This post will be highly opinionated, and is primarily based on my own experiences (and whatever semblance of logic I have left). If you take personal offense to what I have to say, I’d suggest never using the internet ever again.
I know just how easy it is to get enticed by the allure of trying a new skin care product. Even when I think of how silly it sounds, I still can’t shake the idea that there is one product out there that will be my holy grail product, and I will never have to worry about zits, dryness, or redness again. Sure, there are fabulous products out there, but they are often on the exact opposite end of the shelf you had been gawking at for the past 2 hours and 45 minutes.
It won’t be long before skin care brands sell cleansers that promise to make our boobs bigger, butts tighter, and our brains grow these cyborg sidekicks that read minds. The point is, cleansers do NOT need to be these powerhouse products they are turning into. The purpose of a facial cleanser is to gently, non-abrasively remove oil and dirt from our skin’s surface. We do not need all of the extra frills that many cleansers claim to have, whether it be a cleanser that claims to provide a deeper clean, keep your skin clean even after you’ve washed, or cleansers that contain some degree of salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
It is not that you never want to use products that contain ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or other skin-enhancing ingredients, but you aren’t going to see much of a benefit from these products in a cleanser. The product is only on your face for about 30 seconds, or less, and then it is washed off. So, smartypantses, why add extra ingredients to something, when it is totally unnecessary!?
Save the zit-zapping ingredients, and whatever other remedy-specific ingredients your skin requires, for the treatment products you apply after you cleanse. For example, toners, acne gels, moisturizers, serums, or even masks, and peels. These products sit on / absorb into the skin over an extended period, after you’ve cleansed, so you they have time for the ingredients to actually treat your skin woes.
Stick to cleansers that describe themselves as fragrance-free, gentle, a cleansing milk / cream instead of a gel, hypoallergenic, non-irritating, or for acne-prone skin. Many of the cleansers I’d suggest are not cruelty-free (Cetaphil, Spectro Jel), but there are cruelty-free options too (the Acne.org cleanser, for example). I’d suggest checking out Acne.org’s review section: it is a fabulous community!