not a professional. just crazy.

The Acne-Fighting Cleanser That Doesn’t Make My Skin Flake Off

Rio Viera-Newton holding her Dr. Loretta cleanser.
Rio and her Dr. Loretta cleanser. Photo: Rio Viera-Newton

When it comes to cleansers, I’ve always been partial to cleansing milks. They’re gentle, moisturizing, and perfect for my very dry, very sensitive, and very acne-prone skin. But recently, I dealt with some difficult breakouts. Namely, a handful of hormonal blemishes on my chin that just kept coming back, no matter how much P50 I applied.

I decided to shake up my routine and try a new cleanser to help with acne prevention around my time of the month, when hormones act up. While perusing Dermstore, I found the Dr. Loretta Micro Exfoliant Cleanser. It contains 2 percent salicylic acid, which is a widely used and known acne fighter; one percent cold pressed, extra-virgin coconut oil, for antioxidant, antibacterial, and hydrating benefit; plus glycolipids, lecithin, and linoleic and linolenic acids, all of which trap moisture into your skin’s surface. Acne-fighting cleansers are usually so drying that they make me nervous, but the combination of moisture-retaining ingredients in this one intrigued me. I pressed buy.

Dr. Loretta Micro-Exfoliating Cleanser
Photo: Michael Crichton + Leigh MacMillan/Copyright 2017 Michael Crichton
Dr. Loretta Micro-Exfoliating Cleanser
$35 at Dermstore

I’ve been using this product for a little over two months now, and I’m happy to report that it is phenomenal. I don’t use it every day (for that, I’d recommend Dr. Loretta’s gentle hydrating cleanser, which is my other new obsession), but when I feel zits brewing, and in the days before I expect my period, I use it every evening. In the mornings after I use it, I find that I wake up with smoother, brighter, and less inflamed skin. And if I happen to get a gnarly lump of a zit, cleansing with this product and then slapping on a pimple patch on top is truly, in my opinion, the best spot treatment in existence.

Other Rio-approved cleansers

Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm
$14 at Amazon

Rio loves this vitamin E–rich Clean It Zero cleanser. “I love the smooth texture of this product, and the vitamin E does truly wonderful things for my skin. It leaves it soft and supple every time.”

Japanfusion Pure Transforming Cleansers
$35 at Beauty Pie

This Beauty Pie cleanser is her other go-to. “I have supersensitive, dry, breakout-prone skin,” she says. “Gel cleansers tend to dry me out, while oils tend to not hydrate enough. So I typically gravitate toward standard cleansing milks. But about 100 different people told me that this cleanser was unique, life-changing, and nourishing. I was intrigued, but not sold. Then Jen Goldstein from the Fat Mascara beauty blog brought the product up on her podcast and said, ‘It’s kind of like washing your face with a moisturizer — in a good way.’ Needless to say, within 24 hours I was lathering it all over my face. It goes on like a balm, then as you rub it, it becomes an oil, and then when you add water, it turns into a milk. It has truly done incredible things for my skin.”

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The Anti-Acne Cleanser That Doesn’t Make My Skin Flake Off