Facial cleansing wipes, a dirty skin problem

Facial cleansing wipes are the cause of so many problematic skins, plus, they are a massively unsustainable – so why are women using these things?

I have never really understood face wipes.

I understand the need for nappy wipes, they clean a baby’s bottom when you change a nappy, and then you wash baby’s bottom at night.

When the beauty industry decided that face wipes were a great idea – yes, they are – if you want to take your makeup off at work, and put on a new face to go out, and then when you come home you cleanse it properly.

Or they are great when you are on a flight, where it is a challenge to wash your face in a tiny sink. Basically, the wipes are great when there is no water, or you need to remove makeup fully dressed!

But for some reason, someone in the marketing department of a large skincare product company thought that they could increase their bottom margin by telling us that we should use these instead of cleansers.

Please note; I say skincare product company, not skincare company – as serious skincare companies who create therapist only products, would never think that face wipes were ever a great idea!

I have seen a massive change in the health of girls skins today – and it is not a good one.

Beauty blogger Caroline Hirons says: “I can spot a woman that uses a cleansing cloth a mile off, it just looks like they haven’t washed their face properly. There’ll be residue around the hairline and her skin will look like it’s in dire need of some exfoliation.”

Sarah Chapman, beauty specialist, skincare expert and founder of Skinesis agrees: “I see a lot of women with skin that’s become blocked, sensitized and covered in rashes because of cloths come into my clinic. In a nutshell, I am not a fan.”

The reason for cleansing wipes’ aggravating nature is tri-fold.

Firstly, most wipes contain alcohol, to help the wipe hold onto ingredients. Alcohol is drying and irritating to the skin.

Secondly, they don’t actually clean the face completely as they don’t lift off oil and sebum and won’t remove dirt or makeup in its entirety and tend to leave a residue on the skin.

Thirdly, the ingredients and chemicals – including emulsifiers and surfactants used not just to clean but to keep the cloths moist but preserved – are extremely irritating for the skin.


Plus to get the wipe to clean the skin to any level, you are rubbing it. This not only over stimulates the skin, but when you have acne, it spreads the infection, and if you are trying to keep your face toned and youthful, you are pushing and pulling at it.

“I desperately wish people would wash their face properly. Wipes are for bums. Imagine never washing your bottom without water,” says Hirons. Cleansing cloths as serious skincare? “Never,” she says.

I totally agree!

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