Why is cleansing the skin important?

  1. Often in a consultation I hear, “Oh I wash my face with water” or “I use my body soap to wash my face.”  If one were to view the face like a canvas, the cleansing step is like priming the canvas.  In order for the subsequent steps to do their role and part in your routine using the appropriate cleanser for your skin type is absolutely crucial.  Certain ingredients in cleansers such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate are very stripping in nature and end up doing more damage than good.  A cleanser’s main job is to thoroughly clean the skin and create a clean palate for the skin so that the next steps of toning, exfoliating, correcting via serums, moisturizing, and protecting can all be readily accepted by the tissue for optimum efficacy and delivery.

If you suffer from inflammatory conditions such as rosacea with persistent sensitivity and redness the right cleanser choice for you should be an emollient one with lipids and anti-inflammatories in it. Soothing ingredients such as calendula, chamomile, turmeric, and white willow bark to name a few.

If you are suffering from active acne with pustular lesions the right cleanser choice for you should have a combination of benzoyl peroxide (BPO), salicylic acid, AHAs, and anti-inflammatories.  The combination is solely dependent on the severity of the condition, if you are extremely pustular then you definitely need to incorporate benzoyl peroxide in conjunct with salicylic acid.  If you are excessively oily; glycolic acid, salicylic acid, fruit enzymes, and lactic acid combinations are a must.

For anti-aging/pigmentation make sure that your cleanser has ingredients like lactic acid, kojic acid, malic acid, mandelic acid, bisabalol, fruit enzymes.  Pigment inhibitors like Kojic acid are very beneficial in conjunct with lactic acids specifically so that your cleansers can have the ability to correct via mild exfoliation as well as prevent further rapid aging and pigmentation.

While it is important to keep skin condition in mind when choosing the appropriate cleanser with the correct chemical exfoliating ingredients, it is just as imperative that you use the appropriate mechanical exfoliation for your skin type as well.  Always make sure that the exfoliating agent in mechanical or physical exfoliators never have jagged edges (as found in apricot and walnut shells) because these can cause microscopic nicks which can further age the skin as well as aggravate certain skin conditions such as rosace and acne.