Acne Triple Clear Cleanser
Acne Triple Clear Cleanser promises to get rid of breakouts, but it actually contains some problematic ingredients that compromise your skin's wellbeing—not to mention getting acne under control is never as simple as using one product.
The culprits? Fragrance, menthol, and peppermint, all of which are irritants that can exacerbate acne. In this type of cleanser formula their contact time with skin is minimal since you rinse it off, but obviously it'd be better if they weren't there at all. (Plus, you really don't want to get these types of ingredients getting in your eye when washing off makeup—cue stinging.)
Otherwise, the formula does a fine job of removing makeup and oil, but there are plenty of other cleansers that can do that without the potential irritation (find our top-rated cleansers here).
As for the 2% salicylic acid that this contains, it is an excellent acne-fighting ingredient, but its greatest value is in a leave-on product—not one that's designed to be rinsed from skin where it can't make good on this cleanser's claim of preventing new breakouts. Salicylic acid in a rinse-off product can have hydrating properties, but that's about it (see More Info for details).
- Effectively removes makeup and oil.
- Contains known skin irritants (fragrance, menthol and peppermint).
- Doesn't live up to its claims.
This cleanser contains salicylic acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA), an ingredient that when included in a well-formulated leave-on product work beautifully to gently exfoliate skin. However, in a cleanser or scrub, BHA is far less effective, if effective at all, because it is rinsed off before it can begin to work.
So, if you're hoping this cleanser will provide exfoliating benefits, think again. On the other hand, BHA can provide hydrating benefits during its brief contact with skin.
Some companies recommend leaving these types of cleansers on skin for a longer period of time so the BHA can absorb, but that means the cleansing agents also are left on longer, which can cause dryness and irritation.
We don't want you spending money on a product whose exfoliating ingredients probably can't perform as claimed. Instead, look for leave-on AHA or BHA exfoliants.
Clean & Clear At-A-Glance
Strengths: Inexpensive; an excellent 10% benzoyl peroxide product; some very good cleansers.
Weaknesses: The majority of products contain irritating fragrant extracts, alcohol, menthol, menthyl lactate, or other problematic ingredients; below-average moisturizers; poor options for those struggling with breakouts or blackheads (at least if your goal is assembling a helpful skin-care routine using only Clean & Clear's products).
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 www.cleanandclear.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.