Facial cleanliness is a given for having clear skin, however using a good cleanser alone is not enough to achieve optimal skin health and clarity. Cleansers only remove topical impurities such as dirt and oil, which is important, however it’s necessary to also use a disinfectant to remove bacteria which accelerate breakouts and acne formation. In addition, if you have undergone any kind of procedure, a disinfectant is crucial to avoid infection or permanent scarring and other complications.

There are various types of disinfectants available and like any skincare product, they range from aggressive to mild, so it is important to know the advantages of each, as well as the disadvantages, to know which is best suited for your skin type.

Some of the more popular skin disinfectants are alcohol-based, such as over-the-counter ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol, as well as chlorhexidine gluconate. While these are effective in sterilizing the skin, they are quite harsh and can have adverse effects on sensitive skin. Natural products like tea tree oil, grapeseed oil, and witch hazel are milder and deliver excellent disinfecting results.

Here we breakdown the benefits and downsides of these typical disinfectants from strongest to weakest:

Ethyl & isopropyl alcohol
Pro: Kills acne-causing bacteria and degreases skin which provides instant gratification, but it too strong for topical skincare use and not recommended
Con: Dryness, redness, irritation, strips skin’s protective barrier causing your skin to over-produce oil which can lead to breakouts

Chlorhexidine gluconate
Pro: Widely used to combat bacteria and infection
Con: Stinging, irritation dangerous if it gets in the eyes or ears

Tea tree oil
Pro: Wound-healing, reduces recovery time after invasive procedure, antimicrobial and antiviral
Con: Stinging, burning for sensitive skin

Grapeseed oil
Pro: Tightens pores, moisturizes the skin, reduces inflammation
Con: Not ideal for oily skin, as it can clog pores further

Witch hazel
Pro: Suppresses erythema (redness/irritation), reduces inflammation, gentle
Con: Very mild, not suited for acne or after invasive procedures

A downside to the above products is that because they are so skin type-specific, there is a huge margin for error when selecting the right one for your clients – it may be too harsh and cause more damage than you had to begin with, or it might be too mild and not effective in eliminating harmful bacteria. CliniPrep™, on the other hand, takes the guess-work out of the equation because it is compatible with all skin types.

CliniPrep™ is an ideal disinfectant because it is non-cytotoxic to re-growing skin. It kills bacteria and pathogens that inhibit skin recovery and counteracts infection but does not interfere with cell regrowth, allowing your optimal results to shine through while keeping your skin healthy.