01.22.2015
0
Neo-Cleanse Exfoliating Skin Cleanser
4 fl. oz. for $36
Expert Rating
Community Rating (1)
Expert Reviews
Last Updated:01.22.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No

For $36, you should expect more than what you get from Neo-Cleanse Exfoliating Skin Cleanser. This gel-textured, low-foam cleanser contains a high amount of the alkaline ingredient sodium hydroxide. At this concentration, sodium hydroxide has a strong potential to irritate, which can leave skin feeling tight and dry (i.e., that “stripped” feeling). Over time, this type of cleanser can trigger the follicle to produce even more oil (and thus exacerbate breakouts). See More Info for the relationship between irritation and increased oil production.

What about the “exfoliating” claim? This refers to the AHA exfoliant ingredient glycolic acid that’s present in the formula. Unfortunately, like all cleansers that feature AHA or BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliants, this cannot actually exfoliate skin in this case because these chemical exfoliants must remain on the skin to do their work, which is to break down and dissolve dead skin cells and treat signs of aging. Because your cleanser is on your skin for only a short amount of time, the AHA or BHA ingredients are rinsed down the drain long before they can benefit your skin. Including AHAs or BHA in a cleanser is also problematic for stability reasons, as they work best within a specific pH range, which is lower than the pH of most cleansers.

There’s also the added risk of getting these ingredients in your eyes when they’re present in a cleanser, which is especially true for this formula given its high amount of sodium hydroxide. The tight, dry feeling this cleanser leaves (the result of its harsh nature) is probably what is mistaken for exfoliation, but in fact, all that’s removed are lipids and other substances that help keep your skin healthy.

Neocutis claims that this fragrance-free cleanser is “specially formulated to work together with Neocutis skincare,” but that would be equally true of any cleanser, so you needn’t believe this oldest of cosmetics myths. There is no reason not to mix products from different skincare lines, so long as they’re well formulated and appropriate for your skin type.

When you consider the drawbacks—irritating formula and ineffective as an exfoliant—there is no reason to consider Neo-Cleanse Exfoliating Skin Cleanser over the many better alternatives on our list of Best Cleansers. If you would like to see what a well-formulated leave-on AHA or BHA exfoliant can do for your skin, check out the Best AHA Exfoliants or Best BHA Exfoliants lists, too!

Pros:
  • Fragrance-free.
Cons:
  • Expensive for such a basic formula.
  • Ineffective as a chemical exfoliant.
  • Potentially irritating and drying base (especially if you get it into your eyes).

More Info:

Irritation's Connection to Oily Skin & Breakdowns: Inflammation in skin is usually related to external factors such as irritation that damages the skin’s barrier in numerous ways, whether you can see the reaction or not. When irritation on the surface of skin happens it activates specific chemicals called neuropeptides in the brain (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2007). Those substances are specifically the kind that regulates the hormonal system of the body.

When this happens, it leads to the formation of inflammatory chemicals directly in the oil gland. These inflammatory chemicals trigger an increase in oil production, which can increase the size of the pore, and the likelihood of acne—the more inflammation that occurs, the worse the risk (European Journal of Dermatology, 2002 & Dermatology, 2003).

Bottom line: Inflammation and its resulting irritation, whether internal or external (for this discussion externally it would be due to the use of irritating ingredients, hot water, overusing scrubs, etc.), is practically a guarantee you will see excess production of oil, larger pores and more acne breakouts (Experimental Dermatology, 2009 & Dermato-Endocrinology, 2011).

That’s reason enough to avoid products with irritating ingredients, which often come in the form of fragrance including the misnamed “essential” oils.

Community Reviews
Claims

Formulated without harsh sulfate detergents, dyes or fragrances for skin that feels fresh, clean and comfortable after cleansing. Specifically formulated to work together with NEOCUTIS skincare.

Ingredients

Water (Aqua), Glycolic Acid, Glycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Lauryl Glucoside, Decyl Glucoside, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol.

Brand Overview

Strengths: Fragrance-free products; use of pump or tube packaging protects the light- and air-sensitive ingredients; excellent vitamin C serum and retinol product.

Weaknesses: Many of the anti-aging moisturizers and treatments are disappointingly simple formulas; expensive; some products rely on unproven ingredients.

If you’ve heard of the Neocutis brand, it’s likely because a dermatologist or aesthetician recommended one of their moisturizers or treatments. Like many skincare brands catering to patients of dermatologists and so-called “medi spas,” the claims associated with their products play off the perception of “prescription results” via ingredients that have medicinal-sounding names such as “Processed Skin Proteins” and “Melaplex.” It’s all designed to make you think you’re getting something special along with the pedigree of the doctor or spa retailing this line. As you’ll see from the reviews, that’s not true, although there are some good products to be found here.

Now headquartered in San Francisco, California, Neocutis was founded in Switzerland in 2003 by a group of physicians and biologists who realized the [marketing] potential of human cells in skincare products—specifically, amino acids and proteins (which is where their trademarked ingredients with exotic-sounding names come into play).

Despite their beginnings and their initial exclusivity to dermatologists’ offices, today you can order Neocutis products from beauty sites and other online retailers. Their line includes a range of products that caters to those whose foremost concerns are treating and preventing signs of aging. As a result, you’ll find Neocutis offers moisturizers, eye creams, and targeted treatments, many of which are themed around their trademarked “PSP,” or “Processed Skin Proteins.” Note: They claim this blend of peptides, proteins, and other substances “harnesses the power of human-cell derived growth factors and cytokines.”

What Neocutis isn’t telling you is that this blend of cytokines and human-cell derived growth factors has little research demonstrating any benefit for skin, and certainly not in comparison to the numerous well-researched antioxidants and cell-communicating agents used in so many of today’s best anti-aging products (see the More Info section of the products reviewed here for more details on PSP).

We should also note that, at the time of this review, Neocutis does not universally adhere to cosmetics ingredient labeling regulations on some of their products. In some cases, they do not list individually the proteins and amino acids that make up their PSP blend, which violates International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) and FDA labeling regulatory requirements. This is important to mention, as they’re lumping this mix of proteins and amino acids together rather than listing them separately, making it impossible to know exactly what you’re putting on your face.

Unfortunately, despite the pomp and circumstance surrounding these products, most are extraordinarily overpriced and contain a surprisingly bland mix of basic moisturizing ingredients with a dusting of antioxidants. When we say “dusting” of beneficial ingredients, we really mean just that; in fact, one of their “remarkable” moisturizers is little more than a mix of glycerin, glycol, and thickeners, with a price tag topping $160!

On a positive note, Neocutis does have two outstanding products—one vitamin C serum and a retinol product—that are (like all of their formulas) fragrance-free and packaged to protect their light- and air-sensitive ingredients. What’s certain is that Neocutis doesn’t have enough going for it to make putting together an entire anti-aging skincare routine from their products a good idea, for your skin or for your budget!

For more information on Neocutis, call 1-866-636-2884 or visit http://www.neocutis.com/.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.


Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!

See all reviews for this brand

Strengths: Fragrance-free products; use of pump or tube packaging protects the light- and air-sensitive ingredients; excellent vitamin C serum and retinol product.

Weaknesses: Many of the anti-aging moisturizers and treatments are disappointingly simple formulas; expensive; some products rely on unproven ingredients.

If you’ve heard of the Neocutis brand, it’s likely because a dermatologist or aesthetician recommended one of their moisturizers or treatments. Like many skincare brands catering to patients of dermatologists and so-called “medi spas,” the claims associated with their products play off the perception of “prescription results” via ingredients that have medicinal-sounding names such as “Processed Skin Proteins” and “Melaplex.” It’s all designed to make you think you’re getting something special along with the pedigree of the doctor or spa retailing this line. As you’ll see from the reviews, that’s not true, although there are some good products to be found here.

Now headquartered in San Francisco, California, Neocutis was founded in Switzerland in 2003 by a group of physicians and biologists who realized the [marketing] potential of human cells in skincare products—specifically, amino acids and proteins (which is where their trademarked ingredients with exotic-sounding names come into play).

Despite their beginnings and their initial exclusivity to dermatologists’ offices, today you can order Neocutis products from beauty sites and other online retailers. Their line includes a range of products that caters to those whose foremost concerns are treating and preventing signs of aging. As a result, you’ll find Neocutis offers moisturizers, eye creams, and targeted treatments, many of which are themed around their trademarked “PSP,” or “Processed Skin Proteins.” Note: They claim this blend of peptides, proteins, and other substances “harnesses the power of human-cell derived growth factors and cytokines.”

What Neocutis isn’t telling you is that this blend of cytokines and human-cell derived growth factors has little research demonstrating any benefit for skin, and certainly not in comparison to the numerous well-researched antioxidants and cell-communicating agents used in so many of today’s best anti-aging products (see the More Info section of the products reviewed here for more details on PSP).

We should also note that, at the time of this review, Neocutis does not universally adhere to cosmetics ingredient labeling regulations on some of their products. In some cases, they do not list individually the proteins and amino acids that make up their PSP blend, which violates International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) and FDA labeling regulatory requirements. This is important to mention, as they’re lumping this mix of proteins and amino acids together rather than listing them separately, making it impossible to know exactly what you’re putting on your face.

Unfortunately, despite the pomp and circumstance surrounding these products, most are extraordinarily overpriced and contain a surprisingly bland mix of basic moisturizing ingredients with a dusting of antioxidants. When we say “dusting” of beneficial ingredients, we really mean just that; in fact, one of their “remarkable” moisturizers is little more than a mix of glycerin, glycol, and thickeners, with a price tag topping $160!

On a positive note, Neocutis does have two outstanding products—one vitamin C serum and a retinol product—that are (like all of their formulas) fragrance-free and packaged to protect their light- and air-sensitive ingredients. What’s certain is that Neocutis doesn’t have enough going for it to make putting together an entire anti-aging skincare routine from their products a good idea, for your skin or for your budget!

For more information on Neocutis, call 1-866-636-2884 or visit http://www.neocutis.com/.