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This Is How You Should Be Cleansing Your Skin

Learn all about proper facial cleansing and what you should be doing to improve this important step in your skincare routine.

This Is How You Should Be Cleansing Your Skin

Introduction.

Cleansing your skin is the cornerstone of any skincare routine. You need to cleanse your skin to rid it of dirt, pollutants, and bacteria and thoroughly prep it for the next step of moisturization. It seems simple enough- just wash your face, and you’re good to go. However, improper cleansing techniques are something I encounter all too often among my facial clients, and they can have a dramatic impact on the health and appearance of your skin. In this post, I’ll go over some key things to be aware of when it comes to cleansing and my personal technique for healthy, glowing skin.

 

Avoid cleansers with harsh ingredients.

The biggest mistake I find that people make is choosing a cleanser with ingredients that are too harsh for their skin. Cleansers that contain ingredients like sulfates (SLS/sodium laurel sulfate, SLES/sodium laureth sulfate), alcohol, artificial fragrance, and other irritants can strip your skin of its natural oils. Sulfates, in particular, which work by breaking down lipids (fats) in the stratum corneum, which is your skin’s outermost layer, can have a profound drying effect on your skin.

This triggers your skin to produce more oil to compensate, leading to a vicious cycle of over-cleansing and drying out your skin. As a result, you may find yourself needing more and more moisturizers to combat the dryness, further exacerbating the issue. It's crucial to select a gentle cleanser that effectively cleans without disrupting your skin's natural balance.

 

Use cleansers that have the correct pH.

PH (which stands for potential of hydrogen) measures the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution, which determines the acidity or alkalinity of the solution. The pH scale ranges from 0, which is the most acidic, to 14, which is the most alkaline; 7 is considered neutral. Your skin thrives best when it is at a 5 on the pH scale, which is mildly acidic. This acidity is kept in balance by your skin’s acid mantle, which is a thin protective layer made up of sebum and amino acids. The purpose of the acid mantle is to protect your skin from bacteria, microorganisms, irritants, and allergens and to maintain its moisture balance.

When you apply a substance to your skin that is above a 5 on the pH scale, it will disrupt your acid mantle and weaken your skin’s natural barrier function. Unfortunately, many facial cleansers, especially ones that use sulfates, have a much more alkaline pH- typically around an 8. With long-term use, this is a recipe for dull, dry skin, acne, irritation, and redness.

 

Stop over-cleansing your skin.

Thoroughly cleansing your skin is so important to your skin’s health. Throughout the day, you are exposed to a ton of pollutants, dirt, and bacteria that accumulate on the surface of your skin. If you do not remove these impurities, they can clog your pores and cause breakouts. Your skin is continuously shedding dead cells, and cleansing will remove these, along with excess oil. Additionally, cleansing your skin preps it to enhance product absorption of your moisturizer.

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, though. When you cleanse your skin more than it needs, you will begin to disrupt your skin’s barrier and remove the oils it needs to function properly. I believe that you only need to cleanse your skin once a day, and that would be at the end of the day before bed. Your skin does not accumulate toxins overnight the way it does during the day, so in my opinion, cleansing again in the morning tends to be overkill.

 

Choose the right cleanser for your skin.

When choosing a cleanser, there are a few key things to check to make sure it is a good fit for your skin. You want to ensure you are avoiding harsh ingredients, particularly sulfates; these can be listed on ingredient labels as SLS, sodium lauryl sulfate, SLES, or sodium laureth sulfate. It is also best to avoid alcohol, which is very drying, and artificial fragrance, which is typically listed as ‘fragrance’.

Additionally, you want to make sure that the cleanser is pH balanced and slightly more acidic, meaning it is about a 5 on the pH scale. Some cleansers will list the pH, but you can always purchase pH test strips and test for yourself. Remember, if the pH is 6 or higher, that will disrupt your skin’s natural barrier function.

When I designed our Fountain Of Youth Cleansing Clay, ensuring the pH was balanced was crucial. The formula is a blend of oils, Kaolin clay, and apple cider vinegar. Oil does not have a pH because the pH scale is specifically based on the behavior of water as a solvent. Kaolin clay has a pH of about 5 when mixed with water, and apple cider vinegar has a slightly more acidic pH of about 3. Water has a pH of 7, so when you wash your face, the combination of ingredients will bring the total pH to 5, which is perfectly balanced and keeps your skin in perfect harmony.

 

Create an evening cleansing ritual.

As I mentioned, it is best to cleanse your skin once daily, which should always be in the evening. You want to make sure you are removing all the impurities from the day because your skin naturally repairs and regenerates itself overnight. While you sleep, your skin is hard at work, increasing cellular turnover and collagen synthesis, and having clean skin allows these processes to occur without obstruction.

Take some time in the evening to unwind while you cleanse away the day from your skin, and make sure to follow up with a moisturizer. I always use our Holy Grail Face Oil.

 

Simplify your morning cleansing routine.

In the morning, your skin should need nothing more than a quick splash of water. Some people's skin may produce a little extra oil overnight, so if you feel you need a bit more, I recommend using water and a clean washcloth to gently wipe your face. Follow it up with some moisturizer, and you are all set for the day! I have had many facial clients whose skin improved by switching their morning cleanse to this method, and it is what I personally swear by as well.

 

Conclusion.

Rethinking your cleansing routine can significantly improve your skin's health and appearance. You can maintain a more balanced, radiant complexion by cleansing less frequently, using more gentle, pH-balanced products, and timing your routine correctly. Remember, when it comes to skincare, sometimes less is more.

 

References.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19467032/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30130782/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8917825/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605222/


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