Many skin care experts would agree that the most important step and foundation to your skin care routine is starting with a clean canvas. Once you’ve nailed the basics and chosen a good cleanser that is suitable for your skin type, your skin will then benefit from the additional ingredients you layer on top.
A good cleanser is designed to remove impurities and build up whilst leaving your skin barrier intact. If your skin feels tight, taut and squeaky clean after you cleanse then you could be causing your skin more harm than good.
And no, a facial cleansing wipe is not an adequate form of cleansing.
Cleansing should not interfere or disrupt the delicate ecosystem that lives on the surface of your skin such as your microbiome, sebaceous secretions, keratinised cornified cells, lamellar lipids, ceramides and cholesterols. Using harsh surfactants can lead to dehydrated skin and abnormal trans epidermal water loss (TEWL), dryness, blemishes, flakiness, tightness and loss of textural integrity.
The outer most layer of your skin (stratum corneum) is designed to protect and regulate the deeper dermal layers keeping moisture in and impurities and environmental toxins out. If you’re not cleansing correctly or using poor quality formulations or ingredients, then your skin barrier can be severely compromised.
By using a cleanser that is well formulated, pH balanced and suitable for your skin type, you are providing the initial crucial step by creating an optimal environment for serums and moisturizers that follow to work their magic and deliver the desired results.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CLEANSE?
During the day particles of dirt and dead skin cells build up on the face. Cleansing at night is therefore considered essential to remove impurities before your skin goes into nightly repair mode.
While a morning cleanse is recommended, especially if you are prone to oily and acne skin, if you have a tendency towards dry skin, cleansing and splashing your face with lukewarm water or simply misting, may be sufficient.
If you are intending on using serums or vitamins with active ingredients, applying them onto cleansed skin will assist with optimizing product penetration and absorption. Ultimately, if you are using the correct cleanser for your skin type, cleansing in the morning shouldn’t be too much for your skin.
WHAT IS DOUBLE CLEANSING?
Double cleansing gets rid of impurities that sit on the top of your skin along with makeup, excess oil, and dead skin. If you live in a polluted city environment or if you wear a lot of sunscreen or makeup, then double cleansing 1-2 times a day is highly recommended.
Double cleansing involves washing your face using two products: an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser. The first step draws out oil-based impurities such as sebum, SPF, makeup, and pollutants while the second step cleanses water-based debris such as sweat and dirt.
THE BENEFITS OF DOUBLE CLEANSING
Prevents sebum build-up and bacteria, which can stave off acne-related flare-ups. Sebum build-up causes infections that lead to acne. Oil-based cleansers are great at removing oil-based dirt, residue, cosmetics and sebum, which is overproduced if you suffer from acne, prone to oiliness or you're a heavy makeup wearer. Double cleansing is great preventative for sebum-related breakouts.
Double cleansing can improve the efficacy of your other skincare products. A double cleanse, in the evenings can help your prep your skin for other products penetrate better as your pores are clean.
If you have dry skin, two gentle steps work better than one strong formula to combat sensitivity or drying your skin out with harsh surfactants. Dry skin particularly benefits because of the non-stripping step that can leave some moisture behind on the skin surface.
This additional step cleans deeper and also removes residues of the preceding step of oil-based cleansers and ensures all impurities are removed. Wash for one minute before rinsing with lukewarm water.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CLEANSER:
NORMAL/DRY OR EXPERIENCED SKIN
If your skin has a tendency towards dryness and you have concerns with aging, you want a gentle water-based cleanser that is low in surfactants and will not strip skin of its natural oils.
OILY/COMBINATION/ACNE PRONE SKIN
For this skin type, it’s paramount to avoid stripping the skin of its natural oils by steering clear of high foaming, harsh surfactants which can set your skin up for further problems by disrupting your natural sebum (oil) production.
SENSITIVE/ROSACEA PRONE SKIN
If you have ultra-sensitive skin, be aware that there can be too much of a good thing. For instance, it is best not to double cleanse and overstimulate your skin if you are suffering from a rosacea outbreak or cystic acne as the goal is to soothe the skin rather than further exacerbate any skin conditions.