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Top 6 recommended Face Cleansers

As the initial step in your skincare regimen, facial cleansing plays a pivotal role in maintaining the equilibrium of your skin. An excessively harsh cleanser can deprive your skin of its valuable natural oils, whereas a too gentle one might not effectively eliminate excess sebum and product residues, especially if your skin tends to be oily. An ideal cleanser should be gentle and nurturing; post-cleansing, your skin should feel invigorated rather than tight and parched, while your pores should feel clear and ready for the application of serums or moisturizers. Whether you have combination skin or struggle with acne, there are suitable options available.

What you need to know to chose the right cleanser

Skin Type:

Let's start with the basics. Select a cleanser that aligns with your specific skin type. While beauty enthusiasts may find this obvious, in our experience, many individuals actually struggle to identify their skin type when questioned. If you experience no particular issues, such as acne or dryness, you likely possess what's often referred to as "normal" skin. However, for those facing more complex challenges, such as severe dryness leading to tightness and flaking or blemishes stemming from excessive oiliness, the situation isn't as straightforward. In such cases, it's crucial to consider both the ingredients and the consistency of your cleanser, choosing one that is tailored to address the needs of your dry, oily, acne-prone, sensitive, or combination skin.


Once you've determined your skin type, factor in the consistency of the cleanser. Dry skin benefits from creamy formulations, akin to moisturizers or hydrating oil cleansers, to address damage. In contrast, those with oily or acne-prone skin should lean towards foamy or gel-based cleansers to effectively manage excess oil. Surprisingly, even oily skin can benefit from cleansing oils since they operate on the principle that "oil attracts oil," helping to balance the skin. Sensitive skin, on the other hand, should opt for creamier cleansers, as they tend to be gentler and less likely to irritate delicate skin.


The choice of ingredients depends largely on your skin type. For most individuals, a practical guideline is to opt for products labeled as "oil-free" or "noncomedogenic," indicating that they won't clog pores. If your skin tends to be dry, look for ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture effectively, which can also prove beneficial for those using drying ingredients to combat acne. Conversely, acne-prone and oily skin benefits from exfoliating ingredients such as "salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or alpha hydroxy acids," as these help remove excess oil, debris, and dirt buildup that can lead to acne. Sensitive skin types should steer clear of harsh ingredients and instead focus on soothing components like aloe, cucumber, or clay. To know more on skincare ingredients shop our skincare ingredients dictionary on Amazon. Click here to shop.

Recommended face cleansers

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

This Cetaphil facial cleanser boasts potent ingredients, including glycerin for hydration, vitamin B5 to safeguard the skin's barrier, and niacinamide for smoothing and moisture retention. While it may not have an extravagant flair and won't bring about revolutionary changes, it offers a straightforward, soap-free, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free cleansing experience. It effectively removes dirt, oil, and makeup without depleting the skin's natural moisture or causing any irritation. What sets it apart is its remarkable affordability, allowing you to allocate your budget toward other products like moisturizers and serums that deliver longer-lasting benefits to your skin. Click here to buy.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne-Fighting Facial Cleanser With Salicylic Acid

Individuals with acne-prone skin should seriously consider opting for a cleanser that contains either salicylic acid, renowned for its pore-unclogging properties and ability to reduce swelling and inflammation, or benzoyl peroxide, an antiseptic that effectively reduces bacterial presence on the skin to prevent future breakouts. Moreover, with a salicylic acid concentration of just 2 percent, the cleanser is gentle enough for sensitive skin, yet it remains effective in managing severe breakouts. The gel texture of the product also makes it particularly suitable for addressing issues related to oily skin without causing excessive dryness. Click here to buy.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser

Dermatologists expressed equal favor towards both the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser and this La Roche-Posay selection for individuals with dry skin. While the CeraVe facial cleanser incorporates hyaluronic acid, which is not present in the La Roche-Posay cleanser, our expert analysis suggests that the La Roche-Posay option may actually have a slight advantage. Notably, it provides an extra ounce of product for the same price and contains a richer array of active ingredients compared to CeraVe, including ceramides, glycerin, and niacinamide. Furthermore, it boasts La Roche-Posay's renowned thermal spring water, renowned for its antioxidant properties, which effectively hydrate and soothe dry, irritated skin. Click here to buy.

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

Dr. Gretchen Frieling, a certified dermatopathologist, expresses her admiration for CeraVe's noncomedogenic foaming facial cleanser when it comes to individuals with oily skin. She appreciates how the formula's three essential ceramides effectively cleanse the skin without causing excessive stripping. Frieling further notes that these ceramides play a role in restoring the skin's protective barrier, enhancing its resilience against future damage and the signs of aging.

Dr. Michelle Park from Washington Square Dermatology also shares a similar appreciation for CeraVe's formula. She favors the foaming wash over creams, asserting that it excels at removing dirt, oil, and makeup, making it an excellent choice for skincare. Click here to buy.

PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash With 10 Percent Benzoyl Peroxide

The primary active ingredient in PanOxyl is benzoyl peroxide, a compound that, according to New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Amy Wechsler, serves a dual purpose by eliminating acne-causing bacteria and regulating oil production.

Although the formula contains a high 10 percent concentration of benzoyl peroxide in comparison to other brands, Viera-Newton points out that since it's a face wash rather than a serum, it remains on the skin temporarily. This temporary contact minimizes the risk of flakiness or dryness. She personally uses it once a week as a preventive measure to ward off acne and increases its usage to nightly application when unexpected pimples emerge, continuing until the swelling subsides, particularly during her menstrual cycle. Click here to buy.

Youth to the People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser

Similar to a foaming facial cleanser, a gel-based one is most suitable for individuals with oily or acne-prone skin, as it possesses the ability to effectively remove excess oil from both the skin's surface and within the pores. However, it's worth noting that many gel face cleansers can be excessively drying, potentially causing more harm than benefit. Dr. Corey L. Hartman, the founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, Alabama, and Dr. Hope Mitchell, the founder of Mitchell Dermatology in Perrysburg, Ohio, assert that this particular face wash stands as an exception to the norm. Its formulation incorporates organic antioxidants such as kale, spinach, and green tea, which, according to Mitchell, not only enhance skin moisture but also provide anti-inflammatory protection. Importantly, they do so without leaving the skin feeling dry or tight. Click here to buy.

Kaye's Beauty Book is here to help you choose better products that suit your skin, hair and lifestyle. All of the products mentioned are carefully researched and selected to ensure that the most credible information comes to you. If you do buy a product from one of our links, Kaye's Beauty Book may earn a commission.

II DISCLAIMER: Every skin is different, not everything works for everybody. I recommend you test the product before completely using any new product. II


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