Cleansing is the first step to beautiful skin. Without clean skin your skin will not absorb effectively any of the following treatments. The skin needs cleansing to remove sunscreens, dust, pollution, excess oil, bacteria, and make-up and generally refresh the skin.
Sadly cleansing can sometimes be where problems begin. Some cleansers can be too harsh and strip the natural protective qualities of the skin, some people only cleanse once a day, some people are not thorough enough – the list can go on. How well you cleanse and what you cleanse with will influence how the skin reacts and absorbs to following treatment products.
Some general rules:
Use an eye make-up remover or make sure the cleanser is designed for the eyes as well. The eye area is more delicate and is an entry point to the internal body therefore making the use of specifically designed products a must. Eye make-up removers should be compatible with the acid (pH) levels of your tears. It is common to find the eye area very dehydrated and people can be frustrated after trying eye cream after eye cream. Sometimes it can be solved simply with a good eye make-up remover.
Personally I would love to change the name of these products to eye cleansers because eye make-up removers are also important if you do not wear make-up, the skin needs to be cleansed properly of bacteria, dust and residue of eye creams from previous applications. A really good eye make-up remover will also condition the lashes and calm the eye area.
When you are finished cleansing the eye area use your cotton pad with eye make-up remover and wipe across your lips to remove and lip balm build up and/ or lipstick. It is common to find little blackheads forming along the lip line from not removing lip products well.
Cleanse twice a day. Most people who cleanse once a day cleanse at night. Cleansing is not just about removing make-up, oil, dust and pollution, still exist over night also the dust mites and bacteria in your mattress and pillows are also touching your skin., You also need to remove the protective barrier that your night creams create, therefore cleansing in the morning is important.
Double cleanse in the evening and thoroughly cleanse once in the morning. Many people forget to take the time to work the cleanser through the eyebrows, around the corners of the nose, around the chin, behind and around the ears and down on to the neck. If you tone with a cotton pad and you still get make-up on it, time to be more effective at cleansing. These natural creases and corners on the face are where oil can build up and cause congestion and be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria therefore causing breakout.
To cleanse effectively, emulsify the cleanser (if required), and have a generous amount and ensure your entire palms are covered. Place your hands on your face both side of the nose cupping the entire face and apply the cleanser by wiping your hands towards the ears. Then dampen your fingers with water and work in circular motions from the centre of the forehead towards the temple. Then bring your hands up along the orbital bone to the nose and work in a circular motion over the nose ensuring that you go around the nostril and the base of the nose (an area often missed). Continue in a circular motion along the cheek bones to the hair line and work systematically back and forth. Then you cleanse around the mouth ensuring you get into the corners of the lips. Now work your fingers over the chin paying special attention to the natural fold of the chin and just under the chin. Then work along the underside of the jaw line and include the earlobes. Now rinse.
If you cleanse in the shower be careful not to put your face directly under the shower head and have the water hitting your skin. The water pressure can break capillaries and dehydrate and sensitize the skin. It is recommended to either splash the water up or use a face cloth. Some brands make facial cloths they are usually anti-bacterial and highly recommended over an old fashion face cloth. Using a cloth over splashing water up achieves a more thorough and efficient cleanse. If you do chose to use a face cloth it must be washed thoroughly every day. As the skin has natural oils and our moisturisers leave protective barriers on the skin having a physical element to a cleanse is advisable. You would not wash a fry pan with just detergent and running water.
Choose cleansers wisely. Cleanser can be designed to leave the skin, clean and fresh, comfortable and moist or calm and cool. What they should not do is leave the skin feeling tight and dry or greasy or irritated. Normal to oily and oily skins generally prefer clean and fresh so foam and gel cleansers are most ideal. Look for natural foaming agents (suponafiers) versus synthetic ones. Natural suponafiers mean you need less product to cleanse with and lots of water. When using these cleansers it is common to think it leaves your skin dry and tight, generally it means you have used to much product and/or not enough water to emulsify the cleanser up, all you need to do is re-rinse the skin and that will remove the last traces of cleanser from the skins surface, which are what have dried and made the skin feel that way.. If you have an acne skin medicated gel cleansers are generally excellent for breaking down acne creating bacteria. If you just have oil in the skin you could try a clay based cleanser, the clay help draw out trapped oil or absorb excess oil on the skin. After a long day you can even leave a clay cleanser for a few minutes as a mini cleansing mask. Normal to dry and dry skins prefers comfortable and moist therefore I recommend milk and cream cleansers. If you have a sensitive skin then definitely ensure your cleanse has been created for your skin, your cleanser should begin the strengthening process and keep the skin calm. In the end the most important factor to remember when choosing your cleanser is how do I like my skin to feel and how do I like to cleanse?
Some people like cleansing in the shower, others prefer over the basin and others are looking for an option to do in bed. It is important to consider what you prefer to do because quiet simply it means you are more likely to do it. You may even be an all of the above type and that is OK too. Cream or milk cleansers can be used in the shower just as easily as foam or a gel. Likewise a foam or gel cleanser is just as easy to use at the basin. The choice then is left to how you like your skin to feel after cleansing.
If we were all good little angels and did what we were told life would be very boring. Hopefully this true evilness is not too common however if you can try and cleanse that skin before sleeping in it, your skin will thank you. This is where skin wipes or cleansers that can be pumped onto a cotton pad (virtually turning it into a skin wipe) are perfect. Keep them beside your bed for those emergencies. I promise it will make looking into the mirror in the morning a lot easier. These products are also great for flying with long-haul or taking to the gym.
Beware of using soap to cleanse. Soaps are alkaline and your skin is acidic and this means the natural protective barriers of the skin are stripped leaving the skin vulnerable, dry and sometime sensitized. Some brands produce cleansing bars (sometimes they use different names) these are generally OK and far better than soap. They are a great alternative for people who like the simplicity of using a bar without using soap. Men can find these a great alternative.
Cleansing should be something we teach our children from a young age. Find a simple cleanser designed even for a sensitive skin and start your children forming a habit just like brushing their teeth. This is even more important for those using sunscreens. If sunscreens are not removed properly they can cause skin problems. Also when applying sunscreen it needs to be applied to a clean skin to be fully effective. A cleansing bar can also be a great option for children.
If you want help choosing a cleanser to suit you, leave your comment below and include your answers to these questions:
- How do you like your skin to feel after cleansing?
- Do you already double cleanse morning and night?
- What is your skin type and what concerns you about your skin?