Is a $46 facial cleanser better than a $6 one? That usually depends more on the user than on the products. The truth is most facial cleansers, no matter the price, have similar active ingredients. So you don’t have to buy expensive department-store facial cleansers to have clean, healthy skin. But if you’re using an expensive facial cleanser and love it, then by all means continue to do so.
Every day in my office, I have at least a couple of patients ask me what I recommend for affordable facial cleansers, which I consider to be under $15. Here’s what I tell them to look for in a facial cleanser:
1. Avoid harsh bar soaps which strip natural oils off your skin, leaving your face dry and tight. See all those suds on the woman’s face above? They’re stripping oils off her skin, like dish washing detergent strips oils off of dirty dishes. It may feel good while it’s lathering, but your skin will end up feeling tight and dry.
2. Use gentle non-soap liquid or foaming cleansers designed specifically for the face. They’ll clean the skin, removing dirt and makeup, without removing the skin’s natural oils.
3. Use lukewarm water when washing your face, as hot water can strips off natural oils. And always gently pat dry; never rub.
4. Wash your face with cleanser once a day before you go to bed. For most people simple rinsing with water in the morning is sufficient.
5. I know you want my product recommendations now, and I’m happy to share them. Just remember, that there are many more quality products available, but the ones listed here are ones I have either personally used or have been highly recommended by patients for years.
Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser: A low-foaming, creamy, gentle liquid cleanser. (About $6 at drugstores.) It’s in my medicine cabinet right now.
Normal to Oily Skin:
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash: A low-foaming salicylic acid wash that helps prevent breakouts yet is gentle, not drying, on your skin. (About $8 at drugstores and online.)
Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Scrub: Unlike other scrubs, this one is gentle on your skin, and with beta hydroxy acid, it helps keep skin feeling soft. (About $7 in drugstores and online.)
Normal to Dry Skin:
Purpose: This non-soap cleanser is gentle, not drying, on the skin. (About $6 at drugstores and online.)
Cera Ve Hydrating Cleanser: This moisturizing cleanser with glycerin helps cleanse dirt and oil without drying out skin. It’s good for people with sensitive skin as well. (About $15 in drugstores and online.)
Sensitive Skin, Combination Skin, and People with Skin Conditions:
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser: A creamy, gentle liquid cleanser that is non-irritating and non-comedogenic. (About $9 at drugstores and online.)
Oil of Olay Foaming Face Wash for Sensitive Skin: A lightweight foaming cleanser that’s both oil and fragrance- free, making it ideal for sensitive skin. (About $5 at drugstores and online.)
How about you? Which facial cleansers do you like? Please share with us in the comment section below.
Photo credit: FCC, shannonkringen