Yes – cleansing is important. Daily cleansing removes dirt, old make-up, excess oil and dead skin cells and helps control the bacterial load on your skin’s surface. But it’s vital to use the right cleanser for your skin type. Surprisingly, patients often ask me about simple soaps and feel that this ‘back to nature’ approach will benefit their skin, especially if it’s oily or ‘impure.’ Sadly, traditional soaps won’t do you any favours whateveryour skin type. They cause irritation, dryness and roughness by disturbing the skin’s natural pH (acid balance); disrupting its protective barrier function;
and damaging the fat and protein structure of the surface horny layer. Fatty acids in soap are also comedogenic, so can aggravate breakouts. So bar the soap – it’s no good to anyone. But here’s the good news. Cosmetic science has moved on and there are now some great multi-functional cleansers, which cleanse the skin surface gently and efficiently while addressing different skin types and their problems. If you have dry skin, the right cleanser can moisturize at the same time, while a well-formulated cleanser for oily skin will help reduce sebum production and pore-clogging impurities.
While oily skin usually benefits from a foaming cleanser (never a creamy, or even worse, an oil-based formula), a non-foaming creamy wash is best for dry and sensitive skin. After cleansing (and moisturizing), your skin should feel comfortable and supple, but never tight and itchy.
One last word about cleansing wipes. It’s easy to see why they’re so popular – they’re quick and simple to use. But sorry, I’m not a big fan of them either. As a cross between a rinse-off product and a leave-on product, they don’t fit either category particularly well. They won’t cleanse your skin properly because they can’t contain thorough enough cleansing agents, as traces of product inevitably remain on the skin. They might on the other hand still contain some potentially low grade irritating ingredients, which of course end up staying on your skin.
Many wipes contain for example high concentrations of preservatives to prevent contamination (bacteria love moist environments!)
but also raise the risk of reactions.
You see? It’s a no-win situation. Use them in an emergency by all means – and yes, they’re great for travel. But don’t let them get to be a habit. They’re certainly no substitute for your thorough, regular cleanser