The Why and Wherefore of Facial Cleansers

This fall Skin Deep was awarded the Independent’s Reader’s Choice Award for Best Place to Have a Facial. Once again our talented, caring estheticians have been singled out for their continued commitment to putting your best face forward.

So I asked what’s the most important element of one’s home care routine? How do we maintain that just-stepped-out-of-the-spa glow? And the journey begins (shocker!) with the first step. Your facial cleanser.

Cleansers primarily remove dirt and debris (evil twins of skincare) from your face. Some D2s are oily in and of themselves, but any dirt that accumulates on skin becomes oily once it combines with sebum. The lipids in sebum support the skin’s acid mantle and maintain its PH while fortifying the skin barrier but once they mix with the dreaded D2s they block pores and wreak havoc – unless you have the right cleanser.

There are many wonderful options and identifying what type of skin you have can help determine your perfect match. (Ask your esthetician after your next facial and she’ll guide you to a delicious choice.) Selections often include active ingredients such as antioxidants, exfoliation agents, wound healers and vitamins.

The key? Some cleansers are gentle while others are downright aggressive. Harsh cleansers can result in sensitivity and inflammation while gentle cleansers help avoid itching, flaking, tightness, redness and discomfort. Milder cleansers also leave the skin barrier function intact.

Or you might opt for cleansing oil with high lipid content if your skin is dry, aging or particularly sensitive. These also dissolve makeup brilliantly but it’s wise to include exfoliation (at least weekly) to insure you don’t leave any residue behind.
And it’s crucial to rinse thoroughly. Rinsing is a key component in preparing your face for all the wonderful elements to come. The almighty H2O is almost as essential applied externally as it is when gulped internally.

But let’s save our “All Hail Water!” lesson for another day.

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