Skin Resurfacing Cleanser
5.1 fl. oz. for $40
Last Updated:04.01.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

Skin Resurfacing Cleanser is an acidic water-soluble cleanser whose lactic acid content has the ability to exfoliate skin; that is, if you leave it on your skin for at least several minutes. Doing that, however, would only increase the irritation potential of this cleanser, a result of the many fragrant oils, other fragrant components, and the detergent cleansing agents it contains. And getting this cleanser anywhere near your eyes would be a problematic experience! This cleanser is not recommended; you can achieve better results without tempting irritation by using a well formulated alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) exfoliant that contains either lactic or glycolic acid plus anti-irritants. We cannot stress enough what a bad idea using this cleanser is, especially if you opt to leave it on your skin for several minutes.


Achieve superior smoothness and ultra-clean skin after just one use with this dual-action exfoliating cleanser. A highly active Lactic Acid concentrate retexturizes skin suffering from visible signs of aging by removing dulling surface debris and accelerating cell renewal. Daily use of this silky cleanser dramatically improves skin texture and properly prepares for maximum penetration of AGE Smart products. Contains no artificial fragrance or color.


Water/Aqua/Eau, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lactic Acid, PPG-2 Hydroxyethyl Cocamide, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Polyacrylate-1 Crosspolymer, Glycol Distearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Citronellol, Eugenol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rose Damascena Flower Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Oil.

Brand Overview

Dermalogica At-A-Glance

Strengths: Good eye-makeup remover; a unique skin-lightening product; a couple of commendable moisturizers, one with stabilized vitamin C.

Weaknesses: Expensive; almost every category has one or more products that contain irritating ingredients with no established benefit for skin; Clean Start and MediBac lines are particularly disappointing; the SPF products tend to be mediocre to poor.

Dermalogica's name implies a logical relationship to dermatology, which makes it sound as if you are getting serious skin care. The subtitle on their products is even more commanding: "A Skin Care System Researched and Developed by the International Dermal Institute." But what is the International Dermal Institute, you ask? Are there any dermatologists there? Apparently not: The International Dermal Institute is a Dermalogica-owned school for aestheticians who want an education beyond what is required for their cosmetology license, and the classes are taught by aestheticians.

Does the professional atmosphere of the school associated with Dermalogica mean better products? The proof is in the pudding, and this pudding is, for the most part, just Jell-O, not chocolate mousse. A company so concerned with skin-care education should be ashamed of itself for offering so many products that damage skin with known irritants and, more egregiously, offering so many sunscreens that lack sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients. Dermalogica's education-oriented, serious-minded, and clinical positioning doesn’t mesh with the majority of their products, and is on par with tobacco company executives teaching an aerobics class.

According to company history, the reason Dermalogica products came to be was that founder Jane Wurwand could not find a spa-oriented skin-care line that met her criteria. She was dismayed that so many skin-care lines aimed at the aesthetics market had products that contained alcohol, artificial colors, fragrance, mineral oil, and lanolin, ingredients that she believed had a well-documented history of problems. That's true for fragrance and alcohol (and artificial colors to a lesser extent), but mineral oil and lanolin have no documented history of causing skin problems. If anything, quite the opposite is true. Further, if Dermalogica's founders were so concerned about potentially or definitively harmful ingredients, why do their products contain so many of them? Where is the research proving that lavender oil, camphor, balm mint, arnica, ginger oil, and citrus oils are helpful for skin?

For more information about Dermalogica now owned by Unilever, call 1-800-345-2761 or visit www.dermalogica.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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Did you read the instructions?

The instructions say leave on for only 30 secs. It does leave your skin way smoother after use.

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Beautypedia Team Response

Hi there!  We apologize if our comment about leaving it on for several minutes was confusing.  We did only leave it on for thirty seconds when testing but our comment was referring to the fact that for chemical exfoliation to occur, lactic acid has to remain on the skin for an extended period of time of several minutes.  True leave-on products such as gels and lotions actually work the best when it comes to chemical exfoliation.  We hope that clarifies!  Have a nice day!

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