That’s a question I hear very often.
My first rule: not too many times a day, and that’s true for all skin types.
The skin’s flora exudes a sort of natural cream which helps keep it balance, which is why over-cleansing could be harmful.
How can I tell what’s right for my skin?
Start by increasing your awareness and becoming more attuned to the largest organ in your body – the skin. Our facial skin usually reflects what we’re going through in life and is highly susceptible to changes in weather, hormones, emotions, etc.
If you have dry or mature skin and spend most of your day in an office or an air-conditioned environment, there is no need to cleanse your skin more than once a day, or even, dare I say, once every 2-3 days if it doesn’t feel dirty. Simply rinsing your face with water is enough in that case.
However, if you’re using sunscreen or makeup, you must cleanse your skin with mild soap at the end of the day, to wash off the sunscreen or makeup residues before applying night treatment products. Sunscreens and makeup usually contain ingredients you do not want on your skin for too long.
If you have oily, acne-prone skin, it’s recommended to cleanse several times a day, as needed. It may sound like a challenge, but in most cases, once you pay attention to your skin, you’ll know what it needs.
If your skin ranges between slightly dry to slightly oily it’s recommended to cleanse once a day, in the evening, in a clean home environment, before going to sleep.
What cleansing product should I use?
If you’re wearing makeup, you must first use a makeup remover. That’s particularly true with eye makeup. Remember: makeup remover is not meant to cleanse you skin, and facial soap is not meant to remove your make up. Use both.
Healthy skin takes effort.
Begin with makeup remover, rinse with water, and then choose a gentle cleansing product. Even with oily skin it’s important not to be too aggressive – it’s better to use a thick liquid soap that contains sanitizing ingredients, such as tea tree oil, or a bit of salicylic or alpha hydroxy acid, that will prompt the restoration process while cleansing.
Important – favor products that don’t contain alcohol. People with oily skin often look for ways to dry out oiliness. That’s not a good strategy. The skin’s response to such actions is to secrete more oil, leading to it becoming very imbalanced (partly dry and partly oily). So, even if you have oily skin – cleanse gently!
For dry, mature, lackluster skin – choose very gentle cleansing products. A cleansing foam that contains very little SLS (sodium-lauryl-sulphate), if any, which dissolves dirt, but also tends to dry the skin. I particularly like Mermaid, a gentle foam soap based on seaweed polymers, which nourishes the skin while cleansing it, so that it feels positively moisturized after use. I cleanse my clients’ and my own facial skin with Mermaid.
Mature skin could also benefit from hydrophilic oil or almond oil, which leave a slightly oily feeling after cleansing.
Cleansing products I wouldn’t recommend – facial cleansing milk and cleansing tonics and lotions. Facial milks only add grime, and tonics and lotions are usually steeped in alcohol and remove the sebum on top of dirt. The skin’s natural flora (a naturally balanced microbiota) should be preserved.
I’d love to hear what you’re using and what you would like to get out of your cleansing product.
You’re always invited to contact me with any questions.
Lilly Kai – everything your skin needs.