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This $9 Dermatologist-Approved Face Wash Saved My Skin

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One night this past winter, after a glass of wine and one too many episodes of Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up, I realized that my beauty obsession might be getting a little out of hand. The doors of my vanity could barely close, products were constantly falling out, and I just couldn’t keep track of it all. So, I decided to get rid of any products that didn’t “spark joy,” which translated to keeping only the ones I knew actually worked. By the end of my purge, however, I came to the sad realization that out of all those products, I didn’t have a single face wash I could rely on — something one look at my dry, rosacea-inflamed face would confirm. 

Like many women, I’ve always had a fairly complicated relationship with my skin. From my adolescent acne to my life-long ordeal with keratosis pilaris, also known as ‘chicken skin’, I’ve seen the inside of a dermatologist’s office more times than I care to admit. And yet, I still hadn’t stumbled upon a face wash that truly worked. Naturally, I did what many women do when it comes to beauty advice: I turned to my mother. She immediately recommended Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser ($8.99, Amazon)

Now, as someone with sensitive skin, the first thing I do when shopping for skincare is to read the ingredient list with the same intensity as I would a good book. I know what’s not included in a product’s ingredient is every bit as important as what is. Needless to say, I was overjoyed to discover that Vanicream is formulated without any fragrances, dyes, parabens, formaldehydes, lanolin, oils, sulfates, or gluten. In fact, I immediately clicked “add to cart.” 

After about two weeks use, I began to notice a dramatic difference in my skin. My rosacea had significantly calmed down, my dry patches had vanished, and my face was the softest it had ever felt. I couldn’t believe the change. Why was this seemingly simple cleanser so effective? I reached out to a few dermatologists to find out. 

“I recommend Vanicream’s Gentle Facial Cleanser for many of my patients with sensitive skin, eczema, or allergies,” said Manhattan dermatologist Dendy Englemen, MD. “It’s gentle formula provides thorough cleansing without the worry of irritation or skin reactions that many traditional cleansers can cause.”

Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD, NYC-based dermatologist, and founder of Entiere Dermatology, echoed Englemen’s sentiment. “I see many patients with inflammatory dermatoses such as eczema, psoriasis, perioral dermatitis, acne, and rosacea,” she says. “One of my go-to recommended facial cleansers for sensitive skin or those prone to eczema and contact dermatitis is Vanicream Cleanser.” 

These days, I cleanse with Vanicream every evening (I like to use a cleansing water in the mornings) and my skin now feels balanced, calm, and clear. With its simple, scientific formulation, and proven results, it’s easy to see why this cleanser is dermatologist-recommended and mom-approved!  

Where to buy: $8.99, Amazon

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