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Review: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

I talked about the Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence in a past post, and promised I would do a review on it soon. Before I do so, however, I thought I share this with you first: an indirect review of the original, the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence!

Disclaimer: I’ve never used it myself.


Most reviews look only at short term effects. But I have the luxury of my friends, Yi and L, who have already used it consistently for years: Yi three and L two. Yi’s brother, she tells me, even for a whopping nine years. So I talked to them about it!

Yi is in her early twenties and has normal combination skin. Her brother is my age. Their main concerns were acne outbreaks when they started. For L, who has very dry and sensitive skin, it’s extra moisture, brightening and anti-aging. L is around my age as well.

All of them apply the Essence directly onto their skin, making sure to pat it all in. L says “at least 100x when i apply, per my mom’s instructions.”

So did the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence improve anything?

Via email, L tells me yes – to most parts! She finds that the Essence offers that deciding touch of additional moisture which helps her skin to take on heavier products on top. She also confirms its brightening effects. The only thing L is skeptical about are its anti-aging claims. From what she writes, it apparently couldn’t prevent a few laugh lines.

In case of Yi, I can see it myself, and yes, clearly it did! Whatever were her skin concerns then, she doesn’t seem to have any now. Apart from a few very small spots, her skin is clear, smooth, firm, and even-toned. Although she says she’s combination, her T-zone doesn’t seem to produce any oil. Yi notes that while her acne outbreaks along her jawline were noticeably reduced from the beginning, the real improvements in her skin’s texture only came six to twelve months later, however.

Frankly, I’m absolutely impressed by her skin. Seeing pictures of her brother, I’m impressed by his skin also! Yi says, he used to have serious acne. If that is true, SK-II seems to have made the acne as well as the scars disappear.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence after

This is Yi. She has amazing skin!

And then there’s that smoothness and softness. Goodness! Yi let me touch, and her skin’s really like that of a baby! L also writes that her skin feels “super smooth” after she puts on the Essence. Should I ask to touch Yi’s brother’s face, too?


The texture is watery, and the essence has a funky smell – according to Yi and her brother.

Now, the star ingredient in all of SK-II products is something they call and patented as “Pitera“. Put in general terms, “Pitera” is fermented yeast extract, a by-product of brewing sake or beers, and apparently a mild exfoliator. Apart from that, however, there’s no scientific research yet that proves what exactly yeast, much less “Pitera,” can do for the skin. That means that no one can tell for absolutely sure if or why, and I quote SK-II, “spots are less visible, appearance of wrinkles is reduced, skin texture is more refined, firmness is improved, and radiance is beautifully elevated” when you use it.

On the other hand, this also leaves room to speculate what more it could be capable of, no? After all, SK-II writes nothing specific about reducing spots, lightening post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or acne scarring, soothing, brightening or moisture. Yet those are exactly the things Yi, L and Yi’s brother experienced.

In conclusion, I think the fact that all of them stuck with the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence for that long in the first place already speaks for itself. If anything, I think we can also agree it does something, but that the real effects – radiance, clarity, firmness, etc. – take time. On the downside, Yi’s brother thinks continuous use also thins out the skin. Is this probable?


SK-II claims the Pitera has exfoliating properties on the website and popular opinion is that exfoliation can wear off the skin, quintessentially leaving it thinner after a while. However, this myth has long been debunked. Unless you over-exfoliate – which is harmful – no such thing happens. To the contrary, when done properly, the skin actually thickens and becomes firmer because exfoliation boosts collagen and cell turnover.

[Read all there is to know about exfoliation here.]

Like with all reviews, there’s no guarantee the product will work for you the same way it’s worked for them. But having read this, would you buy it? Or will you wait for my review of the Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence?

I thank Yi and L for all the infos and insights they provided, and I thank Yi for her pictures! Best regards and thanks also to Yi’s brother :)

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