- Cleansing is an essential step in your skincare routine.
- There are many different types of facial cleansers on the market.
- It is important to choose a face cleanser that is right for your skin type.
Cleansing plays a crucial role in your skincare routine. Keeping your skin clean and healthy reduces the risk of clogged pores, helps improve skin tone and allows your other skincare and beauty products to work more effectively.
While there are hundreds of facial cleansers on the market, not all of them are suitable for your skin. It is important to take the time to find a product that is right for your skin type.
What Is Cleansing and Why Is It Important?
Cleansing is the act of washing your face to remove unwanted substances from the surface of your skin. It is arguably the most important step in your skincare routine.
Not only does cleansing remove dirt, grime, makeup, excess oil and other pore-clogging particles from your skin, it also allows the ingredients in your other skincare products to penetrate the skin more effectively.
Cleanser vs Face Wash vs Scrub
Cleansers, facial scrubs and face washes are all designed to keep your face clean. However, the way they accomplish this is quite different.
Facial cleansers work by dissolving impurities such as dirt, oil and other debris that may settle on your face over the course of the day. This helps unclog pores and reduces the risk of an acne breakout. Most cleansers are non-foaming and simply need to be wiped off. Cleansers are generally very gentle on the skin and can typically be used twice a day.
Face washes are also designed to remove contaminants from the skin, but they tend to be stronger than cleansers and therefore harsher on the skin. Most face washes foam up when applied, which helps remove deep-seated dirt and grime. Many people choose to use a foaming face wash in conjunction with a facial cleanser.
Facial scrubs do not strip away impurities from your face in the same way as washes and cleansers. Instead, they contain textured grit, which removes dead skin cells from the outermost layer of your skin to reveal the smoother, healthier skin that lies below. Overuse of facial scrubs can be quite irritating on the skin, and may cause redness or dryness.
Facial Cleansing Benefits
If you are new to cleansers or have been using the wrong cleanser for your skin type, you may notice some significant improvements when you start using an appropriate product.
Every time you venture outside the house, your skin is exposed to all sorts of dirt, grime, pollution, dust and sweat. If left to accumulate on your skin, these contaminants can irritate your skin and may lead to a breakout.
A good facial cleanser plays an important role in removing this buildup and keeping your skin clean, clear and healthy.
Allows other products to penetrate the skin
Makeup, dirt, oil and other pollutants that gather on the surface of your skin effectively act as a barrier that prevents your other skincare products from working effectively.
As noted above, facial cleansers help keep your skin clean, which in turn allows your toners, moisturizers and lotions to penetrate the skin more deeply. As a result, you may find that switching to a new cleanser indirectly improves both the tone and texture of your skin.
Types of Facial Cleansers
Facial cleansers come in many different forms. While they all ultimately serve the same purpose, they are each suited to a slightly different skin type.
As the name suggests, gel cleansers feature a thick, gel-like consistency. They tend to produce a small amount of foam and are designed to keep your skin clean without stripping it of its natural oils. Cleansing gels are often a good option for people with oily or acne-prone skin.
Cream cleansers have the strongest moisturizing properties of all the cleansers. Cream cleansers have a thick, creamy texture that gently cleanses and hydrates the skin, making them an excellent option for people with dry or sensitive skin.
Powder cleansers have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. These types of cleansers are powdery when dry but take on a creamy texture when mixed with water, which cleanses your skin while providing a gentle exfoliation.
Clay cleansers are formulated with clay to help draw out excess oil and other impurities from your skin. These types of cleansers are best suited to people with oily or combination skin.
It may sound counterintuitive to wash your face with an oil-based product, but oil cleansers are an effective way of removing contaminants from your skin without being overly drying. Oil cleansers are suitable for both dry and oily skin types.
How to Choose a Facial Cleanser for Your Skin Type
Facial cleansers are formulated using a wide range of ingredients. These ingredients can have a big impact on how the cleanser interacts with your skin.
People with oily skin should look for a cleanser that helps manage excess oil without being overly drying on the skin. While alcohol-based cleansers are effective at removing oil, they can cause the skin to dry out, which causes the body to increase oil production.
Instead, look for a non-comedogenic gel-based cleanser that contains salicylic and glycolic acids, which help break down impurities and prevent breakouts. You should also keep an eye out for cleansers that contain humectants such as glycerin, which helps your skin retain moisture.
Many of the cleaning agents found in facial cleansers can be too harsh on dry skin, and may leave your skin feeling tight and flaky. Dry skin types should avoid facial cleansers that contain alcohol and soap.
Cream cleansers are often the best facial cleansers for people with dry skin. Look for products that are formulated using glycerin and emollients such as petrolatum, ceramides and lanolin, which help your skin retain moisture.
As mentioned earlier, many cleansers contain cleaning agents that can potentially damage the integrity of sensitive skin.
With this in mind, people with sensitive skin should look for a gentle cleanser with a light-weight formula. Avoid common skin irritants such as fragrances, dyes and soaps.
You will also want to steer clear of alcohols, including isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol 40 and ethyl alcohol, as the safety of topical ethanol-containing products has still not been established.
Finding the right cleanser for combination skin can be challenging. Ideally, you should try to find a product that walks the fine line of hydrating dry areas without over-moisturizing oily skin.
For this reason, a mild, balanced cleanser is the best bet for combination skin. Soap- and alcohol- free gel cleansers are a good place to start, but it may take some trial and error to find the right product for your specific skin.
If you have normal skin (skin that is not easily irritated and rarely breaks out), it will probably react favorably to a wide range of cleansers.
How to Apply Facial Cleansers
To get the most out of your daily facial cleanser, it is important to know how to apply it correctly.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Wet your face with warm water.
- Apply a small amount of facial cleanser to your fingertips.
- Apply the cleanser to your face. Gently rub in a circular motion, ensuring that the product covers all parts of your face. Pay special attention to oily and acne-prone areas, including the nose, chin and T-zone.
- Allow the cleanser to sit for a minute or two.
- Rinse your face with lukewarm water.
- Pat dry your face with a clean facial towel.
If you want an even deeper cleanse, you might want to consider double cleansing. This process involves cleansing your face first with an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup, sunscreen and excess oil, followed by a water-based cleanser, which helps remove any residue sweat and dirt.
Double cleansing only needs to be performed in the evening to remove the dirt and pollution that has accumulated on your skin throughout the day. It is not necessary to double cleanse in the morning, because your face is probably still quite clean from the night before.
People with dry and sensitive skin should avoid double cleansing as the deep cleansing action can be overly drying.
Skin care routine considerations
Cleansing is the first step in your skincare routine and should be done twice a day. After completing the above cleansing process, you can begin applying your other skincare products. Start with your toner, before moving onto any treatment products you use, followed by eye cream, moisturizer and sunscreen.
Facial Cleansers for Acne and Acne-Prone Skin
Acne is not caused by poor hygiene, which means cleansing your face cannot magically cure acne. Nevertheless, maintaining clean, healthy skin is a key step in managing acne and can help your acne treatment products work more effectively.
There are a few key ingredients to look for when choosing a facial cleansers for acne and acne-prone skin:
- Salicylic acid
- Glycolic acid
- Benzoyl peroxide
There are also a number of ingredients you should avoid, including:
- Exfoliating beads
- Coconut oil
Facial Cleansers for Rosacea
Regularly cleansing helps remove the dirt and oil that can irritate rosacea-prone skin. However, people with rosacea need to be particularly careful when choosing a cleanser as there are many ingredients that can trigger a flare up.
Many of the cleansers that are made for sensitive skin will be suitable for people with rosacea. Look for products that support your skin’s natural pH balance and avoid fragrances and alcohols, as these ingredients are common triggers that may exacerbate your rosacea.
Are DIY Facial Cleansers Worth It?
In theory, making your own cleanser gives you more control over the ingredients your skin is exposed to and allows you to create a product that is tailored to the specific needs of your skin.
However, making an effective DIY cleanser is easier said than done. Commercial cleansers are backed by years of scientific research and formulated using very precise processes and ingredients that are made to be used topically.
In contrast, DIY cleansers are made using readily available ingredients, which may or may not be suitable for use in topical applications. For instance, many DIY cleanser recipes are based on olive oil, coconut oil or castor oil, which are not intended to be used topically and can clog the skin.
It is not impossible to create an effective DIY cleanser, but it will take a lot of trial and error to create one that works for your skin. Most people, particularly dry and sensitive skin types, should stick to using an over-the-counter or dermatological cleanser.
There are many benefits to incorporating cleansing into your daily skincare routine. When choosing a cleanser, it is important to remember that the ingredients used to formulate a product can have a big impact on how the product interacts with your skin.
Everyone’s skin is different, so it is vital that you find a facial cleanser that best suits the unique needs of your skin