Ask Dr. Parks, Skin Care

What Type of Face Cleanser Should I Use?

It’s the basis of your skincare routine- it’s usually the first step, and it’s the step you should always remember to do, even when you’re exhausted and ready to crawl into bed; it’s your face cleanser! Your cleanser washes away makeup, oil, dirt and leaves your face feeling clean and ready to continue on with your skincare routine at night or your makeup routine in the morning. There are hundreds of cleansers out there, and it’s important that you use one that’s right for your skin type.

What’s your skin type & what cleanser should you use?

Oily Skin:

You always find yourself with excess oil on your skin, especially in your T-zone (forehead, nose and chin). Your skin may feel greasier toward the end of your day and be prone to breakouts. With oily skin, you might find your pores get clogged easily. A gel cleanser, like the iS Clinical Cleansng Complex, is great for cleaning out pores, getting rid of excess oil, and is known to have exfoliating properties.

Dry Skin:

Your skin may feel tight or itchy. Often, dry skin is rough, flaky or scaly. It may be caused by the environment, conditions like eczema or psoriasis, the weather, etc. With dry skin, it’s important to avoid ingredients and properties that will dry your skin even further. Cream cleansers, like Glytone Mild Cream Cleanser or Biopelle Exfoliating Cream Cleanser, are thick in consistency and usually have moisturizing ingredients. They’re gentle cleansers that avoid stripping your skin of its natural oils.

Combination Skin:

Your skin has areas that are dry and areas that are oily. Is your t-zone oily, but your cheeks feel dry? You probably have combination skin. A foaming cleanser like Elta MD Foaming Cleanser starts off as cream, and with water, turns into a foam. A foam cleanser is effective at removing excess oil and detoxifying pores while also being careful to not strip the skin in the dry areas on your face.

Acne-Prone Skin:

You get breakouts frequently, your pores feel or look clogged, and you find yourself with blackheads, whiteheads or pustules often. Just like with oily skin, a gel cleanser works to decongest and detoxify pores clogged with sebum, oil and dirt, which often lead to breakouts and acne. Gel cleansers are also known for being antiseptic and exfoliating, which helps to kill acne causing bacteria. Glytone’s Mild Gel Cleanser is another great gel cleanser option, especially if you have acne-prone skin.

Sensitive Skin:

Your skin probably gets irritated easily, whether it’s from allergies, the environment or simply your genetics. You might find that your skin appears red or flushed easily, you might break out in a rash or hives, your skin may sting after using certain products or your skin might just be easily irritable. When it comes to sensitive skin, it’s important that you avoid stripping your skin and avoid using ingredients that might irritate your skin. A cream cleanser like the SkinMedica Sensitive Skin Cleanser contains gentle and nurturing ingredients that gently cleanse the skin, while providing hydration for sensitive, post-procedure skin.

Normal Skin:

You don’t get breakouts often, and you feel like your skin is relatively balanced; not too oily or dry. Your skin doesn’t react negatively to products or the environment often. It’s important to continue to cleanse your skin thoroughly, even if you don’t currently have any concerns with your skin. A micellar cleanser like  La Roche Posay Micellar Water contains “micelles” that pick up oil, dirt and makeup to keep your skin fresh and clean. Another option would be to use an oil cleanser like PCA Skin Daily Cleansing Oil that gently gets rid of dirt, excess oil and makeup on your skin.

There are tons of different cleansers out there suited for different skin types. The first step is figuring out your skin type and determining if you suffer from any skin conditions, and then choosing a cleanser with the right consistency and ingredients for your skin. Be sure to do your research and find the best cleanser for your skin at


About Dr. Alan J. Parks

Dr. Alan Parks is a board certified dermatologist. Dr. Parks founded his practice, Eastside Dermatology, in 1986 and has been practicing there ever since. In 2016 Dr. Parks launched DermWarehouse, an eCommerce website selling professional strength skin care products to customers across the United States.

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