This gel-textured, low-foam cleanser contains a high amount of the alkaline ingredient sodium hydroxide. At this concentration, sodium hydroxide has a strong potential to aggravate skin, which can leave skin feeling tight and dry (i.e., that “stripped” feeling). Over time, this type of cleanser can make oily skin even oiler (see More Info for details).
What about the “exfoliating” claim? This refers to the AHA exfoliant ingredient glycolic acid that’s present in the formula. When used in a well formulated leave-on product, AHA can work beautifully to gently exfoliate skin. However, AHA is far less effective for exfoliation, if at all, in a cleanser. That’s because it's rinsed off before it can begin to work. If you are hoping for this cleanser to provide exfoliating benefits, think again. Some companies recommend leaving these types of cleansers on skin for a longer period of time so the AHA can absorb, but that means the cleansing agents would also be left on too and that can cause dryness and irritation.
There’s also the added risk of getting these ingredients in your eyes when they’re present in a cleanser, which is especially true for this formula given its high amount of sodium hydroxide. The tight, dry feeling this cleanser leaves (the result of its harsh nature) is probably what is mistaken for exfoliation, but in fact, all that’s removed are lipids and other substances that help keep your skin healthy.
Neocutis claims that this fragrance-free cleanser is “specially formulated to work together with Neocutis skincare,” but that would be equally true of any cleanser, so you needn’t believe this oldest of cosmetics myths. There is no reason not to mix products from different skincare lines, so long as they’re well formulated and appropriate for your skin type.
When you consider the drawbacks, there is no reason to consider Neo-Cleanse Exfoliating Skin Cleanser over the many better alternatives on our list of Best Cleansers. If you would like to see what a well-formulated leave-on AHA or BHA exfoliant can do for your skin, check out the Best AHA Exfoliants or Best BHA Exfoliants lists, too!
Not Being Gentle to Skin Can Increase Oily skin & Breakouts: Whether you can see it on the surface of skin or not, using harsh, skin-aggravating ingredients or cleansing brushes with stiff bristles, is a serious problem for all skin types but uniquely so for those with oily, combination, and blemish-prone skin.
Research has clearly established that when skin is aggravated the oil gland is stimulated by nerve endings to make more oil creating a perfect environment for blemishes, breakouts, and clogged pores to get worse.
Using any product that’s gentle and completely non-irritating is without question the only approach to taking the best care of your skin; doing otherwise hurts your skin.
It’s also vitally important to use appropriate products that research has shown are beneficial for oily skin and blemishes. The two gold standard ingredients are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
References for this information:
Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology, January 2016, issue 1, pages 25-30
Journal of European Dermatology and Venerology, May 2014, issue 5, pages 527-532
Journal of Dermatology, May 2012, issue 5, pages 433-438
Clinical Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, April 2011, pages 41-53
Dermato-Endocrinology, January-March 2011, issue 1, pages 41–49.
European Journal of Dermatology, September-October 2002, pages 422-427
Journal of the American Medical Association, August 2004, issue 6, page 764
Dermatology, January 2003, issue 1, pages 17-23
Formulated without harsh sulfate detergents, dyes or fragrances for skin that feels fresh, clean and comfortable after cleansing. Specifically formulated to work together with NEOCUTIS skincare.
Water (Aqua), Glycolic Acid, Glycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Lauryl Glucoside, Decyl Glucoside, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol.
Strengths: Fragrance-free products; use of pump or tube packaging protects the light- and air-sensitive ingredients; excellent vitamin C serum and retinol product.
Weaknesses: Many of the anti-aging moisturizers and treatments are disappointingly simple formulas; expensive; some products rely on unproven ingredients.
If you’ve heard of the Neocutis brand, it’s likely because a dermatologist or aesthetician recommended one of their moisturizers or treatments. Like many skincare brands catering to patients of dermatologists and so-called “medi spas,” the claims associated with their products play off the perception of “prescription results” via ingredients that have medicinal-sounding names such as “Processed Skin Proteins” and “Melaplex.” It’s all designed to make you think you’re getting something special along with the pedigree of the doctor or spa retailing this line. As you’ll see from the reviews, that’s not true, although there are some good products to be found here.
Now headquartered in San Francisco, California, Neocutis was founded in Switzerland in 2003 by a group of physicians and biologists who realized the [marketing] potential of human cells in skincare products—specifically, amino acids and proteins (which is where their trademarked ingredients with exotic-sounding names come into play).
Despite their beginnings and their initial exclusivity to dermatologists’ offices, today you can order Neocutis products from beauty sites and other online retailers. Their line includes a range of products that caters to those whose foremost concerns are treating and preventing signs of aging. As a result, you’ll find Neocutis offers moisturizers, eye creams, and targeted treatments, many of which are themed around their trademarked “PSP,” or “Processed Skin Proteins.” Note: They claim this blend of peptides, proteins, and other substances “harnesses the power of human-cell derived growth factors and cytokines.”
What Neocutis isn’t telling you is that this blend of cytokines and human-cell derived growth factors has little research demonstrating any benefit for skin, and certainly not in comparison to the numerous well-researched antioxidants and cell-communicating agents used in so many of today’s best anti-aging products (see the More Info section of the products reviewed here for more details on PSP).
We should also note that, at the time of this review, Neocutis does not universally adhere to cosmetics ingredient labeling regulations on some of their products. In some cases, they do not list individually the proteins and amino acids that make up their PSP blend, which violates International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) and
Unfortunately, despite the pomp and circumstance surrounding these products, most are extraordinarily overpriced and contain a surprisingly bland mix of basic moisturizing ingredients with a dusting of antioxidants. When we say “dusting” of beneficial ingredients, we really mean just that; in fact, one of their “remarkable” moisturizers is little more than a mix of glycerin, glycol, and thickeners, with a price tag topping $160!
On a positive note, Neocutis does have two outstanding products—one vitamin C serum and a retinol product—that are (like all of their formulas) fragrance-free and packaged to protect their light- and air-sensitive ingredients. What’s certain is that Neocutis doesn’t have enough going for it to make putting together an entire anti-aging skincare routine from their products a good idea, for your skin or for your budget!
For more information on Neocutis, call 1-866-636-2884 or visit http://www.neocutis.com/.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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