This fragrance-free cleanser is nearly identical to PCA Skin’s regular Facial Wash, and as such, the same review applies: It’s too drying for all skin types because its main cleansing agent is sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate. This definitely cleanses thoroughly and removes makeup, but 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, gentle options. Those with oily skin need a stronger cleanser than those with dry skin, but such products can be formulated without problematic cleansing agents.
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 near or in your eyes.
- Cleanses thoroughly and removes makeup.
- 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.
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.
PCA Facial Wash for oily and problem skin is formulated with a higher level of Alpha Hydroxy Acids for breakout-prone skin. This gentle and effective cleanser controls oil production and banishes blemishes without irritation. It cleanses away dirt, debris, makeup and kills blemish-causing bacteria, leaving skin clearer, healthier and more comfortable.
Water, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Lactic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Allantoin, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Benzoate, 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.