over.