TL;DR: Good anti-bacterial cleanser; this stuff is truly worth giving a shot. For those with dry skins, make sure to pair this with a heavier moisturiser as it can be drying. If you have sensitive skin, please PATCH TEST FIRST.
- The anti-bacterial formula (also a con; see below). In a nutshell, this product contains triclosan, an anti-bacterial agent found in lots of other consumer products (soaps, detergent, toothpaste etc.). What sets Phisohex apart is that the formula has a higher concentration of triclosan in it: 1% (yes, a small percent, but that's as much as you can safely put into a consumer product). Triclosan inhibits fatty acid synthesis, inhibiting growth of bacteria on the skin.
While this product is not a skin panacea and will not work for everyone, this has been the only cleanser that I've witnessed having any positive effect on my hormonal cystic acne. Other cleansers that I've tried cleansed my skin quite well but have either done nothing to reduce acne, or have actually made my acne worse. Phisohex has been the only cleanser where I've actually noticed that my acne has reduced; it is no where near as severe as it was when I was still using my other gentle cleanser (Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser). That alone has convinced me to repurchase.
- The price point. Out of most other skin cleansers on the market (i.e. Benzac, Cetaphil, Neutrogena, Simple) this is one of the cheapest, especially when it comes to Australian prices. You don't need any prescription, nor do you need to get it over the counter from a pharmacist. It's on the shelf, and you can grab and buy it like any other regular skincare product. Useful for those who hate relying on scripts and doctor visits to get much needed products. You can grab a 200 mL bottle for $8-$9 or a 500 mL bottle for $17-$18 (the 500 mL bottle is BIG).
(Note: I've heard that this is different in North America (U.S.A. in particular); you MAY need a prescription to use Phisohex in the States. I'm not sure about Canada or Mexico).
- Scent and texture. Has a very mild medicinal scent, and has a creamy consistency. This is a low foaming cleanser which may be beneficial for those that are sensitive to foaming agents.
- Packaging. Comes in a convenient squeeze bottle that can purchased in a small or large size (200 mL or 500 mL).
- The formula. Triclosan is an effective anti-bacterial, but it can also cause contact dermatitis for people with sensitive skin or with prolonged exposure. It also contains a moderate amount of Benzyl Alcohol. This can be very irritating for those with sensitive skin and/or dry skin. I personally have dry skin and this hasn't affected me, but I do pair this with a heavier moisturiser to offset the dryness caused by the product. If you have sensitive skin, PLEASE PATCH TEST THIS PRODUCT FIRST (also advised by the company on the bottle).
- Dubious product instructions. On the back of the bottle, the company advises washing your hands with the product (which is wise; get rid of the bacteria on your hands before touching your face) and then washing and rinsing your face twice. This is to be done three...THREE times a day. Considering the heavy duty nature of the product, that is way too damn much even for people with the oiliest skins. Follow your own common sense and wash your face with this as much as you feel is needed. I wash mine once in the morning and once at night.
Overall, an extremely effective (for ME, personally) but otherwise heavy duty cleanser. I'd actually recommend trying some other cleansers before moving onto this one. Other than that, this is now my HG facial cleanser.