Lemon Gel Cleanser
Clean & Clear’s Lemon Gel Cleanser would be an easy recommendation if the potent fragrance and lemon were out of the equation. But their inclusion makes this water-soluble face wash a problem for all skin types--see More Info for details.
Housed in an opaque bottled topped with a pump dispenser, Lemon Gel Cleanser is a basic formula that cleanses without drying skin and rinses completely. It’s not ideal for removing long-wearing makeup (and the fragrance this contains makes using it around the eyes especially risky).
Back to the fragrance: Even though this is a rinse-off product, strong fragrance always presents a problem for skin. We understand the appealing aroma of lemon, but this cleanser fails to capture that, smelling more like artificially sweet candy than fresh fruit.
But even if this did smell more like real lemon, that’s not a good thing either because fragrance isn’t skin care. Between the strong scent and inclusion of lemon fruit extract--another source of irritation--this is a cleanser we can’t recommend, even though its cleansing action is great.
- Refreshing gel formula cleanses and rinses well.
- High amount of fragrance likely to irritate skin and eyes.
- Lemon fruit extract can trigger irritation.
Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin’s barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin’s surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can’t always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it’s not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don’t need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
Brighten your skin with Lemon Gel Facial Cleanser. It’s made with lemon extract and Vitamin C. It cuts through oil and dissolves backlogged dirt to keep your skin clear and bright.
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.