Low pH Cleanser Review: Neostrata Facial Cleanser

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I can’t wait to try a low pH cleanser!

So my search for the perfect low pH cleanser continues. My forty-four year old oily skin has started to dry out, so its time for an upgrade.  Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser wasn’t quite right for me – I was dying to try something more innovative.

Is your cleanser pH balanced or low pH?

Most cleansers on the market are pH balanced, but our skin isn’t pH balanced – its slightly acidic. These cleansers can actually disrupt our skin’s barrier. A strong barrier keeps moisture in and irritants out. 

Quick science lesson: pH ranges from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline). An acidic barrier (4 – 5.5) is more effective at hydrating the skin than any moisturiser. Dead skin falls off more easily so our skin naturally looks much brighter. 

Neostrata Facial Cleanser has a low pH – I couldn’t wait to try it.

Cetaphil vs Neostrata low pH cleanser

Like  Cetaphil, Neostrata cleverly uses a buffer (in this case the humectant panthenol) to protect the skin from the drying effect of the detergent. (It contains several detergents which are milder than the ones used by Cetaphil).

Neostrata is much more proactive than Cetaphil. As well as cleansing, it gently exfoliates dead skin with 4% gluconolactone, a polyhydroxy acid (Pha).

Phas are a more gentle version of Ahas, which gently dissolve the ‘glue’ that sticks dead skin cells together. They are also much better than Ahas at repairing the skin’s barrier, so perfect for me.

I think we will be hearing a lot more about them in the future.

Can low pH cleansers really exfoliate?

Now I am a big fan of chemical exfoliation and I constantly nag my clients to exfoliate more, but even I was initially sceptical. 

Could either Ahas or Phas make much of a difference in a facial wash?

Would the cleanser be on the skin long enough to exfoliate before being washed down the drain?

However, I had one notoriously high maintenance client whose sensitive skin struggled to tolerate glycolic acid, so I thought this might be a compromise. I knew that I could transform her ‘bumpy’ skin, if only she would trust me. (It took the best part of a year).

I did not realise at first that her tricky combination skin was borderline rosacea, which is unusual in a part European, part Asian skin.

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It calms redness and rosacea!

I felt so relieved when she saw immediate results.

The redness on the tip of her nose calmed down and she no longer needed to reapply make-up half way through the day.

However she disliked the ‘chemical’ smell and missed her more sensorial luxury brands. Like most women she judged products on their fragrance and texture, which skin care companies are only too happy to exploit.

Initially she experienced soreness on top of her cheekbones, so we reduced use to once daily. She was initially worried that her ‘fresh skin’ had less protection from UV damage.

So the hunt began for a sunscreen, but that’s a whole other blog post. (We got there in the end).

It helped reduce my perimenopausal acne

Within a few weeks of using Neostrata Clarifying Wash, the perimenopausal acne along my jawline had improved.

I did experience a bit of redness for the first month, so I now alternate Restore Cleanser in the morning with the Clarifying wash in the evening.

My skin has never looked so clear.

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