Cleanance K Cream-Gel
1.37 fl. oz. for $24
Last Updated:12.02.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This product is chiefly an AHA exfoliant meant for acne-prone skin. Although AHA ingredients can be helpful for breakouts, BHA (active ingredient salicylic acid) is preferred because it can penetrate oil to better dislodge blockages inside the pores. BHA is also mildly antibacterial and has anti-inflammatory properties, while AHAs do not have these traits. Although this product does contain BHA, it's present in too small an amount to be of much benefit.

The AHA ingredients are present in an amount capable of exfoliating, and the pH of 3.6 ensures these ingredients will exfoliate, which is the goal. Although that's helpful, as mentioned, most struggling with breakouts will get better results from a BHA exfoliant.

As for this product being a better choice for sensitive, easily irritated skin, it isn't. Not only is the amount of AHA a potential problem for extra-sensitive skin, but also the inclusion of fragrance isn't a good idea because fragrance itself can be irritating. See More Info for further details on why fragrance isn't good for skin. This product would have been far better with a selection of anti-irritants to reduce the potentially irritating effects of the AHA. This ends up being an OK but pricey option as an AHA exfoliant for normal to slightly dry skin, and a questionable option for breakout-prone skin.

  • Silky texture is easy to apply.
  • Contains an effective amount of AHAs at a pH that ensures exfoliation.
  • AHAs are not as effective for breakouts as BHA (salicylic acid).
  • Amount of salicylic acid in this exfoliant is too low to benefit skin.
  • Contains fragrance, which shouldn't be in skin-care products for sensitive skin.

More Info:

Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For these reasons, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22.)


Daily treatment helps eliminate clogged pores, blackheads, blemishes to reveal a brighter, clearer complexion. Non-irritating formulations clinically proven to change the pattern of cycle causing acne breakouts, reduce excess sebum, and restore skin’s balance.


Water, Cyclomethicone, Glycolic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Polyacrylamide, Lactic Acid, Polymethylmethacrylate, Sodium Hydroxide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Disodium Phosphate, Bisabolol (L-Alpha), Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil, Dimethiconol, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance (Parfum), Laureth 7, Polysorbate 20, Salicylic Acid, Zinc, Gluconate.

Brand Overview

Eau Thermale Avene At-a-Glance

Strengths: Some excellent cleansers; well-formulated sunscreens; moisturizers that help to treat very dry, fragile skin; praiseworthy lip balms.

Weaknesses: Can be on the pricey side.

Eau Thermale Avene’s most prominent claim to fame is the thermal spring water in its products, which the brand maintains is curative due to both historical and scientific evidence. Unfortunately, there isn’t much evidence that we could locate that was in the form of published, peer-reviewed research. Without the research, thermal water is ultimately more about marketing than fact—however, the good news is whatever the factualness of their claims about the ingredient, at least thermal water isn’t going to harm your skin in any way.

Thermal water aside, what is clear is that Avene’s goal is to provide formulas for those who battle sensitive skin concerns. With that in mind, we can say there are quite a few successes among the brand’s range of offerings. There are also a few products we saw as missteps for reasons noted in their respective reviews.

Overall, Eau Thermale Avene’s more praiseworthy qualities is the range of options provided for those that have exceptionally sensitive skin, i.e. who may have been unable to tolerate more advanced anti-aging formulas. While we would have liked to see more in the way of complexity of anti-aging formulas from Avene (and fewer claims about thermal water), the particular direction the brand takes towards skincare is one that has its audience.

For more information about Eau Thermale Avene, call (866) 412-8363 or visit www.aveneusa.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Works great for me :D

I have sensitive skin. I have had bad skin since about 14. When I was about 16, I began developing deep acne around my chin and jawline, on top of the regular pimples everywhere. I went on strong birth control at 19, and used it on-and-off for 5 years (weaker pills in-between). I finally stopped because it gave me serious side effects. The acne returned badly (as always). I tried this cream, and after a month, my skin is almost not breaking out, and very little hyperpigmentation is left :)

Reviewed by
Reformulated one is better

I second this. The new formula, which I own, contains both AHAs (Glycolic acid + Lactic acid) and BHAs (Salicyclic acid). I feel like it is now at least a Good rating, perhaps not best but I enjoy using this exfoliator, it helps greatly with diminishing acne and improves the texture of my face.

Reviewed by
Arielle R.
New formula..

Avene has a new formula of this gel-cream. It contains 1% BHA and the pH is 3.4.. Maybe you could review this new formula for us..

Reviewed by
Firdaouss M.
Beautypedia Team Response

Thanks for the heads up on the reformulation! We'll check this out and amend the review as necessary.

—Paula's Choice Research Team
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