Cleansing, we all know we should do it, but so often we do as little as possible, as quickly as possible, or we go to bed wearing makeup, or we cheat and use facial wipes.
This simple and un-respected part of our beauty routine plays a HUGE part in the health of our skin. Correct effective cleansing will, and can totally improve our skin’s wellbeing in a very short time frame, even more so than any other part of our skin care routine. Ineffective cleansing can cause you to waste huge amounts of money on products which cannot penetrate the layers of dead skin and dirt to work. In so saying, over cleansing by using the incorrect cleansers can strip the skin and open it up to bacteria causing us to end up with pimples and blackheads.
So how do you actually get that balance?
There are so many choices of cleansers out there, hopefully, the following information will help;
Facial wipes are like nappy wipes for babies. They are a great quick fix to remove makeup between applications such as when you are going out for the night, but have no time to shower. So you use a facial wipe to remove your makeup and wipe under your arms, wipe down your feet and private bits before reapplying fresh deodorant and fresh makeup. Then into a dress and shoes for your night out. It is not an effective cleanser for proper cleansing. Imagine (this is easier for those of you who have had babies or have dealt with babies) that you only used nappy wipes on your babies bottom and never washed it – how many issues would you babies bottom have? It would be red, irritated, inflamed and infected.
Every day your face comes in contact with dirt, smog, bacteria from you or someone else touching it, makeup, oil and sweat throughout the day, the wipes just can not remove all of that! They leave so much dirt behind and you end up with congestion, blackheads, breakouts etc, etc, and you wonder why?
Cleansers come in all types.
The most popular cleansers on the market at the moment are foaming cleansers with antibacterial qualities oranti-blackheadd, anti pimple – you name it – you know what I am talking about. Unless you have severe acne all of these will in actual fact give you acne. What they do is strip the skin of all its oils and moisture opening it up to bacteria.
The skin’s surface is protected by the acid mantle – this is the skin’s ozone layer. When you strip this acid mantle by using a aggressive cleanser, you are opening the skin’s surface up to bacteria. Another thing that happens, is that our oil glands, which are like a bunch of lazy road side workers who like to stand around and chat most of the time, jump into action and start pumping out huge amounts of oil to protect the skin’s surface whilst the acid mantle repairs itself. You then come along with your stripping cleanser and they jump into action again – see the pattern?
Even if you have acne, cleansing the skin with something which does not strip it, will be a more effective way of managing it. If the skin is hydrated, the acid mantle stays intact, which means less bacteria enters the skin causing problems.
There are multiple forms of cream cleansers, from light cream cleansers which suit even the oiliest of skins through to thick cream cleansers for very dry skins.
Many people do not know if there skins are dehydrated or dry. Dehydrated skin’s lack moisture, dry skins lack moisture and oil. Your skin is dehydrated if it looks flat, and has breakouts (even when you are too old to have break outs) and sometimes becomes really oily, yet still feels stretched and dry. Your skin is dry when you never have any oil or moisture and feels stretched if you do not lather thick creams on.
Dehydrated skins need a lighter cleanser than a dry skin. Dry skin’s love thicker creamier cleansers, whilst a dehydrated skin will flourish with a slightly lighter version. Choose a normal to dry skin cleanser for dehydrated skin and a dry skin specific cleanser for dry skin. Normal to dry skin cleansers will not give you enough hydration. If you are late 30s onwards and have bone dry skin, opt for a cleanser for more mature skins as it will allow you to not have to use super rich moisturisers which could cause you to become congested.
If you just break out now and again, but have a oily skin, use a foaming or cream cleanser for normal to oily skin, and just keep a ‘acne’ cleanser to use on the breakouts when they occur.
Cleanser’s containing acne fighting ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and glycolic acid will strip your skin. If you must use these products, use them only on the breakouts as your second cleanser after you use a gentler cleanser on the rest of your face, or you will find your self with a stripped skin which is shiny, that does not hold foundation as it slips off your plastic looking and feeling face, and the pimples though dry, are extra red.
What ever you do NEVER buy a all in one scrub and cleanser – it will destroy your skin faster than anything else you can do to it.
HOW TO CLEANSE
The actual act of cleansing is really important.
Some skincare companies sell what I call double cleansers – the first cleanser is a oil based cleanser to lift and remove makeup and the second cleanser is to do a deep cleanse. This style of cleanser is pure genius. They really get your skin clean and also make you have to cleanse twice!
But if you do not have one of these cleansers, I recommend you cleanse your skin twice anyway, as the first cleanse removes the makeup and grime, and the second cleanse removes what the first cleanse left behind.
If you like to wear a lot of makeup, or work in the city, or work outdoors, I recommend you do the following to really get your skin clean. Massage your face – and I mean massage, olive oil if you have dry skin or coconut if you have problem skin – or even better flaxseed oil for any skin type, into your face, neck and décolletage. Massage so you get the blood flowing and all of your makeup looks like you have just walked out of a horror movie all over your face. Really work the oil into your skin. Now either jump into the shower, or grab a face washer and remove. Now massage cleanser into your face to remove the loosened dirt and oil – if need be cleanse twice, giving yourself a really good massage. This will get the blood flowing, be anti ageing, healing and detoxing. Ideally you should have a shower as the heat from the water opens the pores and allows the cleanser to get in and work its magic.
A beauty therapist friend of mine who has amazing skin learnt a trick from her grandmother which she practices daily. Using her cream cleanser, and using a lot, she massages her face, neck and décolletage for 20 minutes every night before removing the cleanser. She swears that it cures acne, and keeps her face young. It definitely keeps her face young! But I know I personally am pressed to cleanse for 20 minutes nightly – I am usually to keen to get to bed!
If oil first and then cleanser second is too much to do because you want to go to bed. Cleanse the skin twice thoroughly concentrating on the problem areas – massaging. If you find that your skin starts to break out even more in these areas than it did before – this is good – it is bringing the problem to the surface! But back off then on the massaging a bit so that you do not end up with all of it coming up in one go! (it needs to come to the surface for it to break up and clear up)
If you are very lined and your face lacks firmness, massaging will lift and tone your face, you will notice a improvement within a week!
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