Cleansing your face twice a day – morning and night – is one of the most important steps within every beauty regime. Whether you’re young and trying to clear up acne, middle-aged and trying to prevent pre-mature wrinkles or are looking to decrease the appearance of fine lines, clean skin is the first step. However, like most things in life, not all facial cleansers are created equally and with the abundance of skincare products lining the shelves, it can seem impossible to know where to start. So, we’ve created this crash course on facial cleansing.
Understanding Your Skincare Concerns
At any given time, your skin has a variety of dirty, bacteria, oil and dead skin cells burrowing either on the surface or inside your pores. However, it’s important to know what type of debris is causing your skincare concerns, and once you discover that, you can head onto the next steps.
While some dirt is simply oil, all dirt comes appears oily when on the skin. This is the result of dirt combining with sebum, natural oils designed to support your skin cells, maintain a healthier barrier and provide moisture. This is important to know because your skin might appear to have an oily complexion but in reality, it could just be that you’re not using a decent facial cleanser. In fact, using facials cleansers for oily skin when that’s not the actual skincare concern can deplete your skin of sebum, causing your skin condition to worsen.
Now, fats are just important to your skincare health but dirt likes to stick to the fats, causing your pores to clog to the point where they’re difficult to clean without a facial cleanser.
How Facial Cleansers Work
Now that you know the breakdown of your skin, it’s time to learn how facial cleansers work. Facial soaps and cleansers work to remove the dirt from your pores before washing it away from the skin.
This occurs as a result of a molecule found inside cleansers. This molecule has a lipid soluble (oil-loving) end and a water-soluble (water-loving). What this means is, the cleansers dissolve the dirt (lipid soluble) and then wash it away (water soluble), leaving your skin nice, clean and free of dirt.
Different Types of Facial Cleansers
As mentioned, not all facial cleansers are created equally. There are some that will clean your skin but subject your cells to harmful toxins, others that combine anti-aging skincare ingredients to the cleanser and the list goes on. So, it’s important to know what types of facial cleansers are out there and more importantly, which ones work best for your specifics.
Gentle Facial Cleansers
Gentle facial cleansers are exactly what it sounds like – cleansers that use gentle skincare ingredients to clean the skin. Often times, these are used to avoid additional skin concerns. For example, if you have dry skin, you would use a gentle facial cleanser to avoid secondary skin inflammation, redness, irritation, itching, tightness, discomfort, etc.
As a general rule of thumb, the less expensive a skincare product is, the harsher it is on your skin, as they don’t cost very much to make. This is why premium skincare or rather, effective skincare costs more. You’re getting gentle, quality cleansing that isn’t going to disrupt your skin’s healthy barrier and cause your skincare concerns to worsen.
Often times, gentle facial cleansers use premium, natural skincare ingredients to ensure your skin barrier isn’t disrupted by removing too many healthy oils.
A couple of our favorite:
Activating Skin Cleansers
You’ve likely seen “activating” on some skincare cleansers out there and this can be quite confusing. What does it mean? Well, activating skin cleansers are a modern cosmeceutical cleaner that contains quality skincare ingredients that are beneficial to your skin. No parabens or sulfate allowed!
More specifically, these types of facial cleansers include various wound healers, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and exfoliation elements to give you the results you’re looking for. And as a bonus of these premium skincare ingredients, you receive additional skincare benefits.
Sulfate and Paraben Free Cleansers
Speaking of the prior, we can’t go any further without talking about the facial cleansers that are free of sulfates and parabens. Sulfates and parabens are the root of all evil for most things in life – from your skincare products to your shampoos and beyond. They’re harmful chemicals that cause a long list of risks and side effects. As such, sulfate-free and paraben-free facial cleansers have grown in popularity significantly over the years and for all the right reasons.
However, cleansers that claim to be “sulfate free” often contain sulfonates, which can quickly have you thinking it’s a bad product. However, sulfonates are, chemically, different from the other molecule and are often used to substitute sulfate. They’re less toxic and cleanse fairly well but they still aren’t natural.
Facial Cleansing Oils and Facial Wipes
Facial cleansing oils, also known as cleansing balms have high lipid content that’s designed to replenish your skin’s protective layer. Think facial cleansers that moisturize at the same time.
While these types of facial cleansers can sometimes be greasy, the high-quality ones will infuse your skin with rich, moisturizing agents. The downside is that the lipids found in these cleansers are far from the natural ones found in your skin, which can leave a residue or film on the surface. This can further clog your pores, increase acne breakouts and make your skincare concerns worse.
Additionally, these cleansers that have high lipid content appear to be doing their job but are actually only dissolving debris, without washing it away. Think makeup wipes or facial cleaning wipes; you’re only receiving one of the two actions required for proper cleansing.
However, it’s important to note that not all cleansing wipes and makeup removers are bad… As long as they are used in combination with water. Unfortunately, most cleansing wipes don’t require the use of water which means they simply dissolve the dirt and oil and wipe some of it away. So, if you insist on using these wipes (they are a huge time-saver) be sure to rinse or wash your face afterward… Which pretty much defeats the purpose of using them. To each their own.
Another new and innovative facial cleanser that’s taken over the beauty industry lately is micellar water. These cleansers are made up mostly of water, along with tiny particles that have saponification agents alongside the lipid-content. In other words, micellar waters effectively soak up the dirt and mildly wash them out from your skin. The cleanser can then be wiped off or rinsed away with very little water.
Unfortunately, you do sometimes have to wash twice in order to get the high-quality cleanse you’re looking for. They’re also more oily than other facial cleansers which can be harmful for oily complexions or acne-prone skin.
These types of facial cleansers are exactly what they sound like – facial cleansers that have antibacterial elements. However, there has been a lot of talk about these “antibacterial” products as of lately and many studies have even proven that they’re no more effective against bacteria than regular washing. Some even believe antibacterial cleaners to have a worsening effect on human health, as they wash away the good kind of bacteria.Furthermore, antibacterial cleansers are known to disrupt the skin’s healthy balance which can cause more skincare concerns to sprout, such as acne, rosacea, inflammation, etc.
What to take away from all of this? The more natural the cleaner, the better – and use a significant amount of water to rinse your facial cleanser off! If you’re looking for a precise skincare regime to follow specific to your skincare concerns, contact Anika Beauty or visit our salon in Hudson, New Hampshire. We are experts at what we do and will be able to provide you with a list of skincare products to use that cleanse, protect, prevent and replenish!