Mo muses… I just came across this cleanser & moisturizer by Sebamed called “ Clear Face.” The cleanser claims to kill bacteria from 100,000 to Zero in 5 minutes. Is this good for Rosacea ?
The Right Brain responds:
According to Sebamed’s website, Clear Face contains “the new active ingredient Montaline C40, based on coconut oil, [that] reduces the number of bacteria from 100,000 to zero in 5 minutes.” While it sounds impressive, Montaline C40 is just the brand name of a relatively new surfactant: Cocamidopropyl betainamide MEA chloride. It’s a mild foamer that purportedly has anti-bacterial properties. Are we impressed that it can kill a hundred thousand bacteria in 5 minutes? Not really. Even though it sounds better than my top score in Halo, that number doesn’t necessarily mean that Clear Face is different than other anti-bacterial face washes. Here’s why…
Sanitized by Sebamed
I’m not a microbiologist, but I do know that by law, sanitizers must kill 99.999% of a specific bacteria test population. This is known as a 5 log reduction. So if you have 100,000 bacteria and you killed 99.999% of them you’d have 1 bacterium left. That’s pretty damn close to zero so I suspect that’s where their claim comes from. In other words, their active ingredient hits the minimum efficacy to be able to say it’s bactericidal. But there are other things to consider when playing the bacteria counting game - you need to know if it’s killing the right bacteria and how fast those will grow back.
Roseacea is rough
What does this mean for rosacea? As we blogged before, there are many factors that contribute to the red face regret of rosacea. According to Rosacea.org one particular type of bacteria found on Demodex mites can prompt an inflammatory rosacea response. So an anti-bacterial agent may be helpful. Perhaps more critical is the harshness of the detergents you use on your skin. Using a mild face wash can certainly help but without further data it’s impossible for us to tell if Sebamed’s Clear Face would be milder overall that what you’re currently using. You might want to check with your dermatologist on that one.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
Sebamed seems to be a reputable product despite their flashy, numbers-based claim. If they’re following the OTC monograph for acne (in the US) then it should be at least as good as other anti-acne products. Determining if it will help your rosacea from flaring up can only be determined by experimentation (after appropriate consultation with your derm, of course.)