Cleansing Creams 101

Pros and Cons of Cleansing Cream

Though cleansing creams might be the right choice in skin care for some, others may prefer soap, liquid cleansers or other types of face wash, depending on their skin type.

One advantage of cleansing creams across all skin types is that they are good for removing makeup [source: Draelos]. They're gentler than soap and lighter than cold creams, which often include borax, so they're usually great for people with dry or sensitive skin.

On the other hand, cleansing creams aren't great for people with oily skin, because they might leave behind a residue on the skin that leaves you feeling just as greasy as you did before you washed. Some skin care experts may recommend following up with either a mild soap or astringent to remove the film.

And even though cleansing creams are gentle, people with sensitive skin might still be allergic to some of the ingredients, such as preservatives, fragrances, emollients and the rosin that holds the cream together.

If you're not sure which skin type you are, or even if you just haven't found a cleanser you like, you might need to experiment with different brands until you find one that works for you and your skin type. For even more information on cleansing creams and how to find the right one, continue on to the next page.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Alpert, Arlene and Margrit Altenburg. Milady's Standard Cosmetology. Thomson Publishing, 2002. (Accessed 9/17/09)
  • American Academy of Dermatology. "Dry Skin and Keratosis Pilaris." (Accessed 08/21/09).
  • Draelos, Zoe Diana, M.D. "Reexamining Methods of Facial Cleansing." Cosmetic Dermatology; Vol. 18, No. 2. February 2005. (Accessed 9/17/09)
  • Draelos, Zoe Diana, M.D. "Skin and Hair Cleansers." eMedicine from WebMD. May 14, 2009. (Accessed 9/17/2009)
  • MayoClinic. "Dry Skin." Nov. 26, 2008. (Accessed 08/21/09).
  • MayoClinic. "Skin Care: Top 5 Habits for Healthy Skin." Dec. 28, 2007. (Accessed 08/21/09).
  • New Zealand Dermatological Society. "Soaps and Cleansers." June 15, 2009. (Accessed 08/21/09).
  • P&G Beauty and Grooming. "Skin Cleansing." (Accessed 9/18/09)
  • Schoen, Linda Allen; and Paul Lazar. The Look You Like: Medical Answers to 400 Questions on Skin and Hair Care. American Academy of Dermatology. Oct. 1, 1989. (Accessed 08/21/09).
  • "Cleansers for Various Skin Types." April 1, 2008. (Accessed 08/21/09).
  • "Skin Cleansers - An Overview on Soap." April 1, 2008. (Accessed 08/21/09).
  • The Soap and Detergent Association. "Soap Chemistry." (Accessed 9/18/09)
  • WebMD. "Skin Conditions: Cysts, Lumps and Bumps." March 1, 2007. (Accessed 08/21/09).