Having battled acne for a very, very long time I’ve tried loads of different cleansers over the years, most marketed as suitable for acne-prone skin. There was a great deal of “misses”, and only a handful of “hits”.
I used to think (for whatever reason) that in order to properly cleanse my acne-prone skin, I’m destined to using harsh and drying cleansers. As a teenager, I was under the impression that I can “scrub” my breakouts and wash my skin’s oiliness away. I over-exfoliated my skin on regular basis, used tons of benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid based products, in hopes of clearing up my skin. While both BP and salicylic acid are great for treating acne, a lot of cleansers (especially drugstore ones) that contain it can have quite an opposite effect (these ingredients really cannot work effectively in a cleanser, as they are being rinsed away, rather than left on the skin as a treatment). This was exactly what happened to me. Because I used harsh cleansers, my skin was irritated, which in turn caused it to break out, big time. This cycle would continue for years until I discovered that in order for my skin to get better, I need to be gentle with it.
Your facial cleanser should be gentle enough to simply slide on your skin, especially if you’re battling acne. Your skin should not feel dry or tight after you cleanse it. Here are my six, all-time favorite cleansers.
1. Cetaphil Daily Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin. This was one of the first gentle cleansers that I’ve tried. I love the creamy formula and the fact that it doesn’t burn or irritate my eyes, removing all traces of makeup. One problem that I have with this cleanser is the fact that it claims to be fragrance-free. The fragrance really is undetectable, however, looking at the ingredient list I noticed that it contains Masking Fragrance (a chemical fragrance used to hide smells of other chemicals used in the product). I guess that’s just a proof of how deceiving the beauty industry can be. Whenever a product is marked as “fragrance-free” or “unscented” it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s free of chemical fragrances. Other than that, I love this cleanser.
2. Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Cleanser Foaming Formula. I’m not usually a fan of Neutrogena skincare products (too many times they’ve left me feeling disappointed) but this cleanser is a great drugstore find. I believe I received a full-sized tube of this few months ago in one of the Allure Beauty Boxes. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this worked for me. It’s a very mild cleanser that feels incredibly silky and leaves the skin feeling soft, without any dryness.
3. CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. This is an awesome cleanser for those with normal to oily skin or even those struggling with rosacea. It’s once again gentle, lathers beautifully and it’s great at removing any dirt, oil, and makeup. If your skin is on a dry side, I highly recommend Hydrating version of this cleanser (CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser).
4. Acne.org Cleanser. This is my Holy Grail cleanser that I WILL NOT GO WITHOUT. It’s super gentle, it has a silky texture and leaves skin feeling extremely soft and smooth. I usually rotate between several different cleansers, this one is my favorite.
5. Olay Foaming Face Wash for Sensitive Skin. Another great drugstore cleanser. I discovered it when looking for the acne.org cleanser alternative when I ran out. It’s great for all skin types and does a great job at removing any makeup that my jojoba oil missed.
6. Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel. This probably is the only out of the six cleansers that I need to be careful with whenever using it around my eyes as it can be a bit irritating. Other than that, it’s pretty awesome. This works great with all skin types, except for very dry. Whenever my skin feels a bit dry, I don’t use this cleanser. It’s definitely one of my warm-weather favorites though.
Whatever your skin type may be, gentle cleanser is always a way to go. If you want great skin, you need to be kind and delicate with it. That’s something I, unfortunately, learned the hard way.