This Neutrogena Salicylic Acid Cleanser Saved My Skin from Large Pores and Breakouts

Shout out to the Neutrogena Stubborn Texture Daily Cleanser.

woman washing her face inside frame with bumpy background
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Do you ever have those moments when your skin is just feeling, well, meh? It isn't experiencing any major issues, but it definitely isn't giving off #skincaregoals. I was recently stuck in this type of rut, going through a long period of my skin not looking or feeling its best. Small breakouts covered my T-zone area, the cold winter air mixed with the artificial heat in my apartment left my skin looking dull, and the visibly large pores on my nose that I deal with year-round were more noticeable than usual.

Despite trying a range of different serums, toners, and masks in an attempt to shrink the look of my pores and boost radiance, my skin wasn't bouncing back in the way I've seen it rebound before. After three weeks of giving my best effort, I found the answer to my problem unintentionally. While sleeping over at a friend's house and (in hindsight, conveniently) forgetting my cleanser, I borrowed the Neutrogena Stubborn Texture Daily Cleanser (Buy It, $15, and almost immediately noticed a difference in my complexion. I applied the clear jelly-like formula onto my hands and rubbed them together to create a foaming consistency before applying it all over my face. After rinsing away the formula, at first, I thought it was a basic cleanser that got the job done. It wasn't until I towel-dried my face and looked closely into the mirror that I saw a noticeable difference in the size of my pores.

The cleanser touts a range of benefits, including reducing acne and visibly smoothing uneven skin texture. It's an oil-free, fragrance-free formula that combines salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid), glycolic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid), and gluconolactone (a polyhydroxy acid), to chemically exfoliate dead skin cells and unveil a smoother, brighter, softer, and more even-looking complexion. Admittedly, I was worried at first that the mix of an AHA, BHA, and PHA in one formula would dry my skin out. Instead, however, my skin felt deeply clean and refreshed without feeling stripped of moisture.


Buy It: Neutrogena Stubborn Texture Daily Cleanser, $15,

As you might've already guessed by the combo of acids, the formula is recommended for oily and acne-prone skin types. While I don't typically struggle with chronic acne, I do have combination skin (an oily T-zone and normal skin everywhere else), and this formula has offered my skin the exfoliation it needed to smooth out stubborn texture and clear those random breakouts around my chin, nose, and forehead.

After using the formula nightly for almost a month, I still see the same results after every use in the size of my pores. Over time, my skin has gotten significantly softer, more even in tone, and glowy in appearance. When I recently went to get a facial for the first time in months, before starting the treatment, the esthetician even asked me if I recently got a chemical peel because my skin looked so smooth and radiant, to which I replied, "no, I just washed my face right before this." Evidently, the results aren't all in my head.

It's worth noting that I follow a pretty religious skin-care routine (think: cleanser, toner, serum, and SPF in the mornings) that I'm sure has also contributed to my skin's appearance; It takes a village. However, I definitely think the major shift happened the moment I started using this cleanser. If you too are struggling with skin that could use a refresh, take it from me: This cleanser is worth checking out.

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