Neutrogena Healthy Skin Cleanser Review

Any acne sufferer who is older than the age of 30 gets excited when a product promises to help fight blemishes and wrinkles. That's how Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Cleanser made it in to my cart in the first place.

As an acne treatment, it won't clear up anything more than just the minor blemishes and blackheads.  It contains 0.5% salicylic acid, a rather weak acne treatment that isn't going to be effective against moderate to severe acne at all.

But, for keeping the pores clear and reducing the occasional breakout, or for an oil-reducing cleanser paired with your stronger acne medication (with your doctor's OK of course) this is a nice and inexpensive option.

I tend to prefer foaming cleansers, so I was pleased that this products does actually bubble up (so many cleansers aimed at adult acne sufferers tend to be nonfoaming creams). I liked that it didn't have any scrubbing granules, or "microbeads," as the skin care world likes to call them. Just a smooth, creamy lather.

It does take a fair bit of emulsifying between the hands to really get that lather going, though, so be patient.

A big plus is that this cleanser contains glycolic acid, in addition to the salicylic acid. Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid, commonly used in anti-aging treatments. It helps slough away skin cells revealing the soft, smooth skin underneath.

I found that unless I was careful, it was easy to squeeze too much from the tube. You don't need much of this cleanser, a little really goes a long way. The gel-like consistency, which I otherwise really liked, made the cleanser easy to slide off the fingers and down the drain. Personally, I think it would be easier if this product were packaged in a pump bottle instead of a tube.

Another factor that detracted from the overall quality of this cleanser was that it was hard to rinse. Despite what it says on the packaging, it felt like it left a film on the skin unless rinsed really, really well.

I think adult acne sufferers will really like this product, provided their skin is relatively oily. Those with drier skin types may want to stick with a cleansing cream instead.  At less than $10 a tube, though, this is a nice and fairly gentle salicylic acid cleanser.


  • Creamy, foamy lather
  • Very light, clean smell that's not overpowering.
  • Contains both an acne-fighting ingredient plus alpha hydroxy acids


  • Doesn't rinse away very easily
  • It's a little slow to lather.

The Bottom Line

A nice foaming cleanser that adults with fairly oily skin will probably like. It's a good choice for those whose skin can't handle stronger salicylic acid cleansers.

Don't expect it to clear up anything more than just minor blemishes, though.  For that, you'd be better off with an over-the-counter acne product with stronger acne-fighting ingredients or, even better, a prescription acne medication.

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