As part of my quest to resolve some hormonal acne issues, I have two more salicylic acid skincare products to talk about today. I’ve been trying a lotion and essence from Innisfree’s Bija Trouble line, which are formulated to help soothe and gently clear blemish-prone skin and are both under $20 on Innisfree’s US site.
Innisfree Bija Trouble Lotion ($15 for 100 ml)
I was pretty excited when I first took this lotion out of its box, because it’s really big. I’m happy to pay $15 for this much product. This is a really lightweight lotion, which I layer in my skincare routine after a toner and serum but before any more substantial moisturizers and sun protection. I really like the concept of these Korean lotions, which I think help lock in moisture better than just having one heavier moisturizer sit on the skin. It’s among my top two favorite skincare steps I’ve picked up from Asian beauty routines (the other being sheet masks, of course!).
Now, Innisfree offers a lot of different kinds of lotions. I’ve tried a few thanks to samples I’ve received with purchases, and have generally liked all of them. This Bija lotion is particularly lightweight, and I actually might buy a slightly more hydrating option next time around. I have combination skin but large areas of my face can feel quite tight and dry throughout the day if I don’t give it enough care.
The bija they’re referring to is torreya nucifera, or Japanese nutmeg, which is supposed to have a soothing effect on the skin. The lotion also includes natural salicylic acid to help clear and prevent blemishes, niacinimide to even skin tone and help lighten discoloration, and Innisfree’s “green complex” of green tea, tangerine, cactus, camelia leaves and orchid to condition the skin. It is lightly fragranced, and I absolutely love the scent. They describe it as pine, juniper berries and woods – right up my alley.
I did try this lotion out for a day or two before opening up the essence, just to see if I could see a difference in the clarity of my skin with just using it on its own. I really don’t think it makes a noticeable different. It doesn’t state a concentration of salicylic acid, so I can’t advise on that. The lotion feels nice on the skin and sinks in pretty rapidly, and I generally really like it. I think it can support an anti-acne skincare routine, but it won’t be a heavy lifter on its own. Because of how light it is, I’d recommend it primarily to those with normal-to-oily skin.
Innisfree advertises that this is formulated with a 6-free system, meaning it is free of parabens, synthetic colorants, mineral oil, animal-originated ingredients, artificial fragrances, and imidazolidinyl urea.
Ingredients: WATER, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, SQUALANE, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, CYCLOHEXASILOXANE, TORREYA NUCIFERA SEED OIL, SALIX ALBA (WILLOW) BARK EXTRACT, NIACINAMIDE, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, CAMELLIA JAPONICA LEAF EXTRACT, ORCHID EXTRACT, OPUNTIA COCCINELLIFERA FRUIT EXTRACT, CITRUS UNSHIU PEEL EXTRACT, BETA-GLUCAN, OLEA EUROPAEA (OLIVE) OIL UNSAPONIFIABLES, DIMETHICONE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, GLYCERYL STEARATE, INULIN LAURYL CARBAMATE, CETYL ALCOHOL, DI-C12-13 ALKYL MALATE, OCTYLDODECANOL, SILICA, PEG-75 STEARATE, SUCROSE POLYSTEARATE, HYDROXYETHYL ACRYLATE/SODIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYL TAURATE COPOLYMER, POLYACRYLATE-13, STEARETH-20, CETETH-20, PEG-100 STEARATE, POLYISOBUTENE, GLYCERIN, POLYSORBATE 20, PROPANEDIOL, DISODIUM EDTA, PHENOXYETHANOL, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, ABIES SIBIRICA OIL, JUNIPERUS COMMUNIS FRUIT OIL, JUNIPERUS VIRGINIANA OIL, FRAGRANCE
Bija Trouble Spot Essence R ($17 for 15 ml)
I’m not an expert, but I feel like the term “essence” is a very flexible one. Usually they seem to be runny fluids that fall somewhere between a toner and serum, and the juice from sheet masks is usually called an essence, as well. Innisfree actually offers two different Bija essences. One of them looks like a more traditional fluid, and then there’s mine, the Trouble Spot Essence R, which has a thicker cream consistency.
In addition to the viscosity, this product is also a little unusual in color. It’s not transparent, it’s actually a pale green color that you can see on the skin (it does help conceal redness a little). I can pat it into my skin until you can’t really notice it, but it’s generally going to be most appropriate for nighttime use all the same. It’s also just more effective if you don’t diffuse it into nothingness. You can check out a photo of the the essence on the Innisfree page.
The essence is formulated with torreya seed oil, natural salicylic acid, naturally fermented alcohol (I’m not actually familiar with what this means), calamine and chlorella. Those last two ingredients, along with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, contribute to the product’s color. Other ingredients I spot on the list are niacinamide, lactic acid, and sodium hyaluronate. It’s basically made to heal, soothe, and prevent breakouts. It’s supposed to have the same fragrance as the lotion, but it’s much more subtle and I wouldn’t know it was there at all if they didn’t say so on the website.
Because of the consistency, I had to do some experimenting to figure out how and when to incorporate it into my skincare routine. If I used it before moisturizers, I generally found that the essence would move around on my skin. Thanks to its visibility, I could actually see when this was happening. It seemed to work best when used as a last step, though often I would sort of sandwich it, using some before a moisturizing cream and then following up with it afterward on the spots that needed it the most.
I could tell that this helped my skin to some degree, and it’s definitely more effective at treating breakouts than the lotion is. It wasn’t a game-changer, though, and frankly the efficacy was probably negatively impacted by how it was being layered with my other skincare as well as my tendency to blend it out to be less noticeable on my skin. The other thing is that I’m not just having problems with specific spots, my hormonal symptoms involve what almost appear to be rashes of textured skin, and so I need something I can apply over large areas of skin rather than just on smaller troubled areas. Just also want to point out one other reason why I think this is intended for smaller spots: the tube itself is pretty small. I worked through this one a whole lot faster than I did the lotion. I’d definitely try out the other more traditional essence in the future, but probably wouldn’t repurchase this one.
Like the lotion, it’s formulated with a 6-free system: there are no parabens, synthetic colorants, mineral oil, animal-originated ingredients, artificial fragrances, or imidazolidinyl urea.
Ingredients: WATER, ZINC OXIDE (CI 77947), CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, SILICA, CYCLOHEXASILOXANE, PEG-10 DIMETHICONE, DIMETHICONE, POLYGLYCERYL-2 DIPOLYHYDROXYSTEARATE, DIPROPYLENE GLYCOL, POLYMETHYLSILSESQUIOXANE, NIACINAMIDE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE, CHLORELLA MINUTISSIMA EXTRACT, DISTEARDIMONIUM HECTORITE, DICAPRYLYL CARBONATE, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, TORREYA NUCIFERA SEED OIL, CAMELLIA JAPONICA LEAF EXTRACT, ORCHID EXTRACT, OPUNTIA COCCINELLIFERA FRUIT EXTRACT, CITRUS UNSHIU PEEL EXTRACT, SALIX ALBA (WILLOW) BARK EXTRACT, MAGNESIUM SULFATE, VINYL DIMETHICONE/METHICONE SILSESQUIOXANE CROSSPOLYMER, GLYCERIN, PROPANEDIOL, LACTIC ACID, ALCOHOL, IRON OXIDE (CI 77491), IRON OXIDE (CI 77499), BETA-GLUCAN, SODIUM HYALURONATE, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, DISODIUM EDTA, PHENOXYETHANOL, Abies Sibirica Oil, Juniperus Communis Fruit Oil, Juniperus Virginiana Oil, FRAGRANCE
Innisfree has a great global site, and I’ve been enjoying quite a few of their products, even if these particular ones aren’t a total match made in heaven for my skin. Have you tried any of the Bija products before? Do you have any other great acne products to recommend?