Although what goes into a beauty routine continues to be widely discussed and debated, the core principle still remains that its ultimate purpose is to cleanse the face of excess oil, dirt and other impurities. With all the products that can be found on the market these days, it can be overwhelming to choose the right cleanser for your skin type, so I’ve compiled a list of the most common types of facial cleansers that can be found with their different purposes and forms. Scroll down to learn more about which cleanser suits you!

Cleanser Forms

Cleansers come in primarily three forms: foamy, oil and cream/lotion.


Foamy cleansers are liquid-based solutions that activate when lathered up with water, turning into a sudsy foam for gentle cleansing.


Oil-based cleansers and cleansing oils have recently gained an upsurge of popularity in the beauty market due to celebrity use of the deep cleansing method. Designed for oily skin types, oil cleansers slow down the production of oil. Oil-based cleansers work by massaging oil into the face and wiping it off with water, cotton pads or a wet cloth.


Cream cleansers are thicker cleansing solutions that usually consist of a combination of mineral oil, waxes, petrolatum and water. There are many different kinds of cream cleanser. Some need to be applied to wet skin, massaged into the face until it forms a lather and then rinsed off. Others, such as cold cream, simply need to be applied to the skin and allowed to sit for a period of time before being either wiped off or removed with water.

Cleanser Types

1) Mild cleansers

Mild cleansers are used to treat acne-prone skin or sensitive/dry skin. Cream cleansers like Cetaphil often fall into this category, as foam cleansers are considered to be too drying for sensitive skin. They are often non-comedogenic, oil-free and fragrance-free to prevent skin irritation and potential allergic reactions. The ingredients found mild cleansers can often be used on babies and children due to their soothing properties.

2) Exfoliating cleansers

Exfoliating cleansers are facial cleansers specially-designed to exfoliate the face and scrub away dead skin cells and other impurities. They are often cream cleansers like the Acymer Deep Cleansing Exfoliator that come equipped with small microbeads that scrub gently against the skin. Exfoliating cleansers should typically be used once or twice a week in order to avoid drying out the skin unless designed for daily use. They often contain natural ingredients that help soothe and rejuvenate the skin.

3) Combination skin cleansers

These are cleansers that are designed for facial skin types that are both dry and oily. They contain ingredients that maintain and correct pH balance within the facial tissue and prevent skin from accumulating excess oil and drying out.

4) Acne cleansers

These are cleansers that are designed specifically to combat acne. There are many different kinds of acne cleansers, and some treatments can contain antibiotics prescribed over-the-counter by dermatologists. Using an acne cleanser can be greatly beneficial towards preventing and diminishing facial acne, but using the cleanser for too much or too long a period can lead to resistance within the facial tissue.


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