Stores & Services
Find a Sephora

Happening at Sephora

View all


From makeovers to personalized skincare consultations

Free Classes

Get inspired, play with products & learn new skills

Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Post in Skincare Aware

Sunday Riley Disaster

At the beginning of this summer I got the worst acne I have ever gotten. This was probably a combination of moving to a city from a countryside, stress, and inconsistent routine. Near the end of the summer, I was looking for something to help with the dark spots and texture, and was suggested Sunday Rileys UFO and Good genes products, I also got the Ole Henriksen oil balancing toner. Reviews were so good for these products I jumped right in. My skin "purged" really bad. It was a nightmare, but people said purging was a normal part of using AHAs, BHAs and salicylic acid, but it did not stop, and was giving me terrible painful under the skin bumps which I have never had in my life. I used them for about 6-8 weeks before finally giving up. I still use the Ole Henriksen toner (you know when you just want something to work?), but I fear that my skin might be too sensitive for these products? Has anybody had a similar reaction to these products, did I go into using them too quickly. Should I give them another shot-working them back in slowly? Or does anybody with sensitive skin know of a good product for pigmentation without chemical exfoliants?


Any advice is welcome, my skin is stressing me out and then my stress is breaking me out... its a vicious cycle.


First picture is my skin prior to this summer, second picture is currently (dealing with the aftermath of these products)



Re: Sunday Riley Disaster

I know how frustrating it can be if you’re skin just doesn’t respond well

with products. I used to have cystic acne when I was in uni and for the longest time, I can’t keep it out. It would dry up then after a few days, will pop up again near the same freakin’ spot. It was sooo red abd painful. So I went to the dermatologist and she told me that it keeps popping up one after the other because you never got rid of the bacteria the grew underneath your skin. It just laid dormant for a few days but it’s still there. So she cleaned the zits manually then applied antibiotic after. I also underwent an oxygen blast treatment to get rid of the bacteria that are apparently anaerobic (will die when there’s oxygen) and I finally realized that the culprit of my cystic acne was the disposable face mask that I regulary use in my hospital training for uni. Apparently, I’m allergic to those stuff. 


I suggest that you stop using the UFO and just try gentle products for a few weeks. Or go to the dermatologist for professional guidance.

Re: Sunday Riley Disaster

@ErsG When you say “jump in” you mean that you started using all the products daily? If yes, the. I definitely feel you may have overdone it. It seems you have sensitive skin and that could be a major factor. 


I would stop everything and give your akin some time to heal then re-introduce them slowly like this:


Use UFO at night, every 3 nights. Give your skin time to acclimate to the product. If you get a reaction like burning or redness that lasts more than a day, it may not be a product for you. If you get a breakout, it may be dirt and oils coming to the surface. Give it one more application.  


As far as Good Genes, you should use it as a mask first. Don’t keep it on your skin all night. Acids can cause some major irritation if you’re sensitive or not accustomed to it. Use one pump, once a week and do not follow it with UFO. Let it sit on your face for 10-15 min, rinse and apply a moisturizer. 


These are great products. I just think you may have gone too fast. I’d say give it one more go instead of purchasing something else. You spent a great deal of money. Skincare can be very confusing and having sensitive skin can be very tricky. Baby steps is key. ❤️

Re: Sunday Riley Disaster

I'm so sorry you had this experience.  I would probably not have taken on an entirely new routine all at once.  If you want to try those products, I'd say one at a time and maybe on alternating days with something more gentle to start.



Two suggestions.  My husband has dark spots/skin discoloration from the sun, and he's been using KIEHL'S SINCE 1851 - Clearly Corrective™ Dark Spot Solution

I had received it as a sample but have no need for it, so I gave it to him figuring it can't hurt to try.  Two weeks after he began using it we noticed a dramatic difference.  He liked it so much that I bought the largest size for him!


I got a cut on my face this summer that really needed stitches but they couldn't get a palstic surgeon off the lake on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and felt that a regular ER doctor would cause a lot of scarring if they tried to stitch it, so they closed it with surgical glue.  Horrific looking for the first two weeks until it fell off.  I did have quite a scar.  I began using Kate Somerville D-Scar™ Scar Diminishing Serum 0.66 oz on it religiously morning and night, and it has faded it to the point that it's really not noticeable unless you are looking for it.  I couldn't believe how well it worked.  Every few weeks I think it's not going to get much better, but I keep using it and taking a hard look now and then, and each time I truly notice an improvement.  I was hesitant to buy this product because it's spendy, but in the end I'm really grateful that I did, because it worked so well!

Sunday Riley Disaster

Same happened to me! Good Genes destroyed my skin and gave me horrible cystic acne all over my cheeks- which I'd never had before. I gave it 6 weeks hoping my skin was just "purging". I finally just tossed it and 4 weeks later I'm still trying to get rid of the damage

Re: Sunday Riley Disaster

I am using effaclar duo ( washing solution, toner and cream)  by laroche posay for acne breakouts . After cleaning your face you should use a good moisturizer. My cosmetologist was also offering a custom acne facial: salicylic ( light) peel, followed by a jet clear and led light. It is awesome combo for acne. 

Sunday Riley Disaster

it takes at least 8 to 12 weeks to see if any product works for your skin ( especially with major issue like acne). I personally not a fan of at home chemical exfoliators. even if I use it every other day they make my skin look weird. instead I prefer to have light chemical peel at an esthetician once a month. for acne treatment check out drugstore brands like vichy , nutrogina, la roshe posay ( good staff without breaking the bank ). create your regiment and use for at least 4 month + add some multivitamins. if you don't see any improvements in 4 month I would see a dermatologist. don't forget to use sunscreen and only use paper towel to wipe your face . keep your make up brushes / extremely clean. bacteria from your skin can transfer to brushes/ tools and make it worse .

Re: Sunday Riley Disaster

Thanks for your response! I actually tried to get a referral to the dermatologist. And the doctor basically wouldn't give me one unless I try their remedies first, basically topicals like "adapalene". My friend uses this, and its something she has to use every night or she breaks out. I don't want to put such harsh chemicals on my face. Thanks for your advice... I'm going to go make sure my makeup brushes are clean right now!

RE: Sunday Riley Disaster

Hello! 6-8 wks is way too long to try a product specially if breaking out, for me. I have a very sensitive skin and acne prone. i usually give the product 2wks after a breakout. If the product is good, it shld be ok after that. I suggest to try lancome mousse radiance self foaming cleanser and lancome tonique rehydrating comforting toner with acacia honey to help your breakout. But, moisturizer try olehenriksen c-rush brightening gel creme although you used the toner the moisturizer might work for you. Good Luck

Re: RE: Sunday Riley Disaster

I agree, but everytime I would go online or to Sephora with concerns about the product not working after over a month, the answer would always be purging...Right now I picked up some of the Farmacy products, gentle cleanser and moisturizer and dropped everything else.. and I'm hoping it will help. Thank you!

RE: Sunday Riley Disaster

Oh that’s awful! I feel so bad for you and your poor skin. I had asimilar reaction with a different cleanser after just using it for a few days. I can’t even imagine a few weeks like you did! Your skin is screaming for help right now, baby it. Calming cleansers, and moisturizer, and let it breathe. I starting using the Lise Watier Cooling Foam Cleanser right after and it helped IMMENSELY with mydryness, redness, sensitivity and flaking. Something soothing and gentle like goats milk, or a yogurt cleanser might work well too. Hope you can get some relief!

Re: RE: Sunday Riley Disaster

Right? My poor skin!

I picked up a gentle cleanser and moisturizer, am dropping all extra items from my routine until my skin recovers. Thank you for your help!

Re: Sunday Riley Disaster

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I've been using Sunday Riley products for awhile now and never experienced this. I have, however, experienced it with other products. I know you really want something to work, but you need to take a break from all the products you started just before this. Give your face a week or two to recover. Then, if you really want to try some of these again since you made the investment, try adding them back in one at a time giving at least a week of seeing what one does to your skin before adding another item back in. 

Re: Sunday Riley Disaster

the reviews for sunday riley products are SO good.

Coincidentally, I was shopping tonight and this girl asked me about my skin (she thought it looked good because it was covered with makeup), because she was having some troubles. I was telling her about my recent problems with Sunday riley, turned out she had been using UFO for about a month now and experiencing terrible purging and painful under the skin spots. 

It seems unusual, for such a well received product. Alas... the struggles of sensitive skin.

I'm going to give my face a break, just gentle cleanser and moisturizer and fingers crossed it gets better. Thank you  for your help!

Re: Sunday Riley Disaster

@ErsG I agree with @politicalblonde. Try going cold turkey for a week or so, and focus on using soothing ingredients for your skin- try a gentle soap like Cetaphil or Cerave and follow with a serum or moisturizer without any exfoliatiors in it, I suggest FIRST AID BEAUTY - Ultra Repair® Hydrating Serum and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair® Cream Intense Hydration 6 oz/ 170 g

14 Replies
Conversation Stats
  • 14 replies
  • 16 Hearts Given
  • 11 Contributors
  • IMG_8618.PNG
  • IMG_8617.JPG