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Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare

Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel

7.50 fl. oz. for $ 38.00
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Claims

Ingredients

Brand Overview

Dr. Gross' Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel aims to set itself apart as a cleanser whose select acid ingredients can exfoliate skin; however, as we explain in the More Info section, such a claim sounds better in theory than it ends up being in real-world use.

Suitable for all skin types, this cleansing gel has some good points: it lathers nicely, removes makeup and excess oil without stripping skin, and rinses without a dulling residue, all traits of a very good water-soluble cleanser.

What about the claim that this tones skin? It doesn't really do that, at least no more than any other gel cleanser. From our perspective, cleansers can take away from skin, and a separate toner—assuming it's well formulated—gives back the beneficial ingredients all skin types need, some of which can be lost during the cleansing process.

Ultimately, this ends up a mediocre cleanser that's made less appealing for what it claims to do but cannot, and because it contains some fragrant plant extracts (including clove and lavender, yikes!) that can irritate the skin and eyes with each use. See our list of Best Cleansers for superior picks.

Pros:
  • Refreshing gel lathers easily and rinses clean.
  • Removes makeup and debris without stripping skin.
Cons:
  • Contains fragrant plant extracts that can irritate skin and eyes.
  • The mandelic and glycolic acids cannot exfoliate skin in this type of product.
More Info:

leave-on product can work beautifully to gently exfoliate skin. However, in a cleanser, these types of exfoliating ingredients are far less effective, if effective at all, for exfoliation because they're rinsed off before they can begin to work.

So, if you're hoping this cleanser will provide exfoliating benefits as claimed, think again. On the other hand, the AHA or BHA ingredients can provide hydrating benefits during their brief contact with skin.

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

A natural, plant-based facial cleansing gel that exfoliates, tones, and smooths skin with the power of hydroxy acids for a deep cleanse. Combines alpha and beta hydroxy acids with state-of-the-art cleansing ingredients to create a rich, cushiony latherensuring the skin feels deeply cleansed, yet soft and balanced. This non-stripping formula lifts away dead skin cells, removes makeup and impurities, and washes away bacteria while toning and smoothing skin.

Water, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Propanediol, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Disteareth-75 IPDI, Glycereth-7 Caprylate/Caprate, Sodium Chloride, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Mandelic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Phytic Acid, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Citric Acid, Farnesol, Barosma Betulina Leaf Extract, Sodium PCA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tremella Fuciformis (Mushroom) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Bisabolol, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Alcohol, Sodium Phytate, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower/Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract, Polyglyceryl-3 Laurate, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Sodium Hydroxide, Benzoic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol.

Dr. Dennis GrossSkincare At-A-Glance

Strengths: Almost all of the products are fragrance-free; several serums and moisturizers contain a brilliant assortment of beneficial skin-care ingredients; all of the sunscreens contain sufficient UVA protection; almost all of the antioxidant-rich products are packaged to ensure stability and potency.

Weaknesses: Expensive; no effective AHA or BHA products (including the at-home peel the line is "known" for); problematic toner; incomplete selection of products to treat acne, and whats available is more irritating than helpful; a few "why bother?" products.

As you may have gleaned from the name, dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross created this skin-care line. Based in New York City, he claims that all of his products provide "maximum results without side effects," a statement any doctor should know better than to make. For instance, a consumer would logically assume, especially coming from a doctor, that "maximum results" means the products in question really will firm, lift, tighten, plump, or peel the skin. ButDr. Dennis GrossSkincare products don't provide maximum results, not in the least, and definitely not in any of the ways suggested by the marketing copy. In fact, although Gross includes some very impressive ingredients in his products, they cannot make good on the most enticing claims he makes for them.

As for the promise of "no side effects," that is easily refuted with a simple overview of his underachieving products. A quick summary: lavender oil can cause skin-cell death, sulfur is extremely irritating and drying to skin, ascorbic acid can be sensitizing, as can retinol, and the synthetic active sunscreen agents he uses can also present their share of problems. That's not to say that all of these ingredients are bad for skin (only the sulfur and lavender oil qualify for that description), but it's foolish to make a blanket statement that your cosmeceutical-type products are free of side effects. How could he possibly know what a person may react to?

Gross also asserts that he uses cutting-edge technology in his products, a point which I concede given the number of superior moisturizers and serums he offers, all of which compete nicely with other well-formulated products. His products are expensive, but if you're going to spend a lot of money on skin-care products, you should be purchasing state-of-the-art formulas, and these do rate. Of course, this technology (read: efficacious ingredients) doesn't extend to everyDr. Dennis GrossSkincare product, but overall this is one line whose formulas have improved considerably since the previous edition of this book, and that is excellent news!

Several of the products in this line contain emu oil. While there is research indicating that emu oil is a good emollient that can help heal skin, it is not that different from other oils that offer the same benefit, such as grape or olive or even mineral oil for that matter (Source: Australasian Journal of Dermatology, August 1996, pages 159161).

Last, please ignore the tired claim that these products are your alternative to surgical procedures and that they use medical-grade ingredients. Concerning the latter, there is no such thing; Gross uses the same cosmetic and over-the-counter active ingredients found throughout the cosmetics industry. And although his line offers some remarkable products, none of them can provide results equivalent to Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, or laser treatments (and definitely not a face-lift).

Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all MD Skincare products are fragrance-free.

For more information about Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, call (888) 830-7546 or visit the Web site at www.dgskincare.com.

NOTE: In Spring 2010, MD Skincare became Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare.

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.