Oil-Free Acne Wash

by Neutrogena  Oil-Free Acne
Price:
$5.49 - 6 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:
8/12/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

Oil-Free Acne Wash purports to be the #1 cleanser recommended by dermatologists for their patients with acne. If that’s true, then lots of dermatologists are swayed by advertising and not up to speed on skin-care formulas. A dermatologist should know better than to endorse a cleanser that contains the drying, irritating detergent cleansing agent sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate as a major ingredient, not to mention the fact that salicylic acid is wasted in a cleanser because it is just rinsed down the drain before it can be effective.

The #1 dermatologist recommended acne-fighting cleanser. This oil-free formula gently cleanses deep down into pores for clear skin. Unlike ordinary cleansers, it contains Salicylic Acid to get rid of acne you have now and help prevent future breakouts. Special skin soothers help prevent irritation and over-drying.

Active: Salicylic Acid (2%), Other: Water, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Propylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, C12-15 Alkyl Lactate, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Disodium EDTA, Benzalkonium Chloride , Yellow 5, Red 40, Fragrance

Johnson & Johnson–owned Neutrogena has been around for over 50 years, and they've come a long way since they launched their first transparent, bronze, detergent-based bar soap (it also contains tallow). The bars are still sold, and while we still don't recommend them (they are too drying for all skin types), the good news is that Neutrogena has come a very long way from where they started. In fact, several of their products represent truly state-of-the-art options.

Strolling the skin-care aisles of any drugstore or mass-market store reveals that Neutrogena vies for shelf space and prominence with only one other brand, Procter & Gamble's Olay. For the most part, both companies offer a similar assortment of products, with Olay being slightly more focused on anti-aging products and Neutrogena going for broader appeal, offering a nearly equal amount of antiwrinkle and anti-acne products. Regrettably the latter category presents few viable options.

Where Neutrogena really excels (and has for years) is with water-soluble cleansers, AHAs, retinol, and sunscreen products. Their Healthy Skin lineup offers some beautifully formulated moisturizers with glycolic acid, and the sunscreens offer something for everyone, including some ingenious options for those with oily skin (or anyone who finds the texture of high-SPF products as unappealing as slathering your skin with Crisco).

A recent self-proclaimed advance in sun protection came with Neutrogena's Helioplex complex. It is not the superior breakthrough Neutrogena makes it out to be. It's a good system to keep avobenzone stable for longer, but Helioplex isn't the only way to get the most out of this important UVA sunscreen. If it were, why didn't Neutrogena scrap all of their other sunscreens that don't use Helioplex technology? And why do they still offer a handful of SPF-rated products that leave skin vulnerable to UVA damage? Although they offer a proportionately greater number of sunscreens that provide excellent UVA protection, it's hard to unequivocally deem them a sun-care leader when they still sell inadequate sunscreens.

It's common to see commercials and magazine ads for Neutrogena's plethora of products designed to combat breakouts and blackheads. It's nothing short of amazing that, after all these years, the majority of these products, while well intentioned, still don't get it right. Far too many of them contain irritating ingredients such as alcohol, witch hazel, and menthol, none of which are the least bit helpful for someone struggling with breakouts. If your dermatologist recommends these products for acne without reservation, definitely consider a second opinion! Even Neutrogena's on-the-spot benzoyl peroxide product contains some potentially problematic thickening agents. Despite this, if you choose carefully, there are some great products (including a BHA lotion) that can make a positive difference.

What's most frustrating and, frankly, surprising, is that Neutrogena's enormous assortment of products represents both the best and the worst the cosmetics industry has to offer. Given their worldwide distribution and research capabilities, they really should be offering a consistent range of effective, irritant-free products to address a variety of skin types and conditions. As things stand now, healthy, protected skin is only assured if you know which Neutrogena products to look for and which ones to never put in your shopping cart.

For more information about Neutrogena, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (800) 582-4048 or visit www.neutrogena.com.

Neutrogena Makeup

Neutrogena's "beautiful and beneficial" pronouncement is a great tag line, but most of their makeup doesn't live up to that assertion. This line was lacking in several key areas when it first hit store shelves in 1999, and although some things have improved, the number of problematic products is a bit startling. (I'm not aware of any cosmetic line that uses menthol or its derivatives as often as Neutrogena.) Each product carries on about the vitamins it contains, yet compared to the leading roles played by cosmetic staples like silicones and thickening agents, the vitamins have mere cameo roles, and as such have little to no impact.

There are a few key items to seek out, especially if you're looking for makeup with excellent sun protection. We also found their lip gloss to be one of the best at any price, and a few of their foundations successfully bridge the gap between skin care and makeup.

The most frustrating aspect of this line is that almost all of it is packaged so you cannot see the color. Even worse, the color swatch on the box is a poor representation, not only of how the color looks in the compact, but also how it looks on your skin. What would truly be beneficial is for Neutrogena to offer more revealing packaging or provide testers or offer trial sizes. Their overall collection and in-store displays aren't nearly as tempting as most other drugstore makeup lines, so in most cases they're relying on their constant magazine and television ads to drive shoppers to explore the world of Neutrogena makeup, or they're relying solely on those who don't mind guessing what color they are really buying. It's obviously working, because despite the problematic elements, this is a line that has survived and is very well distributed.

Member Comments

Summary of Member Comments

  1. How would you rate the results? (4 = Best)

    3 / 4 Good
  2. Was this product a good value? (4 = Best)

    3 / 4 Good
  3. Would you recommend this product? (4 = Best)

    3 / 4 Good
Page of 1
  1. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Thursday, March 27, 2014
    • Results
      1 / 4
    • Value
      1 / 4
    • Recommend
      1 / 4
    terrible
    • I have used Neutrogena products in the past and have been pleased but not this time. Something in this product did not agree with my skin. I tried it for about a month thinking maybe I would break out first while it cleaned deep but no. My skin was a mess. It was bumpy and red and eventually started to puss and ITCHY!! I've stopped using for about 2 weeks now and my skin has been getting better but it's not anywhere near we it was before the acne wash.

  2. Laura W
    Reviewed on Tuesday, March 18, 2014
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    Paula is wrong.
    • I've been using this for 15 years. This really keep my skin clear. It unclogs pores & keeps blackheads/acne at bay. I realize that you rinse this off, but the sal acid is effective enough to penetrate the pores slightly. This is a cheap alternative to other sal acid washes. It is drying, but this is meant for oily, acne prone skin!

  3. DONNA M.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, March 04, 2014
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    Exceptional cleanser
    • I recently read that salicylic acid is in fact effective in cleansers because this ingredient only needs to be on the skin briefly in order to be effective. Paula should research this ingredient and rewrite her review. I use this cleanser in conjunction with Tazorac. The two together keep my skin acne and blackhead free. Add to that the fact that the cleanser is very inexpensive, and that salicylic acid is also an anti-inflammatory agent, and you have a stellar product.

  4. DONNA M.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, January 21, 2014
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    Recommended by Leslie Baumann
    • I swear by this cleanser. I have oily skin that is at times sensitive, and this cleanser does not irritate it, washes off cleanly, and helps to keep my pores clear. Leslie Baumann recommends it too.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice 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 herself.

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