Role of mild cleansing in the management of patient skin

Dermatol Ther. 2004:17 Suppl 1:26-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1396-0296.2004.04s1003.x.


Routine everyday care of skin is an essential part of optimal patient management. Common problems such as xerosis, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, and photodamage leave the skin vulnerable to external insults, partly as a result of varying levels of barrier dysfunction. Cosmetic surgery procedures also typically damage the stratum corneum (SC) and leave skin with a very weak barrier during recovery phase. Cleansing is an important aspect of any skin care, since it not only removes unwanted dirt, soil, and bacteria from skin, but also removes dead surface cells, preparing skin to better absorb topically applied drugs/medication. Care must be taken to minimize any further weakening of the SC barrier during cleansing. Cleansers based on mild synthetic surfactants and/or emollients that cause minimal barrier perturbation are ideal for these patients. The present paper is a brief review of four clinical trials that evaluated the efficacy and compatibility of either mild syndet bars or cleansers in patients with atopic dermatitis, acne, rosacea, or patients who had received chemical peels or Retin-A(R) (tretinoin) treatment for sustained photodamage.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / drug therapy
  • Detergents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxy Acids / therapeutic use
  • Rosacea / drug therapy
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Skin Care / methods*
  • Skin Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Surface-Active Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Tretinoin / therapeutic use


  • Detergents
  • Hydroxy Acids
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Tretinoin