Review: The Inkey List – Succinic Acid Blemish Treatment

Available on: The Inkey List Website: HERE

Price: £6.99

Volume: 15ml

What is it: A blemish targeting cream aimed to not dry out a spot, but reduce inflammation and prevent clogged pores. Meant to also layer fine under makeup and not dry out the skin or flake. It’s meant to be gentle on the skin while reducing the size of pimples.

Good for: Blemish prone skin to Clear blemishes ”fast.”

Packaging: It’s a squeeze-y tube, and a direct long nozzle with a screw top lid (that I kept dropping…)

Vegan?: Yes

Cruelty Free?: Yes

pH: ~5-6

First Impressions: Posted on my Instagram Story (@myskincareregime)

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Directions: This can be applied on a blemish up to 3 times a day. It is suggested to use this alongside a BHA cleanser (to increase pore exfoliation) and a Hyaluronic Acid serum (to hydrate the skin prior to application) BEFORE applying this blemish treatment. Place a ”small” amount from the tube, onto a clean finger and apply onto the blemish. If you would like to use other skincare or makeup on top of this, leave this on to dry for 5 minutes before proceeding (from the Inkey list Website).

How I used it: As following the instructions, I used this product up to three times per day (see below for my experience). I applied using a Q-tip because I didn’t want to get blue cream on my finger. I didn’t use a Salicylic Acid Cleanser with this BUT I did use the Geek and Gorgeous Cheer Up Exfoliating Liquid on the other days I wasn’t using this product.

Key Ingredients: 2% Succinic acid (not the active key ingredient. This is meant to help reduce oil levels) 2% Sulphur powder is anti-bacterial (helps reduce acne-causing bacteria) and 1% Salicylic Acid (they key ingredient + main active here), exfoliates the skin, reduces clogged pores and reduces the inflammation of active pimples.

  • Also contains 0.4% Hyaluronic Acid to help hydrate the skin (I like the addition of this as they are clearly trying not to dehydrate the skin as quite drying ingredients are used to tackle the blemish i.e. BHA and Sulphur Powder).

Full Ingredients: Water (Aqua/​Eau), Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Colloidal Sulfur, Glycerin, Succinic Acid, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/​Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Salicylic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Squalane, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 60, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Dehydroacetic Acid, Malachite Extract, Sorbitan Isostearate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ci 75810 (Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex)

Note: The Incidecoder have an Ingredient List Breakdown: HERE

The Copper Complex is what gives the blue colour here (not sure if the sulphur powder also does that). It’s a colourant. I think this was added in order to be used as a colour-correctant (to reduce the colour of the red blemish on the skin), hence why this was tested under makeup (I think it was intended to be used as a colour corrector for blemishes, under foundation).

HOWEVER, Personally for me, I do not care for the colouring because I wanted to apply this as a targeted night treatment while I slept, but due to the colour – it would stain my pillow, so I had to use this during the day.


Key claims and do I agree with them?:

  • 85% of people agreed that this product didn’t dry out the skin – I would agree with this. This product never fully dried down even after hours of wearing (the outer layer of the product dried up, but within the ”blob” this was still creamy.
  • 96% of people agreed this was gentle on the skin – I would agree. This didn’t irritate or sting the skin and/or the blemish (it actually had a cooling/tingling effect that wasn’t irritating).
  • 85% of people agreed this wasn’t visible under makeup – you can see how much product I used in the videos below. This definitely would show up under makeup. HOWEVER I think the intention here is to spread this all over the face which would also dilute the colour OR to apply an extremely tiny amount so as no colour can be seen.


You can see this has a creamy texture! This feels cooling and calming when applied onto the skin.


You can see little black specks of the gel/cream in here.


Texture Video:

As you can see, this definitely has a creamy texture. I like the feeling of this on the skin. It’s cooling and it does seem to NOT dry out the skin or fully dry down itself. You can see the little black specks quite clearly (but these aren’t scratch or abrasive).


Blemish Test – I applied this on a Blemish (it was a large, painful bump, with no whitehead ) for 3 days to see what would happen

Day 1: I applied this once (The maximum usage is 3 times). And left on for 4-6 hours.

I found it much easier to apply this using a Q-Tip, so as not to get this product on my fingers.

As you can see, I applied quite a bit because I wanted to cover this sucker AND I also didn’t want to be tempted to touch the bump. I hope you can also see the potency of the colour of this AND how creamy it looks. It didn’t sting upon application, it just felt cooling.


I washed this product off, there was no change to it (which I expected), went to bed and then woke up and applied it a second time.

Day 2, Second Application (Third Application overall):


Day 3: I applied this 3 times on the Third Day because I was sick and tired of this huge bump (Maximum times in one day).

(Third Application):


By the 4th day, the Blemish/Bump had gone down a fraction, BUT it was still there. I don’t think it was an impressive difference when 1. I had used a big dollop and COVERED the bump and did not touch it with my fingers and 2. I had applied this 2-3 times each day consecutively and 3. I had left this on for hours.

I gave up on using this treatment to get rid of the blemish and decided to just let the bump ”air” out (not cover it in product for hours on end). Then in the PM I simply swiped the face with my Geek and Gorgeous Cheer Up Liquid (Containing 1% BHA and 5% Mandelic Acid), and that seemed to get rid of the bump much quicker.

Effect: Did it get rid of my blemish?: No. I still had a massive bump even after applying as many times as I did. I found a better effect simply airing out my pimple and carrying on with my regular PM routine.

Other Blemishes?: I tried this on other pimples/blemishes and I haven’t been floored by the effect. Blemishes didn’t disappear for me quicker than not using this product and just sticking to an exfoliating liquid.

Smell?: Smells like Kaolin clay a bit (quite subtle).

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What I like:

  • Sometimes it’s good to have Gels/Pastes/Coloured Gels BECAUSE it helps stop me from touching my face/the spot.
  • I could workout in it (at home, not at the gym as it would stick out like a sore thumb) and this didn’t sweat off.
  • No added fragrance
  • No essential oils
  • (I like the colour correcting idea of this even if it didn’t work for me personally).
  • Did not sting or irritate my skin

What I don’t like:

  • Afraid it would stain my pillow (due to the blue colourant) so I didn’t use it before bed and had to use it throughout the day.
  • I couldn’t go out with it on (i.e. not subtle like a pimple sticker OR a clear Pimple Gel).
  • Didn’t actually make my blemish (note: This wasn’t an active pimple but a huge red cyst/bump) go away (applied it 3 days straight).
  • I’m not the biggest fan of blemish/spot treatments as I find that ”airing” out the pimple and giving it room to breath instead of covering it in gels/stickers, gets rid of it a lot quicker (this just adds more hassle and healing time to me).

Rating and Conclusion: (almost a 2.9) 3/5 – I like that this is unfragranced, contains no essential oils and actually worked on hydrating/moisturising the skin rather than drying a pimple and drying out the surrounding skin. I also like the idea to add this colour in to reduce the red look of a blemish, to colour correct when applying makeup on BUT for me, this had a really bright colour, there was no way I could go out with this on unless I put makeup on too (and not everyone wants to do that). I think perhaps this works better as an all-over treatment to apply all over the face which would helpfully dilute the colour. Also I couldn’t wear this while I slept, like I can with a pimple sticker, exfoliating liquids or CLEAR BHA gels).

HOWEVER: I will say, think the colour correcting mechanism would work quite well for those whose faces are very red and would like some neutralising WHILE providing some BHA/Salicylic Acid Exfoliation on pimples. I also think that rubbing this ALL OVER the face would blend this product out more and make it look far less obvious on the face, which could make it easier to walk out in public with a product like this on. Whereas using this as a targeted treatment reduces that possibility due to the amount applied on a single pimple and the colour intensity.

Dupe?: The Geek and Gorgeous Cheer Up Exfoliating Liquid is a wonderful alternative (also contains 1% BHA + 5% Mandelic Acid, an AHA) HERE. OR for a stronger product, the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Exfoliating Liquid.

The SKIN&LAB – Medicica Clear Spot Gel HERE – Contains Salicylic acid AND Glycolic Acid as well as Cica/Centella to soothe a blemish and reduce redness + inflammation.

My Skin Type: I am acne prone and have slightly dehydrated combo skin. My skin is usually tight where the cheeks and eye area is and the outer parts of my face. My T zone is oily. My skin isn’t a fan of thick/heavy formulas so I opt for lightweight formulas to prevent it from clogging up. My skin doesn’t like essential oils either and I try to avoid fragrance when I can.

Disclaimer: I am a skincare enthusiast and not a skin expert. I am not qualified to give out dermatological advice. This type of advice should only be given by a medical practitioner. Upon trying / using any of the reviewed products on the blog, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings and please seek medical advice if needed.


3 thoughts on “Review: The Inkey List – Succinic Acid Blemish Treatment

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