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Thumbnail for Derms sing the praises of this $8 drugstore cleanser for clearer skin
Photo: Getty Images/Tom Merton

Whether you’re trying to clear up acne or increase your glow (or some combination of the two), any true skin-care aficionado knows that layering on actives is the way to get the job done. From retinol to alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, these are the ingredients in your various creams, masks, and lotions that actually work to make a difference in your skin. But if you, like me, are regularly relying on an entire shelf full of high-powered serums to help deal with your skin concerns on a given day, you know that mixing and matching can sometimes get a little intense.

The solution, according to dermatologist Annie Chiu, MD? Use the right cleanser. And the “right cleanser” for actives enthusiasts, she says, is Burt’s Bee’s Sensitive Facial Cleanser—which happens to retail for only $8, and is readily available in your local drugstore aisle. Cha-ching!

“Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser recently showed proven gentleness along with improved clarity even on easily irritated skin types like rosacea or eczema skin,” she says, referring to a 2018 study from the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. “I recommend using it to restore the natural skin health barrier if you are using actives like retinols or hydroxy acids that can be irritating to the skin so you may better tolerate more concentrated anti-aging or exfoliating products.”

Retinols and AHAs are known to cause redness and irritation, especially for anyone with sensitive skin, so pairing it with something soothing is the trick for avoiding a reaction. In addition to using this particular cleanser, you can also help your skin be more retinol- and AHA-ready by doubling them up (on different nights, please) with another hydrating active like hyaluronic acid or marula oil. So, when it comes to those harsh actives that we all know and love (but can admittedly sometimes screw us over with a rash or redness reaction) the rule of thumb should be to look for something soothing, and stock up on that $7 cleanser for good measure.