What’s the Best Cleanser for Your Skin Type?

There are so many different cleansers on the market, it’s hard to know which one to choose. Let our dermatologists walk you through the different types of cleansers and which ones are the best option for your skin type. Remember, if you have a skin condition such as acne, eczema, or rosacea, be sure to ask your doctor for skin cleanser recommendations that won’t exacerbate your condition and will work well with your medications.

Gel Cleansers

Skin type: Oily or acne-prone.

These types of cleansers have a gel-like consistency and are designed for deep cleaning. They can help clear out clogged pores, remove excess oil, and kill bacteria. Many have an exfoliating element to them as well. Gel cleansers can be harsh, however, stripping away the skin’s natural oils, so they aren’t recommended for dry or sensitive skin. In addition, if you are using prescription acne medications, you may want to choose a gentler cleanser so that your skin doesn’t become overly dry. Talk to your doctor.

Cream Cleansers

Skin type: All, especially dry or sensitive.

Cream cleansers have a richer, creamier texture and tend to have more hydrating qualities than other types of cleansers. They tend to be gentle and don’t strip the natural oils from skin. Ideal for sensitive skin, if you choose dye- and fragrance-free options, you are unlikely to suffer irritation or outbreaks.

Foam Cleansers

Skin type: Combination; oily or acne-prone.

Foam cleansers are a nice mix between gel and cream cleansers. They start out as gel or cream, then lather up into a rich foam. Foam cleansers are good at removing excess oil and residue from layers of makeup or sunscreen. However, they can be a bit harsh on dry or sensitive skin.

Oil Cleansers

Skin type: All.

Oil cleansers do a great job of dissolving and washing away makeup and residue from your skin without damaging the natural skin barrier. Oil cleansers also leave you with a silky soft feeling to your skin after cleansing. If you have oily skin, oil cleansers may seem counterintuitive, but they can actually reduce oil production by not stripping so much of your skin’s natural oils, which can stimulate overproduction.

Clay Cleansers

Skin type: Any, especially oily, combination, or sensitive.

Clay cleansers have similar qualities to the popular clay mask treatments. The clay draws out excess oil and impurities from your skin without resorting to harsh scrubs or acids. This makes them ideal for people with sensitive skin. Clay cleansers can help clear breakouts, soothe redness, and prevent clogged pores. They are suitable for any skin type.

Micellar cleanser

Skin type: All, especially sensitive.

Micellar cleansers, based on micellar water, are made with “micelles,” tiny oil molecules suspended in soft water. These molecules attract oil, dirt, and makeup residue. Gentle and alcohol-free, micellar cleansers are suitable for all skin types and work especially well for sensitive skin. While you might be tempted to criticize the formula as being “too gentle,” the truth is that micellar water also has a pore-tightening effect. It also promotes skin hydration while reducing irritation and inflammation. The result: soft, supple, and smooth results for any skin type.

Cleansing balms

Skin type: Dry; sensitive; mature.

Cleansing balms are oil-based, rich balms that work similarly to oil cleansers, except that they come in a thick, creamy formula. The oils in the balm attract dirt, oil, and residue on your face, cleansing it without stripping the skin. They help to restore moisture, making them an excellent option for dry, mature, or sensitive skin. In winter especially, cleansing balms can help your skin to look and feel supple and hydrated even through the harshest months.

Cleansing bars

Skin type: Combination; dry.

These “no-soap” soaps may look like regular bars, but they don’t contain the chemicals and oil-stripping ingredients of regular soap. Generally made with oil and additives like glycolic or fruit acids, they work well for dry or combination skin. A great alternative to traditional face cleansers, these bars are easy to travel with and have the added bonus of using less packaging.

Do you have questions about the best cleanser for your skin type? Come see us and let our skin experts set you up for success, no matter your skin type.