Lancer Skincare
Cleanse Extremely Pure
4 fl. oz. for $50
Category:Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:04.01.2013
Jar Packaging:False
Tested on animals:No

Aside from the “extremely” obnoxious price, this is a very standard water-soluble cleanser. Although it contains some novel ingredients, such as exfoliant enzymes and antioxidants, they will be rinsed down the drain before they can benefit your skin. Plus, enzymes are unstable ingredients that offer minimal to no exfoliating benefit.

This product also contains some problematic ingredients that should have been left out of the formula. These include free radical–generating hydrogen peroxide, part of Lancer’s Proprietary Liposome Complex. Even though this is rinsed off, it shouldn’t be in any skin-care product. Please see More Info below for a discussion of this Complex and why it is seriously bad for your skin.

This cleanser has a silky texture that produces minimal lather, but it doesn’t work well to remove makeup. Its strong lavender fragrance can cause irritation, especially around the nose and eyes (getting this cleanser in your eyes or nose is painful). Irritation from fragrant oil, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For this reason, it is best to minimize or eliminate as much as possible your exposure to known skin irritants, especially considering there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients.

Based on performance, ingredient concerns, and the price, along with the fact that there are far less expensive and better-formulated cleansers available, this one is best left on the shelf.

  • Feels silky and rinses completely.
  • Expensive.
  • Doesn’t remove makeup well.
  • Fragrant lavender oil is a source of irritation and is problematic for use around the eyes.
  • Enzyme ingredient cannot exfoliate as claimed.
  • Contains skin-damaging hydrogen peroxide and perfluorodecalin, an ingredient that makes the hydrogen peroxide even more potent.

More Info:

Many of Lancer’s products contain what’s labeled Lancer Proprietary Liposome Complex. (A liposome is a delivery system that involves packaging ingredients inside a fatty acid that your skin can absorb.) The recipe may be proprietary, but what’s in this blend is clearly stated on the label, and it’s a mix of good and bad for your skin, and at these prices, or any price for that matter, bad should not be tolerated.

The Complex combines antioxidants, which your skin does need, with ingredients known to produce damaging free radicals, such as hydrogen peroxide, which your skin absolutely does not need.

Research about hydrogen peroxide for skin is clear, and it isn’t good news. Hydrogen peroxide kills skin cells and generates skin-damaging free radicals. There is no research showing hydrogen peroxide has anything to do with repairing skin or fighting wrinkles. Although it can function as a disinfectant, that has nothing to do with younger-looking skin. Besides, the cumulative problems that can arise from exposing your skin to a substance that is known to generate free-radical damage, impair the skin’s healing process, cause cellular destruction, and reduce optimal cell functioning are serious enough that it is better to avoid its use (Sources: Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, July 2011, pages 753–761, and December 2010, pages 1523–1526; Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, March 2009, pages 127–135; Carcinogenesis, February 2008, pages 404–410; and Cellular and Molecular Biology, April 2007, pages 1–2). Because Lancer combines hydrogen peroxide with the oxygen-boosting ingredient perfluorodecalin, it means the hydrogen peroxide’s detrimental effects are even more severe.


Extremely Pure Cleanser is a gentle, light-foaming cleanser enriched with natural exfoliating enzymes, moisture-rich hydrators and skin soothing agents.


Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Lauramide DEA, Glycerin, Glycol Distearate, Salicylic Acid (Beta Hydoxy Acid) Beta 1, 3 Glucan, Sodium PCA, Bromelain (Enzyme), Papain (Enzyme), Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, dl-Panthenol, Sodium Babassoilamphoacetate, Lancer Proprietary Liposome Complex: Perfluorodecalin, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Ascorbic Acid, Hydrogen Peroxide, Soy Lecithin Phospholipids, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract, PEG-800, Disodium EDTA, Triclosan, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) Oil, Fragrance

Brand Overview

Strengths: Has a good option for 10% vitamin C treatment; Their 10% AHA moisturizer is a worth considering for those who have dry skin.

Weaknesses: Expensive; some products with light- and air-sensitive ingredients are packaged in jars; overly abrasive scrub.

Dr. Harold Lancer is a Beverly Hills dermatologist with celebrity clientele, two credentials that pique the interest of many women interested in skin care. His specialty is cosmetic rejuvenation and, like many dermatologists before him, Lancer has his own line of products: Lancer Dermatology Skincare.

Lancer's skin-care line is built around four steps: polish, cleanse, nourish, and protect. According to Lancer, these steps work for every skin type or aging concern. The polish (i.e. scrub) step involves applying a fairly abrasive, alkaline scrub before cleansing. Lancer's idea is that the polish loosens soil and cellular debris, which the cleanser you apply next will easily wash away.

After you cleanse, you're supposed to nourish skin with an anti-aging moisturizer. During the day, you're advised to protect your skin with sunscreen and, occasionally, if needed, you can apply a treatment product (such as a vitamin C cream).

Although Lancer's method is being hailed as unique or somehow different, it's ultimately nothing new to the skin-care industry: Exfoliation is necessary for younger-looking skin (but scrubs aren’t the best way to get this benefit), sun protection is vital, and a moisturizer loaded with skin-repairing ingredients helps replace what young skin produces naturally before it becomes damaged.

The polish (scrub) before the cleansing step is a new twist, but it's actually a problem if you're wearing makeup. Scrubbing skin before you remove your makeup will grind the makeup deeper into your pores, making it harder for the cleanser to remove. If anything, you should cleanse first, polish second.

Although Lancer's method is being hailed as unique or somehow different, it's about as interesting as white bread. If anything, it's a mix of dated and modern concepts built on information that researchers have known about for years: Exfoliation is necessary for younger-looking skin (but scrubbing isn't the best way to get this benefit), sun protection is vital, and a moisturizer loaded with skin-repairing ingredients helps replace what young skin produces naturally before it becomes damaged.

Unfortunately, Lancer’s scrubs are all alkaline (high pH) and contain overly abrasive scrub ingredients and fragrance extracts that skin doesn’t need. The nighttime moisturizers are all packaged in jars (exposing their beneficial ingredients to air), and the one sunscreen in the line is alcohol based (which isn’t a good thing for skin, as we’ll discuss in the product review).

There are some highlights in the line, such as good options for a 10% vitamin C treatment and AHA exfoliant, but ultimately you don’t need to spend this much to have healthy, younger-looking skin. In fact, because many of Lancer's products contain one or more problematic ingredients, you may end up thinking, “why bother?”

For more information about Lancer Dermatology Skincare, call (310) 278-8444 or visit http://www.lancerskincare.com/.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

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