True to its name, this water-soluble cleanser has a creamy texture that’s best for normal to dry skin. Its blend of emollients and cleansing agents removes makeup and leaves skin feeling soft. However, this formula contains a small amount of lavender oil. Although it smells nice, lavender oil is a proven skin irritant and not the best ingredient to see in a cleanser (Source: Phytotherapy Research, June 2002, pages 301–308). As stated, the amount is low (and given that cleansers are quickly rinsed from your skin, your exposure is brief), but without question this would be rated higher if it were truly fragrance-free. See More Info for details on why fragrance in cleansers can be a problem.
Last, it must be said that you do not need to spend this much money for a great cleanser. Our list of Best Cleansers has numerous less expensive options, all formulated without the fragrant oils that don’t help your skin.
- Soft, creamy texture glides over skin.
- Removes makeup yet rinses cleanly.
- Contains fragrance in the form of lavender oil.
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin’s ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin, which, fortunately, is the case with this cleanser and why it isn’t rated poorly (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
A delicate cleansing product that gently and thoroughly purifies skin of dirt, residue and makeup. Rose hip seed oil, aloe and amino acids promote radiance and provide antioxidant protection to neutralize free radicals and ward off environmental aggressors. Skin is left perfectly cleansed with a youthful luminosity. Suitable for all skin types, especially dry and sensitive.
Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Behenyl Alcohol, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Sucrose Stearate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Xanthan Gum, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Potassium Sorbate
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.