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Clarisonic Cleanser

Clarisonic is a skincare product line meant to be combined with the Clarisonic Sonic brush for a deep clean. As advertisements put it, “healthy looking skin begins with Clarisonic.”

Clarisonic claims its cleanser packages remove makeup 6 times better than manual cleaning, leaves the skin feeling and looking smoother, and minimizes the appearance of visible pores.

Are the Clarisonic Cleansers the acne solution you’ve been looking for? I’ll analyze the 4 cleansers and the ingredients.

The Cleansers

The Clarisonic line has 4 different cleansers. I will go through each one and highlight the key ingredients.

Deep Pore Daily Cleanser

According to Clarisonic, this cleanser is “clinically proven to reduce the appearance of pores as it deeply cleans without stripping or drying the skin.”

The Deep Pore Daily Cleanser contains two active ingredients: a fruit acid trio and Japanese green tea.

Fruit acid is another name for glycolic acid and is used to treat acne, moisturize and remove dead skin cells, and improve acne scars. It is often used in skin peels in concentrations of 70% for extreme results. Home facial cleansers contain concentrations of 15% or less for milder results. [1]

In one study, researchers tested the effectiveness of a home acne cleansing product containing 15% glycolic acid on 40 women. Results showed the subjects had much brighter and lighter skin, as well as smaller pores. [2]

Japanese green tea soothes and protects skin, though there are very few studies on this effect.

One study I found showed green tea has skin-protective qualities. Subjects applied 1 mg/cm topical green tea to the face before UV exposure. Results showed lower levels of hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide. Green tea also inhibited UV induced infiltration of inflammatory cells. [3]

Who Should Use the Deep Pore Daily Cleanser?

This facial cleanser is best for those with enlarged pores and oily skin. It is meant to be used with the Sonic brush.

To use, wet face and brush with warm water and apply cleanser to the brush head. Select the desired speed on the brush and start with the forehead before moving over the skin, following T-TIMER prompts and avoiding the eyes. Then, rinse face.

Acne Daily Clarifying Cleanser

According to Clarisonic, this cleanser “helps clear and prevent new acne blemishes from forming…helps reduce the appearance of redness and leaves skin feeling soft and smooth.”
The Acne Daily Clarifying Cleanser contains three active ingredients: Nelumbo nucifera flower extract, vitamin C, and Japanese green tea.

The nelumbo nucifera flower is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. There are currently no human studies testing the nelumbo nucifera flower. [4]

In one in vitro study, 14.21 mg nelumbo nucifera extract showed extremely high antioxidant and antibacterial qualities. [5]
While this is promising, it’s hard to tell if nelumbo nucifera is effective when applied to skin.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects the skin against damaging free radicals. It also forms collagen, which keeps skin looking younger by preventing wrinkles. Experts suggest getting 500 mg daily to see these benefits. [6]

Who Should Use the Acne Daily Clarifying Cleanser

This facial cleanser is best for those with acne-prone skin. It can be used manually or with the acne cleaning brush head or the Sonic brush. If applying manually, scrub gently.

Gentle Hydro Cleanser

According to Clarisonic, this cleanser is a “sensitive skin cleanser…that removes impurities while soothing and comforting.”

The Gentle Hydro Cleanser contains three active ingredients: surcrose cocoate, algae & aloe vera gel, and vitamin E & Japanese green tea.

Surcrose Cocoate is a mixture of sucrose and coconut derivatives that supposedly cleanses sensitive skin. However, I was unable to find any studies demonstrating these benefits.

I did find studies suggesting surcrose cocoate functions as an absorbing agent, allowing other drugs to better permeate the skin. [7]

Algae & Aloe Vera Gel are natural ingredients with skin protective benefits. Animals being treated with 3-6 g of brown algae experienced a significant reduction in UVB-induced oxidative stress, inflammation, and cell proliferation in the skin. [8]

Aloe vera is mainly used for its soothing and cooling effect, but it also has protective benefits. Animal studies show aloe protects against radiation damage. [9] In humans, aloe significantly improves dry, rough skin; subjects reported a 90%-100% improvement. [10]

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant needed for healthy skin. However, experts say topical use may irritate skin. [11]

Animal studies show 1% vitamin E protects against UV rays but is especially effective when combined with vitamin C. [12]

However, human studies found vitamin E had no effect on oxidative stress or photoprotection. [13]

Who Should Use the Gentle Hydro Cleanser?

This cleanser is meant for those with sensitive skin. It can be used manually or with the Sonic brush.

Refreshing Gel Cleanser

According to Clarisonic, this cleanser “gently balances and clarifies to relieve and protect oily, congested skin & pores.”

This formula features salicylic acid and fruit acid.

Salicylic Acid is commonly used to treat acne. Studies show concentrations as low as 0.5% and 2% significantly reduce the number of primary lesions associated with acne. [14]

Who Should Use the Refreshing Gel Cleanser?

This cleanser is meant for oily skin and is best used with the deep pore cleansing brush head for the Sonic brush.

Side Effects

Only a few ingredients in the 4 cleansers have side effects.

Salicylic acid is not considered safe for the face. It may cause skin redness, ulcers, and infection. [12]

Fruit acid may cause mild skin irritation, redness, swelling, itching, and skin discoloration. [1]

Aloe Vera may cause burning and itchy skin. [15]

Purchasing Packages

You can buy these cleansers on for $25-$27. The cleansers are all meant to be used with the Clarisonic Sonic brush, an electric device that scrubs effectively and gently.
On, you can purchase cleansers alone or grouped with brushes and brush heads. Some cleansers have recommended brushes for best results. The brushes come in a variety of colors. You can shop around on the website to find the best package for your needs.

Clarisonic also offers a 90-day, 100% money-back guarantee for all its products.

Customer Reviews groups all customer reviews together instead of separating them by product. Here is a sampling to give you a feeling for Clarisonic’s product effectiveness:

“It works SOOO well. The thickness of the cleanser is perfect to use with the Clarisonic, as it adheres well to my skin and doesn’t drip into my eyes or foam into my mouth. (It has a very low amount of foam in fact.) My skin is left totally clean, smooth and very soft – not irritated or red at all. I’ve noticed a decrease in new blemishes and old ones are healing up nicely. I would give it 5 stars if the smell weren’t so awful.” –Blondie8

“At first the product made me beak out for weaks,but I realized that I had used too much when starting to use the product, and had not let my skin ease into a new routine. It didn’t really help my oily skin, but it did a good cleansing gob, so give it a try.” –MitziDae

“I saw this product online and decided to give it a try. I have acne prone skin and was looking for a new product to assist with batteling breakouts. The price was a little steep…but I don’t mind paying the price for a great product. To my disappointment I saw NO results. For $40 a bottle…it does not work any better than $5 a bottle products I have tried. Plus..the smell was horrible. I wish I could be one of the ones who loved this product..but it did nothing for my skin. I will be returning this product. The plus side is Clarisonic offers a guarentee on all it’s products!” –Genie

My Opinon on the Clarisonic Cleansers

Customer reviews suggest Clarisonic Cleansers work for some users. Though weak, the science backing the ingredients suggests most of the cleansers are mildly effective.

Of course, the 100% money-back guarantee is reassuring. Because it seems to work for some customers, I’d say it’s worth a try.


[1] “ALPHA HYDROXY ACIDS.” WebMD, n.d. Web. 22 July 2013. [2] WANG, CHUN-MIN, CHUNG-LI HUANG, CHIEN-TING SINDY HU, and HENG-LEONG CHAN. “The Effect of Glycolic Acid on the Treatment of Acne in Asian Skin.” Dermatologic Surgery (1997). Web. 22 July 2013.

[3] Katiyar, Santosh K., Farrukh Afaq, Anaibelith Perez, and Hasan Mukhtar. “Green tea polyphenol (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate treatment of human skin inhibits ultraviolet radiation-induced oxidative stress.” Carcinogenesis . Web. 22 July 2013. [4] “Nelumbo Nucifera.” examine, n.d. Web. 22 July 2013. [5] Venkatesh, Brindha, and Arthi Dorai. “Antibacterial and Antioxidant potential of White and Pink Nelumbo Nucifera Gaertn Flowers.” International Conference on Bioscience, Biochemistry and Bioinformatics (2011). Web. 22 July 2013. [6] Zelman, Kathleen M. “The Benefits of Vitamin C.” WebMD . Web. 22 July 2013. [7] Tavano, Lorena, Rita Muzzalupo, Roberta Cassano, Sonia Trombino, and Teresa Ferrarelli. “New sucrose cocoate based vesicles: Preparation characterization and skin permeation studies.” Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces . Web. 22 July 2013. [8] Roberts, , and Travis. “Acemannan-containing wound dressing gel reduces radiation-induced skin reactions in C3H mice.” Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. . Web. 22 July 2013. [9] Hwang, Hyejeong, Tong Chen, Ronald G. Nines, Hyeon-Cheol Shin, and Gary D. Stoner. “Photochemoprevention of UVB-induced skin carcinogenesis in SKH-1 mice by brown algae polyphenols.” International Journal of Cancer . Web. 22 July 2013. [10] West, , and Zhu. “Evaluation of aloe vera gel gloves in the treatment of dry skin associated with occupational exposure.” Am J Infect Control. (2003). Web. 22 July 2013. [11] “Vitamins and Supplements Lifestyle Guide.” WebMD . Web. 22 July 2013. [12] Lin, Jing-Yi, Angelica Selim, Christopher R. Shea, James M. Grichnik, and Mostafa M. Omar. “UV photoprotection by combination topical antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology . Web. 22 July 2013. [13] McArdle, Frank, Lesley E. Rhodes, Richard A. Parslew, Graeme L. Close, and Catherine I. Jack. “Effects of oral vitamin E and ?-carotene supplementation on ultraviolet radiation–induced oxidative stress in human skin.” Am J Clin Nutr (2004). Web. 22 July 2013. [14] Zander, , and Weisman. “Treatment of acne vulgaris with salicylic acid pads.” Clin Ther. (1992). Web. 22 July 2013. [15] “ALOE.” WebMD, n.d. Web. 22 July 2013.

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