Tested on animals:Yes
The combination of 2% salicylic acid along with approximately the same amount of glycolic acid and a creamy base may make you think this is an ideal cleanser for normal to dry skin that’s blemish-prone. Alas, it isn’t. First, AHA and BHA ingredients are far less effective for exfoliation, if at all, in a cleanser. That’s because they are rinsed off before they can begin to work. If you are hoping for this cleanser to provide exfoliating benefits, think again. Some companies recommend leaving these types of cleansers on skin for a longer period of time so the AHA/BHA can absorb, but that means the cleansing agents would also be left on too, and that can cause dryness.
Another issue is that this contains the potent skin-sensitizer menthol, which can create even more issues, especially for acne-prone skin (see More Info for details). Neutrogena knows menthol is a problem for skin, but they consistently use it in most of their anti-acne products because so many consumers love that “refreshing tingle.” If the tingle was somehow conveying an anti-acne benefit, we could concede to the sensation, but that’s not the case.
Salicylic and glycolic acids aren't left on skin long enough to exfoliate skin.
Contains skin-sensitizing menthol.
Skin-Sensitizing Ingredients: We cannot stress this enough: Sensitizing, harsh, abrasive, or fragrant ingredients are bad for all skin types. Daily application of skincare products that contain these types of skin-aggravating ingredients is a major way we unknowingly do our skin a disservice!
Sensitizing ingredients are a problem because they can lead to visible problems that include redness, rough skin, dull skin, dryness, increases in oil production, clogged pores, and contribute to making signs of aging worse.
Switching to non-irritating, gentle skincare products can make all the difference in the world. Non-irritating skincare products are those packed with beneficial ingredients that also replenish and soothe skin without any volatility, including those present in natural fragrant ingredients.
A surprising fact: Even though you might not see the negative influence of using products that contain sensitizing ingredients, skin the damage will still be taking place. It doesn’t need to be evident on the surface! Research has demonstrated that you don’t always need to see or feel the effects on your skin for your skin to be suffering the impact and the visible damage may not become apparent for a long time.
For this reason, it’s best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to ingredients that can be sensitizing on skin. There are many products that contain effective ingredients that are also completely non-irritating so there’s no reason to put your skin at risk with products that include ingredients research has shown can be a problem.
References for this information
Journal of Dermatological Sciences, January 2015, issue 1, pages 28-36.
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2014, issue 4, pages 379-385
Journal of Clinical Dermatology, November 2014, issue 5, online access
Clinical Dermatology, May-June 2012, issue 3, pages 257-262
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446—475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, issue 11, pages 789-798
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, issue 4, pages 191-202
Aging, March 2012, pages 166-175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77-80