Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser Review - The Acne Experiment

Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser - The Acne Experiment

I've been a real slacker. It's been 3 months since my last Acne Experiment post and it may have looked like I abandoned this thing. I haven't. I have been diligently testing a few different products, taking hideous selfies, and contemplating the infinite vastness of the universe. One might say I fell into an existential funk. Another might say that I'm being a lazy whiney baby.

This is why I have to thank a few folks that stumbled upon this blog and then took the time to send me an email over the last few weeks. You guys make me a very happy acne blogger. You kicked my butt into gear.

The review I've been putting off is for Neutrogena's Extra Gentle Cleanser. There's not particular reason WHY I've been putting it off, aside from the fact that I tested it over two different periods of time – and, yeah, I know cleanser is boring. Like a bad writer, I waited for inspiration on how to jazz this thing up. Sometimes you gotta plow on through and flip the bird at the muse. I'm learning that "sometimes" is actually more like "all times."

This is my 3rd cleanser test, and first non-foaming cleanser test I've done. It's an important one because it could confirm or deny my theory that foaming cleanser gives me nasty chin zits.


  • Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser - once daily (Purified Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Isohexadecane, Tea-Cocoyl Glutamate, Methylglucose Sesquistearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Bisabolol, Chamomile Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, BHT, Geranium, Dipropylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben, Methylparaben)
  • Spot Treatments as needed (I use undiluted Tea Tree Oil (TJoes) and/or salicylic acid (this) on active acne + Manuka Honey (this) on spots that are healing)
  1. Wash face once daily with Neutrogena's Extra Gentle Cleanser. I alternated between applying it with just my hands and applying with a wet washcloth.
  2. Apply spot treatments, as needed.
  3. Avoid touching your face.
  4. Dude. What are you doing. Stop touching your face.
  5. Wonder whether the acne on your face actually is due to all the face touching you're doing.
  6. Curse your magnifying mirror.
  7. End the trial.
  8. Start it back up again a few months later when you don't trust the results.
  9. Ugh this fat zit is probably here because you can't stop drooling on yourself while you sleep.
  10. What is skin?
  11. No really, end the trial.

This face wash trial was... entirely uneventful. I didn't see a big enough difference after either trial to tell whether washing my face with this stuff was doing anything. At the same time, I did not see the same insta-chin-zits that I've seen with foaming cleansers. MINOR VICTORY. *shoots confetti gun, but the confetti is damp for some reason and just sticks to everything in clumps*

Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser Before & After :: The Acne Experiment
Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser Before & After :: The Acne Experiment

Non-Foaming Cleanser Before & After :: The Acne Experiment
Non-Foaming Cleanser Before & After :: The Acne Experiment

Okay here's the bummer. It looks like I chose another product that is discontinued. I can't find it on Neutrogena's website or on Ulta, but it's still for sale on Amazon. Neutrogena has a different non-foaming cream cleanser (this) so perhaps I'll try it later on.

Here's bummer number 2: this cleanser contains castor oil which has a comedogenic rating of "1" - it's still pretty low, but it's not zero. It is fragrance free, so that's a plus.

Neutrogena Cleanser Before & After :: The Acne Experiment
Neutrogena Cleanser Before & After :: The Acne Experiment

Neutrogena Non-Foaming Cleanser Before & After :: The Acne Experiment
Neutrogena Non-Foaming Cleanser Before & After :: The Acne Experiment

My verdict? Soft pass. Using the cleanser too frequently was making me a wee bit greasy, so I cut back to washing with it every other day. Ultimately, I decided it wasn't necessarily better than water washing. (Hell, now that I'm looking at these pictures again, it might even be worse.) I am going to hold onto my bottle just in case I decide to wear a full face of makeup and want something more than a shammy to remove it all. Yes, I use a shammy to remove my makeup. I clean my face the same way your dad buffs his car.*


*Technically it's the Jane Iredale Magic Mitt, but eh, technically it's a shammy. To use, you get it wet and wipe your makeup off. It works remarkably well considering it only requires warm water. Also, you have to clean it after each use – facial cleanser cast-offs are perfect for this. If that smacks of effort, you can buy a few packs of cheaper shammies and wash 'em in the laundry. (These are the ones I've earmarked to buy if I ever go that route - They work out to about $6 per shammy, which is a helluva lot less than $15.)

PS: Hey-yo. There are way more cleanser types than non-foaming and foaming. 8 more to be exact. Find your match in my cleanser guide.

ALL Acne Experiment Posts are listed at The Acne Experiment MOTHER HUB.

Testing Non-Foaming Cleanser on Adult Acne :: The Acne Experiment
Testing Non-Foaming Cleanser on Adult Acne :: The Acne Experiment

All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment

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