Top 10 Facial Cleansers

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The first step in a skin care regimen for fresh, glowing and healthy skin is the use of an appropriate cleanser. A walk down the beauty aisles of any neighborhood drugstore or prestige department store reveals cleansers that fit every skin type, condition and budget. Before you plunk down your hard-earned cash, learn what cleansers are best for your skin type.

Skin Types and Conditions

Skin types can be divided into four categories: normal, dry, combination and oily. Within those categories, there are various skin conditions, which include acne, sensitivity, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, loss of elasticity, and lines and wrinkles. When choosing the best cleanser for your face, it's important to take into consideration both your skin type and any prevailing conditions.

Types of Cleansers

Cleansers vary in form -- bars, liquid gels, creams and lotions, oils and towelettes -- and can be chosen by ingredients, personal preference and budget. Typically, cleansing creams, lotions and oils are associated with dry, sensitive and mature skin. Conversely, cleansing gels and bars have historically been recommended for oily, combination and acne-prone skin.

Choosing a Cleanser Formula

Perhaps you have dry skin but prefer the squeaky clean feel of a gel cleanser. You may have acne-prone skin and feel an oil-based cleanser suits you. It's possible to choose your preferred cleanser formula because of advanced product development combined with the inclusion of ingredients that address specific skin needs.

Skin-Specific Cleansers

Two skin conditions that need specific treatment are acne and hyperpigmentation. Acne can plague men and women from teen years into adulthood. Alba Botanica ACNEdote Deep Pore Wash is a botanical acne wash that contains the maximum strength of over-the-counter salicylic acid. Naturally derived from willow bark extract, salicylic acid helps obliterate existing pimples and prevent new breakouts. Hyperpigmentation, more commonly referred to as dark spots, is caused by an overproduction of melanin. Jurlique Purely Bright Cleanser contains natural mineral exfoliants, which help minimize the visible appearance of dark spots. A key ingredient in Purely Bright Cleanser is Kakadu plum extract, which helps to reduce the appearance of skin discolorations.

Cleansers for Dry and Sensitive Skin

EmerginC Aromatic Cream Tea Cleanser, formulated with green, red and white teas is for dry and sensitive skin. This creamy cleanser gently removes dirt and impurities from skin without irritation. Applied on dry skin and then rinsed off, it leaves skin feeling clean and moist. Burt’s Bees makes Sensitive Facial Cleanser, a soap-free cream cleanser that moisturizes sensitive skin while gently cleansing away dirt, oil and makeup without overdrying or causing redness. Key ingredients in this sensitive skin cleanser include rice extract and cotton extract for moisturizing skin and aloe for its soothing properties.

Cleansers for Oily and Combination Skin

Oily skin can benefit from Shiseido Ibuki Purifying Cleanser, which contains microgranules for gentle exfoliation and lathers into a foam that removes excess oil and impurities without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. A bonus feature of Ibuki Purifying Cleanser is that it is formulated without parabens, sulfates and phthalates. Both oily and combination skin types can use Iman Liquid Assets Oil-Free Gel Cleanser. This botanically based, vitamin-enriched gel cleanser is formulated with a blend of natural fruit and flower extracts that cleanses the skin and removes excess dirt, oil and makeup without stripping.

Cleansers for Mature Skin

Murad Renewing Cleansing Cream is a highly concentrated, moisturizing cleanser formulated specifically to rebalance hormonally aging skin. Papaya enzymes exfoliate skin while algae extract provides hydration and firming benefits. Skin’s barrier function is improved with essential fatty acids. Another option is Aveeno Positively Ageless Daily Exfoliating Cleanser, which has microbeads to gently remove dull, dry skin to visibly reduce the signs of aging. This cleanser's formula includes shiitake mushrooms, which are rich in vitamins and amino acids and help to improve the appearance of the skin and fight the signs of aging skin.

Cleansers for All Skin Types

All skin types can use Philosophy Purity Made Simple, a pH-balanced cleanser that dissolves dirt and makeup while deep-cleaning pores. Additionally, it’s mild enough to remove eye makeup. The inclusion of sage, chamomile and carrot in the formula contribute to its gentle cleansing properties. Cleansing oils are an effective option as they clean without drying out the skin. Vapour Organic Beauty Clarity Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil cleans the skin by dissolving all traces of makeup, dirt and impurities without stripping skin of its natural protective layer. Clarity includes nourishing ingredients like camellia oil, jojoba oil and evening primrose oil, which promote overall skin health.