One fun fact about the beauty industry is that hundreds of new products are launched every month. Yes, we do log all of them. Beauty editors and beauty writers must carefully review each product in order to ensure that it is safe and effective for consumers. It can be difficult to find the best products among the fashionable clutter.
One product type that seems to see a new release every month are that contain active ingredients. These types of cleansers are often viewed as a scam due to their quick wash-off. This theory is not without merit. The myths surrounding cleansers with active ingredients are debunked by a board certified dermatologists.
How Do Cleansers with Active Ingredients Work?
Dr. Peredo says that active ingredients found in cleanser or wash-off products often work within a few minutes of application. This means that these ingredients penetrate the skin and deliver specific skin-care benefits.
Here’s a brief on the science behind this phenomenon: “While this does not apply to all cleansers, many cleansers contain a higher concentration of the particular active ingredient as opposed to serums that are left on the skin,” says Dr. Zeichner. Many cleansers have higher levels of active ingredients than serums, which can make them less effective over time.
Dr. Zeichner explains that cleansers containing active ingredients “need enough contact time with the skin to allow the active ingredient to penetrate through the outer skin layer.” Dr. Zeichner shares the following tip: Sing the alphabet aloud while you cleanse your skin to ensure that your cleanser is given enough time to perform its task correctly.
Are Certain Active Ingredients More Effective in Cleansers Than Others?
Dr. Zeichner says, “It is not clear whether cleansers containing ingredients such as vitamin C or retinal really offer any benefits to the skin.” These ingredients must be in close contact with the skin to ensure their effectiveness.
But there are a ton of active ingredients that do a fine job in cleansers. “Salicylic Acid is one of my favourite actives. It is a betahydroxy acid (BHA), which is great to use on acne-prone skin because it reduces oil production, unclog pores and reduces bacteria. Ceramides are natural lipids that act as a barrier to the external environment. It protects the skin from environmental irritants such as pollution.
Along with BHAs, Dr. Zeichner also recommends trying out cleansers formulated with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or polyhydroxy acids (PHAs). Dr. Zeichner says that benzoylperoxide is an excellent active for acne-prone skin. “It lowers the levels of acne-causing bacteria and subsequently decreases inflammation in my skin.” Maximum strength benzoyl-peroxide cleanser that contains 10 percent benzoylperoxide is what he recommend.