Advantage Daily Soothing Acne Cleanser

$5.99 - 6 fl. oz.
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Skin Care > Sensitive Skin Products > Face/Body Cleansers
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This is a good, lightweight water-soluble cleanser for normal to oily or combination skin struggling with blemishes. Although medicated with 2% salicylic acid, that ingredient's anti-acne benefit is all but lost when present in a cleanser because it's rinsed off before it has a chance to absorb and work it's magic. For best results, a leave-on product with salicylic acid will do much more to relieve blemishes and reduce redness from acne.

Speaking of redness, Clean & Clear promises a soothing foam, but this cleanser comes up short in that regard. To provide a soothing, anti-redness benefit this cleanser would need to be fragrance-free (it isn't) and actually contain some proven soothing ingredients (which it doesn't have). Although not a skin-soothing option, it's not a drying cleanser and it doesn't contain irritants (like menthol) that can make acne and its symptoms worse—hence our rating.

  • Gentle cleansing agents in a lightweight, foaming formula.
  • Doesn't contain common irritants seen in most anti-acne cleansers.
  • Rinses without a residue and doesn't leave skin feeling dried out.
  • The 2% salicylic acid's contact with the skin is too brief to truly improve breakouts.

Clean skin should look good and feel good too. CLEAN & CLEAR® ADVANTAGE® Daily Soothing Acne Cleanser brings max-strength acne medicine to your face in an oh-so-soothing foam, with aloe and avocado. So you can be tough on acne, not your skin.

Active Ingredients: Salicylic Acid (2%, Acne Medication); Inactive Ingredients: Water, Propanediol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Coco Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Fragrance, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract, Citric Acid

The name of this Johnson & Johnson–owned brand clearly communicates what it attempts to provide, and may seem to be a beacon of hope for consumers struggling with acne. The products are heavily marketed toward teens, with commercials and print ads featuring attractive young models with nary a blemish in sight, presumably because these fresh-faced teens adhere to a routine consisting of these attractively packaged products.

Although there are some great, inexpensive cleansers available, blemishes have nothing to do with how clean your skin is; the two issues are completely unrelated. The other failing is that unlike sister company Neutrogena (also owned by J&J), almost all of Clean & Clear's anti-acne products contain irritating ingredients that won't improve skin problems and end up making matters worse. Even a couple of the pH-correct BHA options are marred by troublesome ingredients that only make blemished skin more inflamed and impede the healing process. Moreover, the issue of sun protection is inadequately addressed, with the only option failing to provide sun protection without added irritants. What kind of message is that for teens trying to put together an effective skin-care routine? Clean skin is attainable from these products, but the company's road to "beautifully clear" skin has too many speed bumps to make this a one-stop destination for the blemish-prone.

For more information about Clean & Clear, call (877) 754-6411 or visit

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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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