A pleasant surprise and an effective treatment from Perricone MD. Admittedly, I was never tremendously interested in their products. I had nothing against them, but there was never a Perricone product that made me say, "wow." Until now. (LOOK AT THAT RHYME!!!!!!!)

The Pre:Empt Exfoliating Pore Refiner is a liquid exfoliant which uses Betaine Salicylate to refine the appearance of the pores by dislodging debris and helping the skin's natural resurfacing process along. It has become an absolute staple in my post-shaving ritual, especially for mornings after using a strong exfoliant the night before. I use a BHA every time I shave because it helps to prevent ingrown hairs or shaving irritation - and it's a step which I find to be incredibly impactful. I notice when I don't use a BHA.

The Pre:Empt collection premiered in 2016 and was targeted as a Millennial skincare range.

It was based around the NRF2 Complex: Dr. Perricone’s Nrf2 Antioxidant Support Complex™ helps activate antioxidant pathways, allowing these improved age-fighters to better preserve youthful skin. Naturally derived from a complex of turmeric, olive leaf, green tea and cress sprouts, the innovative Nrf2 Antioxidant Support Complex helps improve skin’s own natural ability to combat oxidative stress and environmental aggravators.

The collection has grown over the past couple of months, but I still think the Exfoliating Pore Refiner remains the strongest and most unique product in the bunch, for the brand, and the retailers it is sold in. Before this product was released, it was hard for me to recommend a BHA product that was sold in Sephora to people who asked. Most everything is crammed full of solvent alcohols or featured extremely low salicylic quantities.

To be fair, this uses Betaine Salicylate rather than Salicylic Acid, which has become quite popular in the K-Beauty world. It's much more mild than SA, but still has the pore refining qualities. Betaines are actually classified as surfactants and, while I don't yet understand the more complex chemistry behind Betaine Salicylate, I would imagine that combining two ingredients which have oil-dissolving qualities will likely to produce a stellar effect on the skin.

That's where this product really shines: it's very mild. It has a hydration factor to it that most other BHA's I've used can't even come close to. It feels like it's exfoliating, but yet there's no stinging or irritation in the slightest. I find myself reaching for this when I still need a product to reduce congestion or large pores, but my go-to Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid is too strong. Ditto for post-shaving as mentioned above. The scent is quite refreshing, slightly citrus-y herbal, but nothing cloying, synthetic, or overpowering.

The NRF2 complex does in fact contain some really lovely antioxidants, which is always a nice addition. If I have to gripe, it's that Perricone has put too much emphasis on the NRF2 complex for every single product. I understand that the blend of antioxidants is great, but their website makes absolutely no mention of the Betaine Salicylate (a more mild salicylate or BHA), Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane (a derivative of turmeric that aids in skin brightening), or citrus extracts (astringent) - which are what makes this product effective toward its claims in the first place.

However, I do applaud Perricone for listing their ingredients on their website. It should be commonplace these days, but so many brands are still so behind.

I haven't heard many people talking about this, but I'm glad to be one of them. I think this is such a fantastic formula that performs effectively and consistently. This has not only become my favorite Perricone product, but one of my favorite BHA-type products. I love this.


Water/Aqua/Eau, Polysorbate 20, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Betaine Salicylate, Triethyl Citrate, Dimethyl MEA, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Lepidium Sativum Sprout Extract, Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tocopherol, Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Glycerin, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance/Parfum, Amyl Cinnamal, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool.

Perricone MD Pre:Empt Exfoliating Pore Refiner $60 for 4 fl oz or 118 mL Available from Sephora, Dermstore, and Ulta


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