What cleanser should you use? Does it really matter? The first step towards healthy skin is proper cleansing with an appropriate cleansing product designed to address the needs of your particular skin type and/or skin condition.
Body soap and body washes should NOT be used on delicate facial skin. They are too harsh and can strip the face of protective natural oils. There are fewer layers of skin on the face than other parts of the body. Body products will disrupt the natural pH of delicate facial skin due to their extreme alkalinity.
Here are some basic guidelines for choosing a correct cleanser:
- Creamy Cleansers are appropriate for dry, sensitive, dehydrated or aging skin. They have the consistency of thick cream and leave the skin feeling hydrated and soft. There is an oil component to these cleansers that gently removes surface dirt and makeup without stripping the skin.
- Milky Cleansers have a thinner, lighter consistency than the above-mentioned creamy cleansers. Some milky cleansers are a combination of a gel and a cream cleanser making them ideal for normal to mildly dry/dehydrated skin as well as mature skin.
- Gel Cleansers are the right choice for normal to combination skin. When using a gel cleanser, be sure to add some water to give this cleanser better slide on the skin’s surface. These cleansers tend to be more economical to the user because a little bit goes a long way.
- Foaming Cleansers leave the skin feeling “squeaky-clean.” They are the preferred choice for women with oily, congested or acne-prone skin. Foaming cleansers can be somewhat drying as they work to remove excess oil from the skin’s surface. These cleansers may include ingredients such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid which work to exfoliate the skin during the cleansing process. Be advised that over-stripping oil from skin will eventually create a boomerang effect causing the skin to over-produce oil in order to compensate.
What happens if you’re using the wrong cleanser? A cleanser that is too rich for your skin can lead to congestion, breakouts and micro-comedones (small, closed bumps of dried sebum). On the other hand, a cleanser that is too strong will leave your skin feeling tight and dry and ultimately dehydrated. When the seasons change, a woman may benefit from switching to a different cleanser. For example, you may want to select a thicker cleanser in the winter and a thinner one in the summer.
Cleanse your face twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. For those clients that deal with issues caused by rosacea and eczema, I may advise them to cleanse only at nighttime. Preserving the acid mantle (barrier on the surface of the skin formed by oil and sweat) in sensitized skin is critical.
Another wonderful benefit to cleansing (when done correctly) is that the skin is massaged during the process. This helps to revive circulation in sluggish tissues as well as encouraging lymph flow. This simple step will aid in revitalizing lackluster skin. It also readies the skin for the application of serums and moisturizers afterward.
For more on skin care routines, please read my earlier blog post entitled, “How Do I Take Care of My Skin?”
I stock a variety of different cleansers at the office and would be happy to suggest an appropriate one for your use.
Lori Weintraub is a licensed skin care therapist, holistic health coach and a hair removal expert. She offers online consultations, skin care lessons, exceptional products and hand-holding guidance to help women over 40 regain their youthful glow. Learn more here.