What Is Cleansing?
Skin cleansing is using a facial care product – whether commercially sold or DIY – to wash and cleanse the skin usually after the normal washing of the face using a normal bar soap. Cleansing removes makeup, dead skin cells, oil, dirt, and other types of pollutants from the skin of the face. Skin cleansing also helps to unclog pores and prevent skin conditions such as blackheads and pimples. A cleansing product can be part of a skin care regimen that includes soap, toner, and moisturizer.
Why is Cleansing Important?
Using a skin cleanser is a much better alternative to just washing with bar soap because:
- Bar soaps usually contain a high pH of around 9 to 10, compared to the skin’s surface that is on average around 4.7. This can change the pH balance in the skin that will favor the growth of some types of bacteria including acne.
- Bar soaps contain thickeners so they can be shaped as they are, and these thickeners can clog pores that can lead to acne.
- Bar soaps remove natural oils from the skin that results in water loss.
Other benefits and importance of skin cleansing include:
Removing skin build up. A common benefit of facial cleansing is the removal of dirt, oil, and other unwanted debris from the skin that builds up over time. Throughout the day the skin on your face is continually covered with bacteria, pollutants, viruses, dirt, and old or dead skin cells. Daily facial washing removes these impurities to give the skin a fresh look. Without washing, your skin would be covered with a thick layer of dirt and grime that makes it difficult for other products to penetrate the skin properly.
Boosting hydration. Regular facial cleansing together with a good moisturizer is also a crucial factor in helping the skin maintain a proper level of hydration. Dehydrated skin looks and feels rough, wrinkled, and aged. Cleansing helps manage pH levels of the skin that gives the skin enough water and product retention.
Maintaining clear skin. Tiny glands under the skin produce oil called sebum to protect the skin from the dangers of the environment around. These glands use hair follicles within the skin as a pathway, allowing the oil to reach the skins surface or outer layer to form a barrier that prevents the penetration of bacteria or other harmful agents. However, excessive dirt builds up on the surface can cause blockages of the follicle, trapping sebum, sweat, and dead skin cells. The lack of sebum on the surface of the skin allows bacteria to penetrate the follicle causing inflammation and inviting the growth of acne. Proper skin cleansing clears pores of debris to prevent dirt buildup, allowing the sebum oil to reach the skin surface unimpeded and decreasing the chances of a breakout.
How Often Should You Cleanse Your Face?
Or let’s put it another way aside from how often: What would happen if you stopped washing or cleansing your face? If you completely stopped washing or cleansing your face your pores will become clogged resulting in the development of serious acne. The skin could also experience a combination of severe redness, dryness, and irritation from insufficient hydration. Finally, your skin would appear dirty, oily, greasy, and will show great signs of aging. You would develop an incessant itchiness wherein you would be forced to constantly scratch your face. This could lead to breaks in the skin which serve as entry points for infection.
Wash according to your skin type. While there is no medical proof about the accepted concept of cleansing once in the morning and once in evening or just once at night, all dermatologists agree that too much washing can lead to irritation and a lack of moisture. The rule is to use common sense: Always wash your face after a workout to prevent breakouts, and wash excessively oily skin once in the morning and once at night. For very dry or sensitive skin, cleanse only once daily in the evening.
Different Cleansers You Can Buy
Buy cleanser according to skin type. No matter what kind of skin type you have, make sure the ingredients list on the cleanser does not contain fragrance because this can be irritating. Also, avoid cleansers with parabens (potentially toxic preservatives) or harsh soap that can dry up the skin. Aside from cleansers, if a skin cream, lotion, or foaming formula contains any of the above, you’re better off looking for something to buy. Of course, people with dry skin may prefer formulas with added moisturizers, like glycerin or shea butter, and if you have oily skin, you might want a foaming wash that leaves skin feeling super clean.
If you’re wearing heavy makeup all day, you need to take it off with an oil-based makeup remover. Makeup can’t be removed with just gentle skin cleansers, and makeup that stays all day leads to blocked pores and sits in the future. Whatever cleanser you’re using to remove that makeup, don’t simply buy one because of brand name or covered with marketing promises. Always look for that label, “gentle” or “pH-balanced” and “fragrance-free.” Also look for cleansers that are non-abrasive or that contain microbeads.
For dry skin, cream-based cleansers are heavily suggested, again with gentle ingredients and no fragrance. Moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and shea butter are okay. For normal skin or you’re not sure what skin type you have, a cleanser with gentle pH balance or one with cleansing “water” will do nicely. You want a cleanser that simply removes sebum, grease, dirt, and oil from the skin without being harsh or over-stripping.
For oily skin, foaming cleansers that are gentle and pH balanced will do well, even if you’re naturally oily. If you’re going to choose oil-based cleansers because you don’t want to lose your natural oil, see how your skin reacts to the cleanser you buy before going further. For skin that is prone to acne and spots, again, gentle and pH balanced cleansers will do. Unless your face is heavily pockmarked like the lunar surface, an acne-specific cleanser or other acne medications may leave your skin dry or irritated. You can talk to a dermatologist who can recommend a brand with chemically exfoliating cleansers. You can also look for cleansers with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid with an effectiveness that can rival leave-on treatments for acne.
8 Natural Face Cleansers You Should Try
Coconut Oil Face Cleanser
This one will not strip your skin of its natural oils; coconut oil can cut any shine that appears at the end of the day. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, when you apply coconut oil to your skin it will cut moisture lost through your pores, leaving the skin healthy and smooth. First try by gently massaging a squirt of coconut oil onto your face, about the size of a quarter, for about 30 seconds. Then apply a warm towel onto your face to open your pores. Wait about 15-30 seconds, and then remove the oil by patting with a washcloth.
Apple Cider Vinegar Face Cleanser
Apple cider vinegar will help restore your skin’s pH level balance to help soothe breakouts, prevent clogged pores, and keep skin from becoming too dry or too oily. Its pH of about 5.5 is very close to the ideal pH of human skin. Try it first as a natural skin toner. Mix 1-part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water, and shake well. Apply to a clean face with a cotton ball or pad. Once your skin dries, put on your usual daily moisturizer.
Honey and Lemon Face Cleanser
Honey and lemon combined are a natural moisturizer and antiseptic, a perfect soothing and cleaning combination. The citric acid from the lemon kills acne-causing bacteria, while the enzymes in the citrus help clear away dead skin. Honey is naturally antibacterial and full of antioxidants, which have been proven to prevent acne and slow down your skin’s aging process. Honey is also great if you’re looking for a smooth complexion boost. First try it by combining 2 teaspoons honey and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice. Warm it between your fingers and then smooth a thin layer onto your face and neck. Leave the mixture on until it is dry and then rinse with warm water.
Yogurt is a perfect natural face cleanser because it is rich in protein and lactic acid. Those compounds work together to help detoxify skin. Applying lactic acid regularly encourages your skin to get rid of the dead cells through exfoliation, and protein helps tighten pores, reducing the appearance of fine lines, and hydrating the skin. Gently massage a thin layer of plain yogurt into your clean face using your fingertips. This motion and action will help loosen any dirt or makeup. Leave yogurt on for a couple of minutes and then wash off with warm water and a towel.
Olive Oil Face Cleanser
This star ingredient can also give your face some skin food. Olive oil is a great natural moisturizer for dry skin, and its antioxidants and good fats may also help reduce free radicals, which can relieve irritated or sun burnt skin. First try it by creating a natural, effective night cream with 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup vinegar, and 1/4 cup water and simply mixing everything together thoroughly. It will work to lighten dark spots, kill bacteria, and make your skin smooth and clear.
Other Fruity or Nutty Cleansers
Is your face prone to breakouts like acne or blackheads? Mix a face cleanser made from oils with a high percentage of linoleic acid that helps reduce blemishes by protecting your skin’s surface. You can also try hemp, safflower, or rosehip oils. Safflower and grapeseed oil can help regulate your natural oil production. If you’re suffering from dry skin, you can try macadamia, almond, wheat germ, or avocado oils that are rich in fatty acids and polyphenols. They are very nourishing and help fight aging. Just apply enough oil to cover your face with your fingertips using a circular motion, and hold a warm washcloth over your oil-covered face for a few minutes to open the pores. Then gently wash away using warm water.
Chickpea Powder and Turmeric
Gram flour or chickpea powder has been extensively used as a facial cleanser in the past. It contains natural skin lightening properties. It helps lighten tan and dark patches. It controls excess oil, leaves the skin fresh, softens it, and also fights pimples. Simply take 2 tablespoons of chickpea powder, and then add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, and milk. Use a clean spoon and mix all the ingredients well to form a thin or thick paste depending upon your preference. The consistency of the mixture should not be very thick or runny as it might slip off your skin after application. Once you create a smooth face mask-like consistency, apply it all over your face with a flat face pack brush or clean hands. Leave it for 10 to 20 seconds and then work it into your skin like you would do with ordinary soap or a cleanser. This recipe is good for oily to a combination of skin types.
Oatmeal is a gentle exfoliant. It works by drawing out all the skin impurities and helps in cleansing the pores. It also works as a mild astringent that deeply cleanses the skin without damaging it. It is perfect even for the most sensitive skin. Oatmeal contains a good polymer chain which is made up of oats. It heals the skin quickly. It works as an anti-inflammatory agent and stimulates collagen production in the skin. Simply make a mixture of 1 tablespoon of milk – you can also use buttermilk or regular milk – 1 tablespoon of oatmeal, and a few drops of honey. Add a little water and mix the ingredients into a fine paste. Apply the paste all over your face and neck. Gently create circular motions to make the mixture work as a cleanser and scrub.