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What is in cleansing creams?

James M.. Wilmott
Dermatology

There are two types of products on the market that make the claim that they are cleansing creams because their textures are thicker and more like a" cream" consistency.  However, these products are very different in the way they work.  One version contains one or more sodium or potassium soaps of myristic, palmitic or stearic acid.  Unfortunately, these systems have a high pH and are aggressive surfactants.  These are conditions that cause a disruption in the skin's natural lipid barrier and can dry out skin dramatically with continued use.  They can also disrupt cellular metabolism by denaturing enzymes and other proteins that enable it to function correctly.  The second type of cleansing cream is similar to Cold Creams that were used throughout the past  several hundred years.  They are typically based on an emulsifying system of beeswax and borax (sodium borate).  These systems emulsify an oil such as mineral oil or a natural oil which dissolves sebum and removes dirt.  They can be rinsed off or wiped off with a cotton pad or tissue.   Updated versions of oil-based cleansing creams are becoming more popular because they clean well without damaging the skin.

Cleansing cream, also known as cold cream, is usually made of a combination of mineral oil, petrolatum, water and waxes.  It can moisturize your skin and remove dirt, sweat, makeup at the same time. 
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

The key ingredients in cleansing creams, which are also known as cold creams, are usually petrolatum, mineral oil, waxes and water. Many cleansing creams also contain emulsifiers, which prevent the ingredients of the cream from separating into layers.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.