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Dermatology Glossary


Potential Irritants

Cleanser tolerance is an issue for people with skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, acne, psoriasis, skin rashes and sensitive skin. Although liquid facial cleansers are formulated to be less irritating to the skin, some ingredients may disrupt the skin barrier or cause sensitivity.

Generally, surfactants, fragrances and preservatives are the primary sources of skin irritations. Anionic surfactants (containing carboxylate, sulfonate and sulfate ions - "sodium-based") are potent irritants.

Look for fragrance-free liquid facial cleansers with a moisturizing mixture of emollients and humectants to help restore the moisture skin barrier and limit any disruption caused by the surfactant. Emollients impair evaporation of skin moisture by forming a film on the skin surface to prevent water loss and humectants attract and bind water. Together, these moisturizers maintain skin hydration as well as the skin barrier.