Do Anti-Aging Cleansers Work?

by Gio
Do anti-aging cleansers work?

Wouldn’t it be great if you get rid of wrinkles while washing your face?

Anti-aging cleansers promise just that. But I don’t buy that. Here’s why:

Do Anti-Aging Cleansers With Antioxidants Work?

I’m all for using antioxidants in your skincare routine. Green tea, vitamin C & co are anti-aging superstars that fight wrinkles on three fronts: they destroy free radicals, boost collagen production and reduce inflammation.

But put in a cleanser and they come useless. It’s not their fault. They just end up down the drain when you rinse the cleanser off. How can they benefit skin if they aren’t anywhere near it anymore?

The only exception? Vitamin C. It can penetrate skin even when used in a cleanser, but ONLY with a delivery system based on PEG-12 Dimethicone. You guessed it, most products don’t use that.

Verdict: anti-aging cleansers with antioxidants don’t work – unless they use Vitamin C.

Related: How Antioxidants Help You Fight Premature Wrinkles

Do Exfoliating Anti-Aging Cleansers Work?

Not all anti-aging cleansers use antioxidants. Some prefer to take an exfoliating approach.

Exfoliation happens when you remove dead skin cells off the surface of the skin. Acids like glycolic and salicylic are great candidates for the job. They dissolve the glue that holds skin cells together, so they can slough off.

Plus, each of them has a extra superpower: glycolic acid boosts collagen while salicylic acid keeps the pores clean and breakouts at bay.

But they do have something in common with antioxidants: these exfoliating acids work much better and faster when they are left on the skin for hours, not rinsed down the drain after a few minutes.

Sure, if you massage that cleanser on your skin for a minute or two, you’ll get a little bit of exfoliation. But why would you settle for less?

Verdict: Exfoliating anti-aging cleansers sort of workish, but not as well as leave-on cleansers. Don’t compromise.

Related: How To Pick The Right Exfoliator For Your Skin Type

Wondering what type of cleanser you should use? Check out this list with all my fave cleansers for every skin type and needs.

The Bottom Line

Don’t waste your money on fancy anti-aging cleansers that don’t work. They won’t get rid of your wrinkles or prevent them.

Do you use anti-aging cleansers? Share your experience in the comments below.



Dao January 31, 2012 - 4:12 pm

I do agree with you. Anti-aging cleansers are gimmicky and cost a lot of money. It’s better to save the money and buy a good moisturizer instead.

beautifulwithbrains January 31, 2012 - 7:06 pm

Dao, I agree. A good moisturizer will provide much better results.

Alejandra January 31, 2012 - 11:47 pm

Im a cosmetic products junky but use colorant and fragance free shampoo (if possible) for my face, hair and body and I havent had any irritation or bad reaction and my skin is sensitive. I really dont see a difference among the main ingredients of most of shampoos, face and body washes, if you check ingredients lists many are very similar (except for the marketing-purposes ingredients like those you mention here).

I think when comes to choose personal care products its all about being informed about ingredients and their functions regarding the brand or their publicity.

beautifulwithbrains February 1, 2012 - 7:29 am

Alejandra, you’re right, those products have very similar ingredient lists and that’s because their purpose is to remove dirt and so all need to use the same surfactants. Everything else is just a marketing gimmick.

And that’s so true too. If you know what ingredients do, you’ll be able to chose the best products for your skin and avoid those that claim to contain beneficial ingredients that in reality just don’t work.

[email protected] February 1, 2012 - 1:37 am

So true! I totally agree with you on this.

beautifulwithbrains February 1, 2012 - 7:12 am

Harshleen, they are a waste of money, aren’t they?

Makeup Morsels February 1, 2012 - 2:25 am

Ah, I’ve definitely wondered about this! I tend to stick to pretty basic, gentle cleansers as well. Have you heard about those cleansers with SPF in them? I always was skeptical of those, and of anti-ageing cleansers too, so it was nice to read this post.

beautifulwithbrains February 1, 2012 - 7:22 am

Makeup Morsels, I’m glad this post helped you. A good cleanser just needs to remove dirt without irritating skin. Other ingredients work much better in a serum or moisturizer. I’ve heard of cleansers with SPF that use a special technology that leaves some of the sunscreen ingredients on the skin even if you wash them off but even if that’s true, I doubt you’ll be able to apply enough of them to provide decent protection. It’s much better to use a basic cleanser and a good sunscreen and moisturizer.

Jamilla February 1, 2012 - 8:21 am

I’m with you. I use a basic cleanser!

beautifulwithbrains February 1, 2012 - 12:22 pm

Jamilla, me too. Basic cleansers work well and are cheap.

dom February 1, 2012 - 2:59 pm

Yep – I totally agree with you! Cleansers wash off, so what’s the point of splurging? Then again, I did one of those facial test things (where they scan your face and tell you what’s wrong) and they said I had so much acne bacteria, and the culprit? The cleanser. I was like…what?

beautifulwithbrains February 1, 2012 - 4:01 pm

Dom, I never heard of a cleanser that did that. Maybe it wasn’t a very effective one or just too harsh for you and your skin reacted badly to it? In any case, I agree. No need to splurge on something that gets washed off.

Janessa January 11, 2013 - 3:54 am

I have a white tea cleanser that came in a boxed set and I thought, “What a waste of good ingredients!” Especially jar packaging. I finished my vitamin-C-in-a-jar-that-was-only-potent-for-a-few-weeks (the jar was clear and had an opaque sticker on it. Albeit the bad packaging, I tried to prolong its life by storing it in a dark place.

I love your blog, I’ve learned so much!

beautifulwithbrains January 11, 2013 - 8:19 pm

Janessa, that’s a waste of good ingredients indeed. What a shame! I don’t understand why brands create good formula only to let them go bad like that….


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