The perfect step by step plan
- moisturiser (cream)
- sun cream
Why use a cleanser?
Using a cleanser is one of the most important parts of the step by step plan.
During the day and night you get a buildup of sebum, dead skin cells and all sorts of other dirt. If you don't clean it off, then your skin will become dull and uneven looking. The pores can become blocked and the likelihood of getting spots increases. Also the active ingredients in a toner or moisturiser can penetrate more easily through a cleansed skin.
A good cleanser cleans thoroughly without affecting the barrier function of the skin. This barrier function is the 'armour' for your skin. Using a harsh cleanser can easily disrupt it. This unfortunately happens with a large percentage of available cleansers. Funnily enough, mild cleansers which do not contain irritating substances are scarce.
Why is it not enough to wash your face with water only? Water doesn't dissolve oil particles (a good example is when you wash dishes using just warm water and no washing up liquid). The sebaceous glands then become increasingly congested. You are also unable to remove make-up residue with just water. Additionally, the active substances in a toner or moisturiser can absorb more easily into clean skin. Using a cleanser is one of the most important parts of your skincare routine.
What is not included in a good cleanser?
It is difficult searching for a good cleanser, but it is actually very important. A cleanser that is unsuitable or too harsh for your skin guarantees problems, and that affects all of the following steps in the step by step plan.
A cleanser does not need to contain active substances such as anti-oxidants. As these substances are immediately rinsed off the skin again and can actually cause irritation to eyes during washing. They are therefore a waste of money. Avoid irritating ingredients. These include perfumes, colourings and other irritating ingredients such as Sodium lauryl sulphate and alcohol. There are also some plant extracts that can have an irritating effect. Even brief contact with the skin can cause problems.
Always use a water soluble cleanser. This means that after washing you rinse it off with water. Cleansers that are applied with cotton wool leave deposits and can cause problems.
Generally, you use a cleanser both in the morning and at night. If you have a slightly dry and sensitive skin then using a cleanser at night only is sufficient. Choose one which is suitable for your skin type (e.g. for dry or oily skin). You only need a small amount of cleanser when washing. Don't use too much: this can possibly cause problems and doesn't provide better results. Rinse your skin with lukewarm water; this is more gentle on your skin than cold or hot water. Before washing remove your make-up with a special make-up remover. If you are washing your hair, do this before cleansing your face. Many shampoos contain substances which can irritate your skin and should be rinsed off as soon as possible.
Your skin should not feel dry after washing. Everyone knows how taut/stretched skin feels after cleaning, but this is not what you want. The cleanser is drying the skin out too much (this actually suits a lot of cosmetic manufacturers as people then try to compensate by over applying the creams). Skin drying out is never good. If you have dry skin, it means that it is more susceptible to outside influences. If you have an oily skin which becomes dry after washing, it means that the cleanser is removing too much oil from your skin. The consequence is that the skin then produces more sebum to compensate this. After washing your skin should not feel greasy, as rather than making your skin clean, grease remains and builds up. The pores can then become blocked. Choose a minimal or non foaming product. These are less harsh for the skin than products which do foam.
Briefly a good cleanser is:
- The basis of your step by step plan
- Water soluble (can be rinsed off with water)
- Free from irritating substances such as perfume, colouring, alcohol and disinfectants
- Mild (free from harsh cleaning products)
- A product whereby your skin does not feel dry/taut or also greasy after use
- One which requires a small amount
Get searching for a mild cleanser that suits your skin!
(firstname.lastname@example.org - Research Doctor and Head of Skin Therapy)
Look for product advice in the blog 'help with choosing a cleanser'. You can also read the blogs 'a healthy skin', 'hypo-allergenic, dermatologically tested or neutral pH'.