Why Should You Wash Your Face (and Body)?
Cleansing is the first step in any effective skin care routine and cleansing at night is essential to keeping skin healthy. When you cleanse, you are allowing the skin's natural repair process to take place.
Environmental pollutants and impurities, makeup and product buildup can destroy the natural oils that act as a protective barrier for our skin.
This can lead to many issues that speed up the aging process including:
- Collagen Breakdown
- Cell Damage
- Skin Cancer
These toxins can also create a physical barrier that prevents products from penetrating properly.
How Should You Wash Your Skin?
When you are washing your skin, you want to remove your makeup, pollution, and other impurities without compromising the integrity of the skin barrier itself.
Some important tips to remember:
- Wash your hands first, before cleansing your face.
- Use lukewarm or cool water and avoid hot water as this can cause redness and exacerbate inflammation especially with sensitive skin.
- Avoid harsh exfoliants. A washcloth is a gentle exfoliator that you can do daily. But for stronger chemical or mechanical exfoliators, 1-3x per week is plenty.
- Dry your face with a clean washcloth. I recommend using a new washcloth every night or flipping the washcloth, so each side is used once.
When Should You Cleanse?
Evening is the most valuable time of the day to cleanse your face and body because products are up to 60% more effective during rest and relaxation. Also, your skin has the accumulation of all the dirt and debris and makeup from the day that you need to remove it before bed.
In the morning, you can certainly cleanse again, but a quick rinse with water will also suffice as you are just removing residue from the products you applied the evening before.
What Cleanser Should I Use?
There are many cleansers on the market and depending on what your skin needs on any given day; it is helpful to have a few on hand. Between testing new ones and my go-tos, I have about 10-12 on rotation.
Below is a breakdown of cleanser types and what skin conditions they treat:
While technically not cleansers, these are great as a first step in a double cleanse if you are wearing heavy or waterproof makeup.
Oil and Balm Cleansers
These are great for troubled, acneic skin. They dissolve the excess sebum (oil dissolves oil) and protect the skin without stripping it. These are also great for makeup and sunscreen removal.
One of my very favorite treatments is to use Environ’s Pre-Cleansing Oil, followed by their Hydrating Clay mask. The oil breaks down the impurities and the clay pull them out of the skin.
Milky and Creamy Cleansers
These are good for dry, dehydrated, or sensitive skin. They are hydrating and comforting and gently support the skin barrier.
These work well for oily skin. They give you that ‘squeaky clean’ feeling without disrupting the acid mantle. These are great for men as well.
Gentle Exfoliating Cleansers
These are great boosters to incorporate into your routine 1-3x per week depending on what other methods of exfoliation you are using. For instance, if you are using a Biologique Lotion P50 Exfoliating Toner, daily, you do not need to use these more than 1X per week.
Do not forget about your body. Our skin is the body’s largest organ. Stretched out, it measures about 2 square meters with only a small percentage dedicated to our face. And 25% of our body’s immune system is contained within the skin - it regulates temperature and has a vital function in acting as an immune gatekeeper, protecting our organs. A quick shower with a gentle cleanser is all you need if you do not want to spend a lot of time.