Deep Action Cream Cleanser For Sensitive Skin
Cleanses deep down for a revitalizing clean, without overdrying
The Full Story:
This extra-gentle, hypoallergenic version of our Deep Action Cream Cleanser is specially formulated for sensitive skin to clean deep down to the pores and gently exfoliate surface skin without over-drying. This refreshing facial cleanser provides a tingly, cooling sensation as you gently massage the scrub on skin.
Wet your face and squeeze cleanser into the palm of your hand. Gently massage product all over face. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + Ha
Lactic acid dissolves oil and unclogs pores
Tasmanian pepperberry and hyaluronic acid reduce inflammation
Doesn’t contain BHAs
Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% is an exfoliating formula for those who are experienced users of direct acids, says Kaka. Lactic acid is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid, which are comedolytic and keratolytic in nature. This means that they function to promote exfoliation by loosening the topmost layer of dead skin, helping to even out skin tone and reducing textural irregularities, he adds.
Theres also the added benefit of hyaluronic acid, a humectant that increases skin moisture, resulting in a plumper, more supple complexion. Consider trying this pick if youre prone to dehydration, fine lines, or tight, uncomfortable skin.
Price at time of publish: $8
Benefits: Evens skin tone, clears congestion | Skin Type: Dry, mature | Size: 1 fluid ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
Rose Ingleton Md Blemish Control Booster
Courtesy of ROSE Ingleton MD
Antioxidants target post-breakout dark spots
AHAs dissolve oil inside pores
Green tea, turmeric, and neem extract calm inflammation
This dermatologist-developed formula contains ingredients that prevent new blemishes, like a concentration of AHAs, but also antioxidants to fade discoloration from old spots. Botanical extracts like green tea, turmeric, and neem extract bring down inflammation, and help soothe redness associated with active blemishes.
Price at time of publish: $70
Benefits: Clarifies, reduces breakouts and blackheads, fades discoloration | Skin Type: Combination, oily | Size: 1 fluid ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
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Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel
Contains both AHAs and BHAs to dissolve sebum and prevent oil from building up inside pores
Lactic acid gently resurfaces pores
Includes deactivator pad to prevent over-exfoliation and irritation
Who else recommends it? Prevention also picked the Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel.
What do buyers say? 89% of 2,100+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
These iconic peel pads are soaked in a dual AHA and BHA exfoliating solution to slough off dull surface cells and improve the look of skin tone, clarity, and texture. Also included is salicylic acid, which can dissolve oil within a pore, lessening the severity of acne and blackheads. Dermatologist and founder Dr. Dennis Gross told Byrdie that these peel pads are an effective and easy treatment to target congestion and uneven skin tone without sensitizing the skin, thanks to the unique two-step peel process.
With thousands of positive reviews on Sephora, the Alpha Beta Universal Daily is a pretty safe bet for improving all skin conditionsespecially blackheads.
Price at time of publish: $17
Benefits: Clears congestion, fights dullness, smoothes | Skin Type: Combination, oily | Size: 30 treatments | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
Rationale #5 The Milk Concentrate
Courtesy of Rationale
Contains bacteria-fighting piroctone olamine to prevent acne from congested pores
Alternatively, if your skin is sensitive, Gunthatheesan recommends this conditioning milk concentrate to exfoliate and resurface sans irritation. “This is perfect for sensitive skin that cannot handle any acids,” she says. “It contains piroctone olamine, which prevents replication of bacteria on the skin’s surface to combat acne, blackheads, and congestion.”
Piroctone olamine is a compound often used in cosmetic products as an antifungal treatment and has been found to help balance the skin microbiome and reduce the incidence of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. Consider this an excellent alternative if you can’t handle harsh exfoliants.
Price at time of publish: $156
Benefits: Resurfaces, prevents acne-causing bacteria | Skin Type: Dry, sensitive | Size: 1 fluid ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
Contains benzoyl peroxide and lipo-hydroxy acid to regulate sebum production
This French pharmacy pick is recommended by dermatologist Jo-Ann See, MD due to its simple but proven formulation. “Benzoyl peroxide is very helpful when it comes to regulating sebum flow and clearing the pores long term, especially paired with an exfoliating acid,” she says. “You can use this lotion all over the face, but I prefer it as a targeted treatment in congested areas.” Try it for an evening on clean skin and follow up with a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer.
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How We Researched & Tested
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key featureslike ingredients, shade range, or designin addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. Our team also incorporated their own personal experiences testing products in their own lives. We then used these insights from our research and testing to assign a star rating from one to five to certain products on the list
Differin Adapalene Gel 01% Acne Treatment
Adapalene proven to work to dissolve oil and reduce pore size
Might be too harsh for sensitive skin
Gunthatheesan tells Byrdie that this treatment from Differin contains adapalene, a type of retinoid that comes in 0.1% or 0.3% concentration and works to improve skin clarity, luminosity, and reduce pores. She further explains that adapalene has a more stable chemical structure than other retinoids and does not degrade when used alongside other acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide. So if youre dealing with serious acne, you can use it in conjunction with other active ingredients to reduce breakouts and refine your pores.
Price at time of publish: $15
Benefits: Evens skin tone, reduces acne and blackheads | Skin Type: Combination, oily | Size: 0.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
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Philosophy Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor
Courtesy of Nordstrom
Salicylic acid dissolves oil and unclogs pores
Diatomaceous earth helps polish the skin
Physical scrub element may irritate sensitive skin
Formulated with white clay, salicylic acid, and diatomaceous earth, this chemical and physical exfoliating treatment promises to refresh and smooth the skin while reducing the look of blackheads. Gunthatheesan says that while it’s not a great long-term management solution, it would make for a “great weekly treatment to instantly improve the look and feel of skin, especially pores around the nose, chin, and forehead.”
Price at time of publish: $37
Benefits: Smoothes and refines | Skin Type: Combination, oily | Size: 2.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Yes
You should never pick a blackhead with your fingers. Although it’s tempting, you may not remove the entire blackhead, but rather push the infection further down into the skin. Additionally, you can introduce oil, bacteria, and exacerbate the acne. Finally, nails can damage the surface of the skin, stretch out a pore, and cause potential scarring.
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Fresh Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Facial Mask
Mineral-rich Umbrian clay reduces shine and absorbs oil
Cinnamon bark has clarifying properties
Effects may not be long-term
This Umbrian clay mask promises to minimize pores and shine without stripping or dulling the skin. However, Gunthatheesan says that its best to view this one as a quick-fix rather than a long-term skin solution, as the ingredient profile isnt really able to permanently clear out the pores. This is more of a temporary indulgence, and I dont particularly see a dont see a long-term benefit. The initial sebum removal might result in rebound sebum overproduction, so just be sure to follow up with lightweight moisture.
Price at time of publish: $25
Benefits: Refines, reduces pore size | Skin Type: Combination, oily | Size: 3.3 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes |Yes
AHAs and BHAs dissolve oil inside pores
Lactic acid evens texture and tone
This serum is excellent for comedones as it contains salicylic acid and lactic acids to regulate the skin renewal enzymes and improve desquamation, says Gunthatheesan. We love the lightweight texture and the fact it works almost overnight to reduce the look of rough texture and uneven tone.
Price at time of publish: $137
Benefits: Evens skin tone, clarifies, reduces congestion | Skin Type: Combination, oily | Size: 1 fluid ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% Bha Liquid Exfoliant
Salicylic acid dissolves oils inside pores
Concentration of BHAs will not irritate skin
May be drying for some
You’d be hard-pressed to find a salicylic acid product with more of a fan following than Paula’s Choice 2% BHA. With promises to sweep away dead skin cells, unclog pores, and visibly smooth wrinkles, the minimalist formula is simple, effective, and relatively affordable. See says that the concentration of salicylic acid is “just right,” and the fact that it doesn’t have many other irritants means it’s an excellent choice for sensitive or reactive skin. Try it as a spot treatment, or sweep it all over a few times a week.
Price at time of publish: $34
Benefits: Clarifies, reduces breakouts and blackheads | Skin Type: Combination, oily | Size: 4 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
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The 14 Best Blackhead Removers Of 2022
Our best overall pick is Dr. Dennis Gross’ Universal Daily Peel
We can pick, squeeze, and extract without abandon, but days later, blackheads are back, taunting us in the bathroom mirror. When professional extractions aren’t possible, the best way to get rid of blackheads is to treat with a topical formula that can decongest and unclog skin with powerful chemical exfoliants.
Our best overall pick is Dr. Dennis Gross’ Universal Daily Peel which contains a blend of AHAs and salicylic acid to exfoliate the skin while improving its tone and texture. For a more affordable pick, consider La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Duo, which contains a concentration of benzoyl peroxide and lipo-hydroxy acid to regulate sebum production without drying skin.
Blackheads are considered a form of acne that occurs when the pore becomes clogged with sebum and dead skin cells. Further, blackheads occur when the pore is open at the surface level, which causes the contents to become oxidized and become darker in colorthus, the name, blackhead.
Experts emphasize that picking or squeezing blackheads causes more harm than good, including the exacerbation of acne and potential scarring. Instead, dermatologists recommend using chemical exfoliants to unclog the pore without actually squeezing gunk out of your face. Because exfoliants work by loosening the cells of the epidermis, you don’t have to resort to pickingwhich is tempting, but can scar.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor, Emily Algar is a journalist who specializes in beauty product reviews. She conducted hours of research and tapped a handful of dermatologists, evaluating products on their active ingredient list, potential for irritation, and value. We also put some of the top-rated products to the test, our testers using them for weeks at a time and rating how well they worked to decongest and clarify their skin. Emily took these insights into consideration for this roundup.
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How To Use
Wet your face and squeeze Deep Action cream cleanser into the palm of your hand. Whip cream in your hands, then apply all over face, especially to areas where excess oil builds up. For extra cleansing action, massage into skin with a washcloth. Rinse thoroughly with water. Pat dry with towel. Recommended for daily use, both morning and night, in the shower or at the sink.