Are You Cleansing Properly?

Cleansers

When you think about your cleansing routine, is it more like mere seconds of splashing water on your face to get over with or do you try removing every last trace of dirt, scrubbing away until your skin is left feeling raw?

While you may not give a second thought about cleansing, it actually involves a delicate balance that sets the tone for everything that follows after.  Cleanse with something harsh that disrupts the skin’s natural pH and you can end up with a dry, tight skin that looks aged.  Using a cleanser that’s too rich for your skin can result in clogged pores and breakouts.

Thoroughly cleansing with the appropriate cleanser helps keep pores clean, prepare the skin for other products, may contain ingredients to counteract various skin problems and can help certain skin conditions such as dehydration and sensitivity.  Read below for a guide on cleansers and tips!

Types Of Cleansers

Oil-based/Creams

Cleansers that are oil-based can be good for all skin types and also aid in breaking down sunscreen and makeup.  Actors and performers who wear heavy stage makeup can benefit from these types of cleansers as well.

Cream cleansers that are rich are best suited for mature skin that is dry; the emollients can soften dry skin and not dry it out.

Cleansing Gels/Foaming Cleansers

These cleansers are are designed to whisk away oil and deep cleanse. These are appropriate for those with normal, combination, or oily skin.

Cleansing Lotions

Cleansing lotions (also referred to as milky cleansers) are like that of a cream, just with a lighter consistency.  They can be used for normal, dry or combination skin.

Tips

  • Different seasons can call for different types of cleansers.  Combination, normal and dry skin types may benefit from a cleansing lotion/cream in the fall and winter, but prefer an cleansing gel in the spring and summer when oil production is higher.
  • Tread cautiously if you are acne-prone and try an oil-based cleanser.  Certain ones can make you break out
  • Use gentle, circular motions and avoid aggressive tugging or pressure.
  • If you use a spinning brush like the Clarisonic in conjunction with your cleanser,  use it no more than three times per week to avoid irritation and wash well after each use.
  • Cleanse your face in the morning once and twice in the evening.

You don’t have to spend a large amount of time on cleansing- just enough to remove the accumulation of sunscreen, pollution, dirt, debris and oil.  Trust me, your skin will thank you. 

 

Why Squeaky Clean Can Be Mean

soap

At some point, whether it be morning, mid-afternoon, or evening- perhaps even all three- we walk ourselves over to the sink or shower to cleanse our face.  The accumulation of sebum, dirt and environmental pollution can leave our skin feeling grimy and we think that tight, squeaky clean feeling after cleansing means we have gotten rid of it all.  Often, the choice of said cleansing is soap, and well, why not? It’s convenient, fairly inexpensive, and if it’s tough enough to remove oil and dirt from our body, hey, why not extend its use to our face, right?

Wrong!

Aside from removing debris and oil, soap tends to remove the fats between the skin cells known as intercellular lipids. Our skin has what’s know as an internal cellular matrix,which is the lipid (fat) substance between cells that protect the cells from water loss and irritation.  Excessive removal of these lipids results in dry skin and skin disease.

Take a quick trip back to your chemistry class by glancing at pH (potential hydrogen) scale below.

 

pH scale

 

The pH scale measures the acidity or alkalinity of any substance that contains water and extends from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral.  Anything below 7 is considered acidic and anything above 7 is alkaline. Soap also has a high pH level, 9-11, while the natural pH of skin can range from 4-6.  Since sebum and sweat create a barrier on the skin’s surface known as the acid mantle, this protects against certain forms of bacteria and other microorganisms.  Extreme variations in pH can damage the skin’s barrier functions and cause sensitivity, aging, dehydration, and can worsen skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.  Also, highly alkaline solutions can form an insoluble film, leaving skin feeling dry, irritated and itchy.

Considering the information above and knowing the skin on our face is a lot more delicate than the skin on our body, using facial cleansers that are soap-free or pH balanced are best.

I hope this post was helpful in explaining why using soap to cleanse the face isn’t an ideal option.

Have a great Tuesday!

 

 

 

 

 

Shine On…Just Maybe Not Too Much

oil

Oh, oil.

You can be a dry skin type’s best friend by creating an ethereal glow and an oily skin type’s worst enemy causing us to look like one hot mess.  While oil is a natural substance found in our skin that helps keep skin supple, too much of it can cause problems such as acne and blackheads.

Aside from genetics, there are other factors that can contribute to less than a desirable amount of oil production.

Causes

Genetics, of course

Yup, you can thank your ancestry for this one as skin types are determined by your genes.  There is a chance however, that your skin type may change with age.

Hormones/Stress

There is a reason why the majority of breakouts occur when you are a teenager.  Your sebaceous glands (glands that are charge of producing oil) are typically dormant before puberty, and spring into life after puberty. Hormones at this time are also raging out of control.  The adrenal glands produce testosterone in women, thereby increasing sebum production.

Continual chronic stress also increases hormone levels and also increased sebum levels.

Environment

Heat and humidity increase oil levels.  Individuals who work in kitchens or laundry mats or who live in hot and humid places can often find an increase in oil.

Harsh products/Not using a moisturizer  

Excessive drying of skin or not moisturizing the skin may cause the sebaceous glands to overcompensate by producing an excessive amount of sebum to replace the moisture lost.

Solutions 

Although you can’t really reason with genetics, figure out what your triggers are and read these options available to help keep sebum at bay.

Relax and slow down if stress seems to be the issue.  Take a small amount of time out of your day/night (even if it’s only one minute!) for yourself and do something you enjoy. Exercising, reading, meditating, and aromatherapy can work wonders.

Hydrate!  Humectants, which include glycerin, sorbitol, hyaluronic acid and sodium PCA, attract water (not oil) to the skin and cinnamon bark, borage seed oil, wheat germ oil, niacinamide, zinc glucanate, caffeine, enantia bark, yeast extract, horse chestnut and biotin can regulate oil production with regular use.

Stay balanced! Using a pH balanced cleanser, something that is NOT soap, can help keep you from over drying the skin. Cleansing your skin about twice a say should suffice, or you run the risk of over drying the skin as well. Those who have acne may want to be careful about over using ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, which although can be great for acne, can also be very drying.

Nutrition  Zinc can help regulate oil glands.  Zinc rich foods include oysters, crab, liver, mushrooms and spinach.

Other Blotting tissues, using oil-free makeup, and certain primers can also keep shine to a minimum.

If you have oily skin, what product do you swear by?