When I first took Ro-Accutane as an undergraduate student in Paris, my (absolutely wonderful, bless him) dermatologist advised me to stop using skin care products that were marketed at oily, blemished, acne-prone skin. He suggested, instead, that I go for a brand that caters to oily and acne-prone sensitive skin, and the brand that he asked me to hunt down was Avene. That, my friends, is how I came to know and dearly appreciate Avene’s Cleanance Soap-Free Gel Cleanser.

Photo courtesy of aveneusa.com

As I am back on Ro-Accutane and running out of my Clinique Liquid Facial Soap (Oily) (to be reviewed at a later stage), I thought I would return to a product that was truly a lifesaver during those difficult days of my first Ro-Accutane experience.  I’ll tell you why after the jump!

When I first began taking Ro-Accutane, my skin was in terrible shape. I look back at photographs and shudder at the traffic-light redness, the pustules, the open pores, the blackheads, whiteheads, you name it. At times, even touching my face hurt because of the inflammation underneath the skin. On top of that, my skin was sensitive to changes in humidity and sunlight, which complicated matters even further (Ro-Acc has a tendency to amplify these sensitivities, especially to sunlight).

Luckily, my dermatologist prescribed me a very small daily dose of Ro-Acc (20mg/day) to start, alongside a couple of Avene products: Avene Cleanance Tinted Emulsion to help me cope with redness and uneven skin tone, and Avene Cleanance Soap-Free Gel Cleanser to be used twice a day.

From the get-go, I knew I had found a cleanser for all seasons with Cleanance Gel. All you need is a pea-sized amount of this consistent blue-green fluid to gently and easily cleanse your face. It lathers up just a little thanks to its naturally-derived sodium lauroyl sarcosinate content, but don’t expect voluminous amounts of foam because this cleanser is 100% sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)-free 🙂

Just a quick note: studies have shown that SLS (which is a synthetically produced chemical compound) does cause a degree of irritation of skin in young adults, and can worsen skin sensitivity. So sensitive-skinned ladies, do avoid products containing SLS if and where possible!

I always found that after cleansing, my skin did not have that squeaky clean feel that comes with many oil-control cleansers. Instead, my skin always felt comfortable, soothed and clean without having been stripped of any natural moisture barriers.

This cleanser treated my skin with great care during the six-month period where I was progressively taking higher and higher doses of Ro-Acc. Not once did I run into any skin irritation, blotchiness, dryness, tightness, excessive oiliness, peeling or flaking with consistent twice-daily use. Also, did I mention that this cleanser, like all Avene products, smells amazing?Fresh, green and clean would be the three words I would use to describe the scent – you’ll understand what I mean if you’ve ever tried it!

In fact, I continued using this cleanser long after my first round of Ro-Acc days until switching to Clinique’s Three-Step about a year later. And to be frank, I’m quite delighted to be returning to a product that has always served me so well.

A 200ml bottle of Cleanance Gel Cleanser retails at about SGD 30.50 at most pharmacies that carry the Avene range of products. I purchased my bottle from Guardian during a promotional period for SGD 24.40 (20% off). It’s worth keeping your eye out for these deals, which I notice are becoming more and more frequent for French drugstore brands including Vichy, ROC and Uriage.

With or without discount, I think this is pretty reasonable for a 200ml bottle of cleanser, especially one that lasts as long as it does. For comparison’s sake, a 200ml bottle of Clinique Liquid Facial Soap retails here for SGD 35.00 and I would say that they both go a similarly long way.

PS: For those of you girls interested in the ingredient list, here it is!

Avene Thermal Spring Water (Avene Aqua), Water, Decyl Glucoside, Polysorbate 20, Ceteareth-60 Myristyl Glycol, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Methyl Gluceth-20, Benzoic Acid, Cetrimonium Bromide, Cucurbita Pepo (pumpkin) Seed Oil, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Green 5, Lactic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 5, Zinc Gluconate

11 thoughts on “Review: Avene Cleanance Soap-Free Gel Cleanser

    • Hey Rinnah! I feel the Avene love 🙂 I wish they didn’t mark up the prices quite as much in Asia though. Apparently a bottle of this stuff only costs GBP 8.00, which is expensive by their standards!

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  4. Who is/was your dermatologist in Paris? I am living there now and looking for someone great to help me with my skin too!


    • Hi Liz, his name was Dr Marc Kojfer. He’s at 64 rue de Rennes, unless he’s moved elsewhere 🙂 He’s a very nice guy. Good luck! Let me know how it goes if you do see him!

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