Yes, It Matters Which Cleanser You Use — And This Peter Thomas Roth Formula Is Worth the Hype

Speaking as a 25-year-old living in New York City, I’ve found that there are two unwavering truths regarding my skin. Firstly, smog, sweat, and too-few hours asleep leave my face grimy and peaked more often than not. The disconcerting second is that my skin is becoming less resilient from now on (science says I’m losing around one percent of collagen per year in my mid-twenties). 

As a result, I’ve started sniffing out harder-working skincare products since the moment I extinguished the candles on my 25th birthday cake. That includes oils spiked with retinol, lotions starring lactic acid, and so on. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized the importance of finding a standup cleanser. To be honest, I simply used to use whichever face wash my boyfriend had most recently left at the sink. But cleansers count; they are skincare and arguably as important as moisturizer — and heaven knows I’d never have such a laissez-faire approach to choosing one of those.

All of this to say: I’ve discovered the PeterThomasRoth® Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel ($23). The product isn’t particularly new; in fact, it’s an steadfast skincare staple for many. You’ve probably seen it around — a tall, transparent bottle filled with orange fluid and flanked with clinical white lettering spelling out refreshingly straightforward ingredients.

I can’t say whether this cleanser has staved off fine lines yet, but I can say it contains the right components to do so. Specifically, one percent salicylic acid, one percent glycolic acid, and a mélange of skin-brightening citrus fruits to deliver the ultimate, gentle-yet-satisfying dose of daily exfoliation. In turn, the formula helps to speed cell turnover, which slows down with age. (Read more about exfoliation, here.) Add in a dash of calming amino acids for good measure, and you’ve got yourself an all-star, anti-aging cleanser that’s suitable for all skin types. (It’s also oil-free, if you’re concerned about that.)

Moreover, the formula is a joy to use. Not only does its tangerine tint brighten up my medicine cabinet, but it has a sunny scent to match — almost like an orange creamsicle, if orange creamsicles were muddled with skin-loving goodness. I like to wet my face, apply a dime-sized amount on my fingertips, and massage until it lathers gently.

This stuff plows through the layers of foundation, blush, highlighter, dirt, and sweat that I accumulate throughout the day. Post-use, I can run a cotton ball over my face without picking up a trace of old makeup (which is not the case with all cleansers). My skin looks significantly fresher after a single use, as if I’ve just woken up from a napping in a hammock.

If your skin veers dry, I would advise using once per day (instead of twice), as it can be a little drying on more sensitive complexions. However, I haven’t experienced any flaking of my usually-tight skin. Of course, following up with a rich moisturizer and sunscreen is crucial too, especially since this product contains potentially-sensitizing acids.

Whether you’re 25 or 75, trying to prevent fine lines, soften the appearance of sun damage, or keep your face sparklingly clean, I would recommend this cleanser. It’s a cult classic for a reason (or many reasons!), after all.

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Products may have been gifted to the author for the purpose of writing this article.