After years of ogling this product, back when I was a broke af university student, to my now somewhat adult self, I bit the bullet – I purchased the Banish Starter Kit.
Now for those of you who don’t know the brand Banish Acne Scars, it’s a skincare brand created by an OG acne-talking YTer named Daisy from the Acne Channel (formerly Perfect Beauty). Back when I was dealing with cystic acne, I found Daisy’s channel and saw that she too was going through the same journey to clear skin. Back in the day, not a lot of people showed their bare face on camera if they had really bad skin, so I was really happy to find a YTer I could connect to.
Fast forward to today, she has her own business called Banish Acne Scars, a brand that’s about:
“[Creating a] product line that gets to the root of problems, not just to cover them up temporarily.
Use fresh natural ingredients, sourced from the West Coast of United States .
Focus on the internal rather than external healing.”
I’ve been wanting to try her products for a long time, especially for my leftover scarring from cystic acne. The website has a lot of before and afters of customers that have been using her products, and that just made it more intriguing for me to try it for myself.
A Bit About Dermarolling –
A.K.A. Collagen Induction Therapy
Depending on the needle length, dermarollers are an at home device to assist in further product penetration, or for Collagen Induction Therapy. 0.5mm is a “beginner” size for collagen induction, and titanium or stainless steel material is best to prevent bacteria build up on the rollers.
What it does is create micro-wounds in your skin, queuing your own body’s natural healing mechanisms to produce more collagen in the damaged area. By doing this, you’re helping speed up the healing process to your post-acne scarring and hyper-pigmentation, as well as smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles. The plus of this is that micro-channels are also created; when you use a serum, like the Banish Oil (a Vitamin C serum), it will penetrate further into the skin, and also assist with collagen production and overall skin health (Vitamin C helps with collagen synthesis).
Results vary from person to person, and it can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to see the full results from a dermarolling session.
Referral: Simple Skincare Science – Dermarolling: Everything You Need to Know (B&As Inside). Seriously, this is probably the best source I’ve found on dermarolling. Read his other stuff too, he’s freaking awesome!
What’s in the Kit
Now that I’m some type of child-adult that can afford things, I noticed the Banish Starter Kit was on sale from $263 USD to $195 USD (at the time I paid $250.62 CAD ;_;) with the dermaroller and a few other skincare products and tools, so I took the plunge. I’ve mentioned in the past acid toners being amazing for smoothing out skin, and I still stand by that! But I’m getting closer to 30, and acid toners still haven’t fully smoothed out my face, and the oncoming of fine lines isn’t really helping the smooth skin journey either! I’ve also been having a growing interest in at-home dermarolling, so it seemed like the perfect time to try out this product.
As I’ve mentioned, I purchased the Banish Starter Kit.
$263 USD, I bought it on sale for $195 USD
The Kit contains:
- Banish Oil ( a Vitamin C Serum)
- Vitamin C Beauty Elixir
- Banisher Roller
- Banisher Stamp
- Pumpkin Enzyme Masque
- Activated Charcoal Clay Masque
- Pore Smasher
- Banish Bag
- Plastic Cleaning Container
QUICK FACTS: “Vegan & Cruelty Free – All products are tested by the Banish Team on ourselves, NOT on animals!
Organic Plant Based Ingredients-You can pronounce our ingredients!
Made Fresh to Order
Made WITHOUT parabens and sulfates
No Artificial Colors
No Artificial Preservatives”
Link (not affiliate) to check out product descriptions and ingredient list: Banish Starter Kit
I originally went with the weekly use guide Banish provides, but it was not enough. I made the mistake of taking out what controlled my breakouts in hopes that these products could take over; I upped using the masks to a couple of times a week, and I did the 3rd and 4th dermaroll session in 1-week intervals as opposed to 2 week intervals like I did with the first 2 sessions. Below I listed a review on each skincare product in order of how I use them.
Check out my First Impressions of the product (red face and all) here! First Impressions: Banish Acne Scars Banish Starter Kit | MICHXMASH
Use: 1-2x week, before Banisher Roller and Pore Smasher
25 mL, $29 USD
Ingredients: Montmorillonite (Italian Green Clay), Activated Charcoal, Allantoin, Zinc Oxide, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Ester), Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae (Organic Blue Green Algae) Powder, Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE)
I’m not a fan masks that I need to add water to, but the upside is that a little goes a long way, the product can last longer in a powder form, also using it 1 – 2x daily as recommended helps with the longevity.
I decided to stick to mixing it with plain water, and it tightened up my face as it dried, something I’ve always experienced with charcoal or clay masks in this form. I also felt a slight bit of tingling from this mask as well, but nothing to make my skin angry.
I like that this mask is not just a basic activated charcoal and clay powder blend, but it also contains a variety of ingredients that are beneficial to skin. Such as Blue Green Algae (water-binder, antioxidant), Vitamin C Ester (antioxidant) and Allantoin (increases desquamation of skin and moisturizes), zinc oxide (anti-inflammatory).
Despite the nice minimal list of good-for-skin ingredients, I didn’t think this mask to be different from other ones I’ve tried. Can these extra ingredients really do much in a clay mask, or are they better off in a serum? Also, it did not do any significant effects for my skin while using it since March, other than maybe sucking out all the oil I have left in my skin.
Recommend? Yes. She may be small, but a little goes a long way.
Use: Day of dermarolling, before using the Banisher Roller
It is an ice roller with a detachable head so you don’t have to store the entire roller in the freezer. I’m not one to have an incredibly puffy face in the morning, so I haven’t been using the Pore Smasher on a daily basis. I used it every time before the dermarolling session and I found it to provide some relief from the pain you’d get. However, the last session I actually forgot to use this, and the pain threshold was the same.
The Pore Smasher is not much use for me, especially because it squeals a lot and is pretty annoying to use. But I can see how it would be handy for those who get easily puffy; It feels really good when you leave the roll in the freezer for 30 minutes and start rolling, and sometimes the squeaking disappears. As for pores, this is just a momentary-relief type of pore minimizer because of how cooling it is. I’ve had way more success using products with Niacinamide to actually reduce my pore size and keep it that way.
Recommend? If you deal with puffiness, yes. It’s a nice big roller. This will not solve the issue of enlarged pores. I barely touch it.
0.5mm length, titanium
Use: Night of dermarolling
Banish’s website was not enough for me to understand how to use this product efficiently and safely. I found a really good video by an Australian dermatologist demonstrating how to use a dermaroller on yourself, what to expect, and what to avoid. The two Banishers were in individually sealed packages and already sterile. Banish recommends you soak them in alcohol as a precaution measure to always ensure that the Banishers are properly sterile before use (the kit comes with a little plastic container for this).
The Roller and Stamp seemed to be good quality with no jagged needle. I’m pretty sure I could have used it more than 4 times, really. They’re a decent size and overall easy to use; you’d really have to go out of your way to severely injure yourself. I still used them as safely as I could and made sure to avoid the sensitive skin around my eyes. The only reason my face would become so red is because of applying the Banish Oil afterwards (the Banish Oil doesn’t sting me otherwise). After the first use my face DEFINITELY felt irritated and red, but the next few sessions weren’t as bad. Again, refer to my First Impressions.
What really irks me is the price of these. $49 USD – EACH on their own! By going on Amazon there are a number of titanium 0.25 – 1mm dermarollers sold in a pack of two for around $20 CAD! If it was both the roller and stamp for $49 USD I’d tell my American friends to go for it, cause it seems that stamps are pricier (the ones I’ve found, anyway). But save your money and go on Amazon or eBay. Just make sure the quality is there!
Recommend? No. You can find one on eBay or Amazon that’ll be the same quality.
Referral: Dr. David Lim’s demonstration for proper and safe dermarolling. Simple Skincare Science Guy also demos via pictures on his blog post!
Use: Every night after toner, before moisturizer
15 mL, Original Price $153 USD, Sale Price $49 USD
Ingredients: Glycerin, 99.9% Pure Grade L-Ascorbic (Vitamin C) acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Certified Organic Filet of Aloe Vera), hamamelis virginiana extract (made from Certified Organic Witch Hazel) Ferulic Acid, Tocopherol (Vitamin E),Rosa Centifolia (Rose) Flower Water, Rosehip Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract, citric acid.
I am quite fascinated by this Vitamin C serum. It has the mother of ingredient combos, Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid) – Vitamin E – Ferulic acid. This trio is supposed to bring Vitamin C up to its most optimum powers, making it an ideal formulation to help with scarring! What strikes my interest about THIS Vitamin C serum in particular is that the listed ingredients are very natural sounding and minimal. I say natural sounding because for those that would not know a chemical name of an ingredient, it is a more approachable product, especially if you’re planning on using it with dermarolling (However there are many Vitamin C products that have very safe, pure chemical stabilizing ingredients, that I would still use alongside dermarolling).
I was impressed that this was gave me a nice even skin tone and plump skin, and was able to increase my skin’s moisture. I would consider repurchasing the Banish Oil, however I don’t like not knowing the % of Vitamin C in this product, as well as the ridiculous cost. 15 mL for $153 USD? Really? It’s on sale now for $49 USD. I would rather just spend money on Drunk Elephant’s Firma Day Serum. Even better, order Timeless Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum – affordable AND effective, recommended by many vitamin C serum lovers. I wish this was more available to me at a better price, because this is the only skincare item I would repurchase from Banish Acne Scars!
Recommend? If you’re a vitamin C connoisseur, give this one a try.
Use: Whenever, wherever
30mL, $19 USD
Ingredients: Distilled Water, Aloe barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, (Vaccinium Myrtillus (Organic Bilberry) Extract, Saccharum officinarum (Organic Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharinum (Organic Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus auranium dulcis (Organic Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus medica limonum (Organic Lemon) Extract, Vaccinium macrocarpon (Organic Cranberry) Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Salix alba (Willow Bark) Extract, Polysorbate, Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Essential Oil, Tetrasodium EDTA, (May contain sodium bicarbonate and/or citric acid as pH adjusters).
The worst skincare product in the entire kit. When I first saw this I thought, “yay, a mist!” We should know by now that I love me some mists. Unfortunately this was my least favourite skincare item. It is very small in size, it didn’t hydrate much, and I always felt the tingling sensation from one of the essential oils. It didn’t irritate my skin, I just didn’t like it. There’s nothing about it that relieves or controls my problematic skin in any way. I couldn’t even spray the last bits of it – I actually used the small amount left with the Activated Charcoal Clay Masque to finish it off. The Vitamin C Elixir needs to have some more emollient ingredients in it to give it a bit more umph, and tone it down on whatever’s causing that tingling.
Recommend? No. Better mists out there that do something for your skin.
Use: 1-2x a week; If I dermarolled that week, I waited 2 days until using the mask
50mL, Original Price $40, Sale Price $35
Ingredients: Pumpkin Fruit, Organic Bilberry Fruit Extract, Organic Sugar Cane Extract, Organic Orange Peel Extract, Organic Lemon Peel Extract, Glycerin, Tetrasodium ETDA, Vitamin E, Phenoxyethanol, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Xanthan Gum, Vitamin C, Glycolic Acid, Neem Seed Oil, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Cinnamon Bark Powder, Ginger Root Powder, Nutmeg Powder.
Top ingredient is Pumpkin Fruit – pumpkin is supposed to be a good source of fruit enzymes, AHAs and Vitamins A and C. But the amount of everything in a 50mL product, I don’t know how much of an impact the Pumpkin Fruit is actually making alone, especially since Glycolic Acid and Vitamin C are also added to the ingredient list. Banish Acne Scars does not list the percentage of AHA and vitamin C is in this to understand how effective and potentially irritating it is.
After using this consistently since March, it never ceases to burn the heck out of my skin once I apply it. I can’t remember the last time a chemical exfoliant product stung me so bad, even with a thin layer! I’ve done chemical peels before, and even higher percentages of BHA didn’t sting this bad! Aside from the acids, this mask contains Cinnamon Bark Powder and Nutmeg Powder – 2 kitchen ingredients I used to use to make a homemade acne treatment back when I was a broke student. It worked, but stung my face if I used too much. With all these active ingredients in this mask, no wonder my face got angry so quick.
The Pumpkin Enzyme Mask did make my face feel very smooth after I washed it off, my face wasn’t left TOO red, and it would kill some of the baby zits I had on my face when I used it. But it would never prevent breakouts, and overall my face would feel sensitized and as if there was a lack of nourishment. I have gentler chemical exfoliants such as the ByWishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water that I would rather use; it shows similar results without the high irritation, plus acne prevention.
Recommend? Yes… But with caution.
Did it Banish? That is the Question.
NOTE: Sorry about the different lighting. It’s hard to capture everything exact. For what it’s worth, I altered the shading just to see size differences of the scarring and it’s definitely noticeable that there’s a difference! I can see it when I look at my front profile as well that my face is not as “caved in” as it was before.
After the first dermaroll session, I could tell after the first use my skin looked smoother. Now that I’m finished all 4 sessions, my face is looking plumper and in very bad lighting, the indented scarring is not as prominent! I’m not sure why, but in the 3rd photo my skin’s looking pretty hydrated (it could be that I used the Klairs toner in those photos, whereas the first 2 my skin was dry from being freshly washed… I can’t remember). Overall, I don’t notice them that much and even in selfies I can tell my face got a lot smoother!
Seeing the progress photos now as I write this, I can’t believe how much has changed in just 4 sessions. I thought I didn’t take the after photo properly, and I sent the edits to my friends and family for a confirmation that I needed to retake the photo! We all undeniably see the progress in the photos and in person, and I’m so happy.
Worth Your Hard Earned Coin?
– Products are made in house by the Banish Acne Scars Team.
– The Banish Oil and Pumpkin Enzyme Mask you get was made the day it shipped to you – this means they are super fresh, and the vitamin C won’t oxidize very fast!
– The ingredient list in all the skincare products are easily readable and you’d probably be familiar with 95% of them.
– Despite the small amounts, I found most of the skincare products to be effective with little amounts, so no need to overdo it (except for the Vitamin C Elixir), and actually lasted me 3ish months.
– This brand focuses on using your body’s own healing mechanism; I find that cool lol.
– If you’re American, you’d be supporting a local brand run by a person who used all of these products herself.
– Guaranteed results; obviously results differ from person to person, but you definitely get a taste of what dermarolling can do for you!
– This is more of my own issue since I’m north of the border – all the products are expensive, especially with conversion to CAD. Also because nothing has some type of obvious preservative, the fresh products will spoil faster so you must use it within 6 months or less. Not very cost effective for Canadians at the moment. Especially for the Banish Roller and Stamp itself! so ridiculous.
– There is a very big lack of information on how to dermaroll safely. There are so much contradictory studies about dermarolling, They should really emphasize how to safely use it. I know their Youtube Channel shows Daisy demonstrating all the products and some of the guest Youtubers, but I need a professional in the skincare field to talk about it. Fortunately, a simple Youtube query will provide you some videos of dermatologists talking about this!
– The whole “you can pronounce our ingredients” is an annoying marketing point I personally don’t like. Eg. The Activated Charcoal and Clay Masque contains Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) – it sounds bad, but it’s actually just the chemical name; it’s a derivative vitamin B choline. I for sure as hell can’t pronounce this the first time, yet they put it in their products. Not to call out Banish, but it’s just such a silly point to have. Just because chemical names are listed, it shouldn’t deter you from other well formulated products with chemical names – everything’s a chemical, after all.
This brand caters to the persons like who I once was. Just getting their face cleared, with a ton of reminders of the acne experience they have gone through. I’m personally an advocate for using natural, simple products with a minimal ingredient list to keep the inflammation at bay and to “reset” your skin, so to speak, before adding in some “fancier” products. Because these are local for our American friends, it’s a nice way to support a local brand with ingredients sourced from your home country! However for the rest of us, you can probably find a local brand with the same ethos that you can support, with a similar list of ingredients. If not, Banish is here!
– Do NOT get rid of what was controlling your acne; The skincare in this kit does not control my acne at all and I made the huge mistake of taking out what did in efforts to see the full effects of these products. I’m left with another few big red marks because of it (queue in that awful cyst in my B&As).
– Use little amount of everything, you really don’t need a lot (except for the mist, it’s hard not to use a lot).
– Do not wait, use the products right away; no obvious type of preservative in the products, so you want to make sure to get the best of it while it’s fresh!
As for myself, I’m glad I finally crushed the curiosity and tried these products. Overall the experience was fairly pleasant and have gained significant results. However, I’ve been waiting to finish dermarolling so I can try Retinoid products since I still have quite a bit of breakouts (as you can see from that big ass cyst on my cheek). Retinoids are supposed to help with skin texture related to acne and aging, as well as controlling acne. I feel like using a Retinoid would also reduce the amount of products I’d need in my skincare and help make my routine more minimal (we’ll see, lol). Also, repurchasing the Banish Start Kit around 4 times a year is a serious investment for me. *Friendly reminder* I paid $250.62 CAD rather than $195 USD – too huge of a jump to do it again, especially if I’d have to purchase the kit every 3 months or so. If I do go back to dermarolling, I’d opt for the ones sold on Amazon, and maybe treat myself to the lovely Banish Oil once again.
I hope this review helped you out! Comment your questions below if I forgot to address something about the experience that you were wondering. Remember if you try dermarolling, be safe!
WHERE TO BUY: $20 Off your FIRST purchase with Banish Acne Scars *
* referral link where I earn a $20 coupon if you use this link