01.05.2012
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Facial Wash
Rating
7 fl. oz. for $23
Category:Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:01.05.2012
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

This simply formulated, fragrance-free cleanser is too drying for all skin types because its main cleansing agent is sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate. Although it definitely cleanses thoroughly and removes makeup, the risks of irritation and being left with a dry, tight feeling are too great to ignore, plus it’s overpriced. Please see our list of Best Cleansers for superior and more gentle options.

As for the AHA lactic acid in this cleanser, although the amount is potentially enough for exfoliation to occur, it is rinsed from your skin before it has much chance to work, and you certainly don’t want to get this in or near your eyes.

Pros:
  • Fragrance-free.
  • Cleanses thoroughly and removes makeup.
Cons:
  • Expensive.
  • Contains a drying cleansing agent among its main ingredients.
  • Amount of lactic acid is likely enough to promote exfoliation, but it’s rinsed from the skin before this AHA has a chance to work.

More Info:

Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation, and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For this reason, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients.

Claims

Facial Wash is a gentle gel cleanser that eliminates dirt, debris, excess oil and makeup, leaving the skin soft, supple and pH balanced. Ideal for normal, sensitive and rosacea-prone skin, Aloe vera and allantoin soothe the complexion leaving it cleansed, clear and calm.

Ingredients

Water, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Lactic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Saccharomyces Ferment, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Allantoin, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate

Brand Overview

PCA Skin At-a-Glance

Strengths: Every SPF-rated product provides reliable broad-spectrum sun protection; several products are fragrance-free; good eye cream and retinol serum.

Weaknesses: Way too expensive for what you get; several products contain irritating fragrant oils; the toners contain irritants; there are too many serums and many contain irritating ingredients; the acne products contain problematic ingredients.

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.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!


The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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