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, but Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser wasn’t right for me – I was dying to try something more innovative.

Is your cleanser pH balanced or low pH?

Why are most cleansers on the market pH balanced when our skin is slightly acidic? These cleansers can disrupt our skin’s barrier and lead to moisture loss.
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.

Cetaphil vs Neostrata low pH cleanser

Like  CetaphilNeostrata cleverly uses a buffer (in this case, the humectant panthenol) to protect the skin from the drying effect of the detergent. (It contains several milder detergents compared with Cetaphil).

Neostrata is much more proactive than Cetaphil. As well as cleansing, it gently exfoliates dead skin with 4% gluconolactone, a polyhydroxy acid. (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 they are 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 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 halfway through the day.

However, she disliked the ‘chemical’ smell and missed her more sensorial luxury brands. (Like most women, she judged products on fragrance and texture, which skincare 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 sunscreen. (That’s a whole other blog post).

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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