Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Cleanser contains salicylic acid to help fight blemishes, but it doesn't stay on skin long enough to be of much value. Furthermore, it dries out the skin and can be irritating. Users are generally more pleased with Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash (*Est. $5.50 for 6 oz.) . Experts say a basic, gentle cleanser such as Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash (*Est. $5.50 for 6 oz.) is also a good option for acne-prone skin.
Dries out blemishes -- and skin. Editors at InStyle magazine praise Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash for clearing acne without stripping skin of essential moisture. They add that the formula contains 2 percent salicylic acid to exfoliate and clear pores. Paula Begoun, skin-care expert and author of "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me," says that the salicylic acid is of little benefit, however, because it is merely washed down the drain and doesn't stay on the skin long enough to have much effect.
She adds that one of the main ingredients is sodium c14-16 olefin sulfonate, a detergent cleansing agent that is very drying and irritating. Users at MakeupAlley.com and TotalBeauty.com agree, but some say that it's nothing that a good moisturizer can't fix. Several say that Oil-Free Acne Wash does an excellent job of clearing acne and preventing new breakouts.
Tough on skin and harsh on the nose. Reviewers at MakeupAlley.com say Neutrogena's Acne Wash leaves skin feeling squeaky clean but stress that it can be a little harsh. Many say they prefer to use the formula on an occasional basis to prevent dryness. Most agree that it doesn't smell good -- one says it smells a lot like dishwashing detergent.
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Review Credibility: Excellent Paula Begoun relies on published scientific research to rate hundreds of beauty products, including Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash. She gives the cleanser a poor rating because it contains a harsh detergent cleansing agent that is very drying and can cause irritation.
Review: Oil-Free Acne Wash, Paula Begoun, Jan. 22, 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good InStyle magazine editors list top beauty picks based on the favorites of industry experts. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash is suggested for acne-prone skin. Editors say it clears acne without stripping skin.
Review: Best Beauty Buys 2012: Skin, Editors of InStyle magazine, May 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash earns a lackluster overall rating of 2.8 out of 5 stars from more than 800 reviewers at MakeupAlley.com. Most say the formula is very drying and even irritating for some. Others, however, say the dryness is nothing that a good moisturizer can't fix and that the cleanser clears up and prevents acne.
Review: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, Contributors to MakeupAlley.com, As of February 2013
Review Credibility: Good Reviews at TotalBeauty.com are similar to those at MakeupAlley.com for Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash. Some users love the formula saying that it clears up acne and prevents future breakouts. Others say it dries out and irritates skin.
Review: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Reviews, Contributors to TotalBeauty.com, As of February 2013
Review Credibility: Fair About.com's beauty guide, Julyne Derrick, offers facial cleanser recommendations for every skin type. She suggests Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash for acne-prone skin because it contains salicylic acid as well as soothing aloe and chamomile. Derrick says the formula dries out breakouts but not your skin.
Review: Best Cleansers for Every Skin Type, Julyne Derrick, As of February 2013