BPO 5% Cleanser

by PCA Skin  
Price:
$32 - 7 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:
1/6/2012
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
No

This expensive cleanser is a frustrating blend of good and bad ingredients that’s bound to leave your skin with more problems than benefits. Although it does contain the anti-acne ingredient benzoyl peroxide, in a cleanser its benefit is rinsed down the drain before it has much chance to help your skin. For best results, look for benzoyl peroxide in leave-on products.

Another issue is that the main cleansing agent (sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate) is needlessly drying, and this, combined with problematic ingredients like arnica extract and grapefruit peel oil, make this cleanser too irritating for all skin types. Acne-prone skin needs gentle yet thorough cleansing that won’t dry or irritate skin.

Please see More Info to learn why irritating ingredients are a problem for acne-prone, oily skin.

Pros:
  • Contains some good soothing ingredients and non-fragrant plant oils to offset the drying ingredients.
Cons:
  • The active ingredient benzoyl peroxide isn’t left on the skin long enough to provide much benefit.
  • The main cleansing agent is needlessly drying.
  • Contains arnica and grapefruit peel oil, both known skin irritants with no established benefit for acne.

More Info:

Applying irritating ingredients to oily, acne-prone skin stimulates excess oil production at the base of the pore, so your skin ends up being more oily and your pores become (or stay) enlarged. Treating oily skin gently with effective products designed to absorb excess oil, exfoliate inside the pore, and help normalize pore function is the best approach to see improvements, including faster healing time and fewer red marks from breakouts.

BPO 5% Cleanser eliminates acne-causing bacteria without the use of irritating surfactants that can damage and aggravate acneic skin. This cleansing formula includes 5% Benzoyl Peroxide to heal and prevent blemishes, and botanical extracts to soothe, leaving even the most breakout-prone skin comfortable and calm.
Benzoyl Peroxide (5.0%) Water, Gluconolactone, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Aminomethyl Propanol, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium PCA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin, Panthenol, Phytic Acid, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Algae Extract, Acrylate/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Polyacrylate-13, Caprylyl Glycol, Polyisobutene, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil

PCA Skin is a product line you may have seen at your spa, salon, or dermatologist's office. Founded by an aesthetician in 1990, the brand became relatively popular after developing a series of professional alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) peels marketed as "medical clinical aesthetics"; in other words, these products are sold to dermatology practices offering cosmetic services such as facials. More recently, PCA Skin has teamed up with a dermatologist and other medical professionals to develop skin-care products. The peels are for professional use only and, in fact, except for a facial scrub, PCA Skin does not sell exfoliants that consumers can use at home.

Not surprisingly, PCA Skin's medical and aesthetics background is supposed to be rooted in science. The company states that "we use rigorous research and science to develop safe, highly effective products that deliver healthy, beautiful skin." Although PCA Skin products contain many beneficial, research-supported ingredients, they also contain numerous problematic ingredients that cause irritation; somehow, that "rigorous" research overlooked those. Irritation is always a problem for skin, causing inflammation and collagen breakdown, and impairing the skin's ability to heal.

Chief among the irritants you'll find throughout the PCA Skin line are witch hazel, citrus and numerous other fragrant oils (whether synthetic or natural, fragrance is almost always a problem for skin), drying cleansing agents, and alcohol (we mean, really, alcohol?!). In our Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary, we provide detailed information on why each of these ingredients is a problem; for all of their talk about science, chemistry, and research, PCA Skin should know better.

If you remain intrigued by this brand (or find the sales pressure from your aesthetician too intense to ignore), there are some worthwhile products. It’s great that every SPF-rated product from PCA Skin includes reliable broad-spectrum sun-protection ingredients, and fans of facial scrubs should know this brand does offer a gentle option. Also, their eye cream and retinol serum are worth a look, and several products are fragrance-free, although you need to choose carefully because many of their products contain fragrant plant extracts or oils despite being listed as fragrance-free.

PCA Skin's science-based mission is admirable, but just because an aesthetician and doctor teamed up, the results for these products aren't going to be spectacular, or even all that helpful.

For more information about PCA Skin, call (877) 722-7546 or visit www.pcaskin.com.

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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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