This is what a good skin cleanser can do: a lady walks into the room and all eyes turn to her. There’s a sudden lull in conversation because something about her insists on being the center of attention.
You also turn. Every strand of her close cropped hair is in place. Her short black dress is simple and elegant. Her red heels accentuate those long legs. She smiles. She seems to enjoy the attention.
Then it occurs to you. What makes her stand out is that translucent, even toned and flawless skin!
You know you’ve got to do it…and you wait for an opportunity to move close to her.
“Hello”, you say.
She turns with that charming smile, “Hi”.
“Wow. Your skin is absolutely gorgeous. What’s the secret? ”
“My cleanser”, she responds. Then she turns away.
You are confused because you use a cleanser also. Why is your skin still oily (or dry), blemished, acne prone and unevenly toned?! There must be something she knows that you don’t know.
Yes, there is. Using cleaners to remove dirt, makeup and dead skin cell have become normal routine for most women but we often forget that a cleanser is so much more than this. Therefore, choosing one ought to be based on an educated knowledge about what to look out for.
Skin Cleansers for Different Skin Types
Cleaners come in a wide range and there are many varieties to choose from:
- Cleansers with active ingredients are good for oily skin and help improve its general appearance. If used too frequently, they can break out the skin and cause dryness.
- Lotion based cleansers are great for dry skin. Lotions are too gentle for normal to oily skin.
- Alcohol free cleansers work best for the sensitive skin type and the skin that feels dehydrated.
- Fragrance or essential oils are also off limits for sensitive skin.
Cleaners come in the following formulas:
This is a clear gel like liquid with antiseptic, exfoliating properties that deep cleanses. It removes excess sebum and bacteria that can cause acne, leaving your skin clean and without future breakouts.
Use the gel cleanser by dampening your skin first, then gently rubbing until it foams. Rinse without scrubbing your skin.
Skin Type: For Dry to Combination Skin with some oiliness.
This cleanser is thick and looks like cream. It’s a great moisturizer and does not strip your skin from its oils. It thoroughly removes make up and is gentler on the skin than soap.
If you have oily skin though, this is not the product for you because some brands may leave a residue and give you a greasy feel that will leave your skin feeling clogged all day.
Though excellent for sensitive skin, you may want to check the ingredients to be sure they don’t contain some allergy causing agents such as preservatives, fragrances, emollients and the rosin base used to make cream.
Skin Type: It is suitable for sensitive or dry skin types.
This formula would feel light to the touch and when applied and give a thick foamy lather. They are effective for removing buildup of dirt and other impurities.
Skin Type: Oily to Combination Skin Types
An oil cleanser is an ideal formula for breakouts and removing clogged skin and it won’t dry out your skin. This oil cleanser is effective for removing water proof make up. Oil cleaners have anti-inflammatory properties, so it is very good for skin types that are prone to reactions.
Its smooth consistency ensures you don’t have to tug at your skin when cleansing or removing make up.
Another good thing about it is that it’s cheap and natural. It’s also very easy to use.
The downside of this formula is that it may leave some residue of oil on the skin, inhibiting serums and moisturizers from deep penetration. You may want to consider using a gel after cleansing with oil to remove residue.
Skin Type: All except Oily Skin Type
The unique quality that clay has is its ability to absorb excess sebum, making it great for oily skin. Its gentle properties mean you can use it every day without worrying that it will cause breakouts.
This luxurious product draws out the sebum in your pores and gives your skin the moisture and minerals it needs to stay healthy and nourished.
Though used as part of the beauty therapy routine in most spas, you can now enjoy clay cleansers from home and ensure you maintain that facial effect for longer.
Skin Type: Combination and Oily Skin Type
This cleanser is made from micellar water: tiny molecules of oil in water which attracts oil and dirt. It’s really gentle on the skin and doesn’t irritate or dry it out, leaving your skin feeling soft and clean.
Micellar water cleans really well but does not remove water proof makeup or full cover foundation.
It’s really great for fixing stains and makeup blemishes, though. Just pour some on your cotton and swipe clean any runs or slips, without needing to cleanse your whole face.
Before you go out and buy this product, you need to know that it’s not a ‘splash and go’ product. You actually have to use it with cotton wool. Pouring it on the cotton wool activates the ingredients that cleanse the skin.
You don’t need to rinse micellar water out afterwards.
Skin Type: Sensitive to Dry Skin Type
This has the ability to glide on smoothly to the skin. It gently exfoliates to give you a radiant look that won’t irritate. It is an ideal cleanser for sensitive skin. Just mix the powder in water and you are good to go.
Skin Type: Sensitive to Oily Skin Type
Some cleansers now come in bars with little or no soap base. They are rich in nutrients and moisturizers and other skin friendly ingredients that will help build the PH balance of your skin.
Eco friendly, these products are packaged with paper products thereby adding to their growing popularity.
Skin Type: Combination to Oily Skin Type
Sponges, Cloths and Mitts
Sponges, cloths and mitts are made from plant based fiber and can completely remove every trace of dirt, make up and impurities without needing additional cleansers.
Even if you decide to use a different cleanser first, finishing it with a cleansing cloth removes dirt your cleanser doesn’t reach and gently exfoliates, giving you double value.
Most people that use cloths dispose it after every use in order to avoid recycling dirt but it’s okay if you decide to dispose it once a week after several uses.
Remember that you don’t need to use any fabric softeners when cleaning your cloths to avoid rashes or reactions.
Skin Type: Oily to Combination Skin Type
What You Need To Know Before Choosing Your Skin Cleanser
By the time you are done with your cleansing routine, your skin should feel nourished and comfortable. However, every cleanser is made to cater for specific skin needs. So when you choose your cleanser, keep the following in mind:
Don’t go for skin cleansers that say they’re suitable for all skin types because no one skin cleanser suits every skin. This is because every skin is different and has its unique requirement to stay nourished and elastic.
Everybody’s skin falls into any of these five (5) basic types:
Normal Skin Type
This is usually clear and even, with little or no blemishes. This kind of skin does not need any special attention but care must be taken to sustain it.
Combination Skin Type
This puts together the oily, dry and normal skin type, so has a more complex regiment. It is characterized by frequent blackheads and skin that is shiny.
Dry Skin Type
It has little or no pores with a dull complexion. The skin is inelastic with red patches. It often looks rough, scaly, itchy and cracked.
Oily Skin Type
It is characterized by dull, shiny, thick complexion with blackheads, pimples and lots of blemishes.
Sensitive Skin Type
This skin type experiences redness, itching, burning and dryness. If your skin is sensitive, you need to first identify and avoid the irritant trigger.
The irritant may be one or any of the following items: sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), sodium laureth solvent (SLES), bismuth oxychloride or any petrochemicals and synthetic emollients. Be sure to avoid them as much as possible.
Consider them off limits because they are the major causes of inflammation and skin allergies among other negative things.
Below are a few factors to avoid in keeping a clear and healthy skin:
- Avoid any skin cleanser that leaves your skin feeling tight or dry. Your cleanser should give your skin an amazing, moisturized feel and shouldn’t work against the natural balance that your skin has.
- Choose a sulphate-free skin cleanser. It’s usually among the last ingredients listed. If your skin cleanser has this, it can lead to irritated, dried out skin.
- Soap isn’t good enough to act as your skin cleanser. Even though a lot of people use cleansers, you may be surprised at how many more use soap. They feel it is adequate as a skin cleanser.
Irrespective of how luxurious your bar soap feels (and I hear that soap that comes from Paris feels and smells amazing), its important you understand that using it as a skin cleanser isn’t the right decision if you want that great healthy skin you admire in others.
This is because soaps are made with a thick base that makes your skin oily and clogged. The PH balance of soap also tends to dry out the skin.
- Moisture is an important ingredient for radiant and elastic looking skin. If you are doing anything that dries out your skin, then you are certainly doing the wrong thing.
- Top rated brand names or expensive cleansers don’t necessarily mean they are the ones that will work best for your skin. Getting the result you want ought to be your motivation for choosing your skin cleanser. Sometimes, you will have to go through several to find your fit.
How to Make Your Skin Cleanser Work For You
- Don’t use a cleansing wipe because they aren’t effective in getting rid of all dirt, makeup and other impurities.
- As we’ve discussed already, soap is a ‘no-no’ so don’t go there.
- Wipe your face with a facial sponge after cleaning. A soft baby towel or washcloth is just as good.
- If you use a sonic cleaning brush, limit your use to not more than 3 times a week.
- Apply moisturizer, toner or serum while your skin still feels wet within a minute of cleansing. This makes absorption easier thereby making them more effective. Make sure your toner is alcohol free.
Daily Care Routine to Keep Your Skin Healthy
Use a skin cleanser that is for your skin type
Remember to look out for those ingredients that may cause irritation, as we have mentioned already. Cleanse morning and evening. Rub in an upward and outward circular movement to reverse wrinkles.
Follow with a toner to get rid of any residue of dirt or make up
They help to prepare the pores for moisturizing. You can apply some toner on cotton wool and wipe your face and neck, while your skin is still damp.
Pay close attention to the areas on your face that are oilier
Don’t over-stretch your skin by rubbing too hard. Toners usually have pH balancing and antiseptic effects, but you won’t want to buy a toner that contains alcohol or citrus base.
You only need to exfoliate at least once a week to get rid of dead skin cells
Your skin sheds dead cells regularly but they may stay on the surface of your skin. Use a weekly mask, especially those made with clay since they absorb excess oil and help with any acne or black heads.
Exfoliators come in chemical and granules like sugar and salt scrubs. Those with AHA or BHA are usually more effective for deep pore exfoliating. AHA does surface exfoliation while BHA does deep exfoliation and is a better choice if you are prone to skin breakouts.
After exfoliating, you will need to moisturize with a light water based moisturizer. Moisturizing is an important part of your beauty routine because your skin needs moisture to stay healthy and firm.
Constant moisturizing gives your skin a smooth, glass-like glow
It would keep heads turning and other ladies asking you what your secret to a great skin is.
Make sure your moisturizer suits your skin type; whether gel, oil, cream or lotion. Rub in an upward direction and be gentle on the delicate areas of your skin, then wait a little for your skin to absorb it.
If your skin tends to dryness, use a light moisturizer and if it tends to oiliness then a cream based moisturizer will help even-out your skin. Always use a moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or more during the day to prevent cancer.
Your Skin Changes as You Age
Of course, youthful skin has a natural glow and doesn’t need extra help to keep it at top shape. However, when you turn 30 you will begin to notice changes in your skin.
Your skin may feel a little bit drier now, will easily look dull and rough and may manifest conditions like rosacea. You will need to exfoliate more now and moisturise every day to retain that youthful look that came naturally a few years ago.
At 40, you will have to do away with many products your skin could tolerate before because it now has a lower level of resistance and can easily dry out or feel irritated. Your skin produces lower levels of collagen and loses a lot of elasticity, leading to sags and wrinkles.
Entering your 50s means several wrinkles, lines and age spots. 5 decades must manifest themselves and you can never get back the firmness or elasticity you once had, but you can minimise its effects by having a good skin regime and staying out in the sun.
Preserving what elasticity and moisture you have left should be your highest priority when you care for your skin.
Note these needs and add products that can help increase elasticity and firmness to your daily skin care routine.
The best way to know if your skin cleanser is working for you is to check if your skin is comfortable. If there’s any kind of discomfort, you will need to change your cleanser.
You may have to choose more than one cleanser because some have specific functions. Exfoliating cleansers are good for when you feel your skin is dull or clogged up with dirt and other impurities while cream cleansers are great for when your skin feels a bit dry.
You may need an anti-acne cleanser when you have a break out, which happens sometimes due to stress and hormonal changes. Make sure you don’t pick or press though. And if you are prone to outbreaks ensure you use your anti-acne skin cleanser regularly as a preventive measure.
But whatever your choice is, know that it’s important you choose a skin cleanser that will work with your skin type.