Just like how we tend to choose black or dark-coloured clothing when we feel slightly bloated or fatter than usual, we all have that one reliable cleanser that we keep on coming back to whenever our skin is not at its best. We use gentle cleansers on the daily but we always have that one “not-so-gentle” cleanser ready in the bathroom for those moments of our skin breaking out or feeling congested or oilier than usual or kinda dirty. As for me, it has always been the Cosrx Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser.
Growing up, my skin has always leaned towards the oily side up until I was in my early 30s ( I am 31 right now, by the way) in which my skin type has shifted to the combination type. I met Cosrx Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser way back when I was 28? 29? So yeah, my old oily skin used to love this cleanser.
“A Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser helps to reduce breakouts and promotes clear skin. Ideal for all skin types including sensitive. It gently removes impurities and excess sebum while fighting pimples and blemishes, leaving skin soft and smooth without the stripping feeling.”
Water, Glycerin, Myristic Acid, Stearic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Lauric Acid, Butylene Glycol, Glycol Distearate, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Salicylic Acid, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Melaleuca Alternigolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water, Saccharomyces Ferment, Cryptomeria Japonica Leaf Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Leaf Extract, Pinus Palustris Leaf Extract, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Flower Extract, Pueraria Lobata Root Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethyl Hexanediol, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA
Reasons Why This is My Bad Skin Day Saviour
It’s Salicylic Acid Formulation
When I struggled with acne and bumpy skin, I tried products with benzoyl peroxide but it got too drying for me, and then I got to know about salicylic acid and thankfully it has been a big big help to my then oily skin. However, not all cleansers with salicylic acid products are compatible with my skin. Some only showed little efficiency and some simply did not show improvements. Even though there are some views that say salicylic acid cleanser doesn’t really do much on the skin because it only sits on the skin for seconds, sixty seconds or a minute, at most. However for me, on days I get acne or my skin feels congested, this 0.5% salicylic acid formulation really seems to help clear my breakout by unclogging pores (more on this later) and dissolve excess oil away. This makes my skin a cleansed and polished canvas for acne (or other problems) treatment to take place and have optimised effect. Salicylic acid also chemically exfoliates skin both on the surface and in the pores so this really helps remove impurities and accumulated dead skin that caused my skin to feel congested or breaking out that day.
Tea Tree? Me likey!
Okay before anything I would like to emphasize on the concept of YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) here since not all ingredients react the same way to each and everyone’s skin. There are people (usually ones with dry skin) who cannot tolerate tea tree in skincare products but just so you know, I am not one of those people because with the right formulation, my skin reacts positively to it. Having said that, I also have days when my skin feels exceptionally dry so on those days, I tend to avoid products with tea tree because it can make my skin a tad bit drier.
This cleanser contains tea tree leaf oil. I really appreciate tea tree oil’s antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal effects when I have acne as it can prevent other unaffected areas from getting more and more acne. It also soothes existing acne as it has anti-inflammatory property.
Willow Bark Water? Wee wee wee!
Okay again, I would love to stress on the YMMV part because I understand that willow bark or salix alba bark is not for everyone. Heck, it’s not even for daily use for me. It only comes in handy when my skin is acting up. Okay so what’s the deal with willow bark, you may ask. Well willow bark is a wonderful acne fighting ingredient in my opinion. This is because as according to Munskin, it contains salicin —from which salicylic acid is derived—this versatile ingredient is both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, clearing pores and alleviating acne and irritation. Therefore, a cleanser with willow bark water (alongside salicylic acid) draws out impurities from pores to help tackle the congested feeling and preventing any pimples from getting worse.
Other than salicin, willow bark is also high in tannins that are very famous for their astringent properties. Astringent means:
they shrink or constrict body tissue, including the skin’s. Frequently used in toners and other skin care products, tannins tighten pores, making them appear smaller and less obvious; this helps the skin retain a firm, youthful look. Tannins also help control excess oil, which may alleviate acne.
This sorts of explain why I really enjoy cleansers and toners with astringent effect because they feel purifying and thoroughly cleansing as I prep my skin to be really clean and free from dirt and impurities and excess oil for my skin to fully absorb hydration and moisture from hydrating or moisturising essence or serum or ampoule before sealing it all off with a moisturiser.
Minimal Ingredients. Tick!
I love how this cleanser does not have a long list of ingredients, it is minimal, as according to skincarisma . This could be because Cosrx only wants to include really important ingredients and eliminating the unnecessary ones. Now why is minimal ingredients product the best for skin that is struggling with breakouts or blackheads or whiteheads or uncomfortable excess oil? Jennifer Chwalek, MD says that there are two reasons to it:
- “The more ingredients a product has, the greater likelihood that you may develop irritation or allergic contact dermatitis to one of the ingredients in the product.” Now we do not want that, do we? Let’s not add any more problems to the existing ones. We need to focus on tackling the issues at hand first.
- “As you increase the number of ingredients in a product, there’s a risk that the active ingredient becomes less bioactive.” This is kind of a given, isn’t it?
It is also worth mentioning that this cleanser is also free from alcohol, silicone, sulfate, paraben, and EU Allergen in case any of these is your concern.
It doesn’t Strip Off Moisture
Again, this is totally YMMV. On my combination skin (and my previous oily skin) this doesn’t give me taut or tight feeling after cleansing. There is no squeaky clean feeling that leads to drying and subsequently damaging my skin barrier. However, bear in mind that this cleanser’s pH level is 9.00~9.50 pH so it is alkaline so to some skin, it can mess with the skin barrier hence the reason I only reach for this during problematic skin day and not every day of the week.