The importance of a good cleansing routine can never be over estimated. In my line of work, however, I come across many women who simply do not pay enough attention to this simple, yet vital, part of their beauty regimen.
Before we get into the art of developing a good cleansing routine, let’s talk about what your skin does for you, each day.
The skin is your largest organ, responsible for a multitude of functions including protection and temperature regulation. The skin also acts as a sophisticated warning system for your body.
Your skin is your first defence against external stimuli, including pollution in the atmosphere. It is therefore vital that you provide your skin with the tools to function at optimum levels to perform said functions.
Your skin has a slightly acidic pH and it is very important that you find the product that keeps the pH balance of your skin at optimum levels, which is between 4.5 & 5.5. The reason for this, is that a slightly acidic pH level helps to keep bacteria at manageable levels and prevent this bacteria from causing harm to your body. With all the make up we put on our skins, the pollution and UV exposure that we subject our skin–and especially our faces–to means that we have to correctly cleanse and moisturise our skins on a daily basis to maintain skin health.
Using a product that does not help to maintain an acid pH means that your skin will have to work that much harder to do so and can often result in dehydration and trans-epidermal water loss. This can have significant effects on the way your make up looks on your face and how well it lasts. Dehydrated skin means less suppleness and as a result your make up can be prone to caking and creasing, highlighting wrinkles and imperfections instead of masking them.
If you have an oily complexion, using a poorly suited cleanser can stimulate further oil production which means that your make up does not have longevity and will dictate that you spend more time than you should touching up your face as the day wears on. Excess oil on the skin will cause your make up to “slide” off your face in places, making it look streaky.
There are many great cleansers on the market to suit all budgets and needs. The key is finding the right one. To do this I would advise consulting a professional skin care therapist and having your face mapped, so that you can make an informed choice regarding your cleanser. Skin professionals are trained to look at the skin and interpret what they see on the surface so that they can treat the condition in the dermis. This is the key to great skin health. It is simply not sufficient to treat the symptom, or what you seen on the surface of your skin. You need a product that acts in the living tissue of the skin, the dermis, to correct what manifests on the skin surface. The first step in doing this is cleansing.
A good cleanser will be powerful enough to get rid of make up and all grime and environmental pollutants that accumulate on your skin throughout the course of the day, yet gentle enough that it does not strip your skin of it’s natural oils.
This is a fundamental step because you need your skin clean and correctly prepped to accept whatever products you put on your skin that need to penetrate the epidermis, which is not a simple task! Your skin is made to keep harmful bacteria out, so getting product into your skin is not as simple as rubbing things onto it. Moisturisers and serums must be in the correct formulation to penetrate the epidermis before they can get to the dermis to do what they are meant to.
The first step in your cleansing routine must be to remove any waterproof eye makeup. An inexpensive pharmacy or supermarket eye make up remover will do the trick. If you have budget constraints, spend your money on a good cleanser.
Next, you must cleanse your skin, twice. This is why a gentle yet effective cleanser is important, one that will not strip your skin of it’s natural oils and one that will reinforce you’re skin’s acid mantle.
The first wash will get rid grime and the majority of make up, as well as your eye make up remover. The second wash will ensure all traces of make up and environmental pollution and bacteria have been removed and your skin will be well prepped for the necessary moisturisers and serums.
Washing at night cannot be over emphasised as this is the time of day when your skin undertakes one of it’s most important functions: repair. Help your skin to do this by providing it with a clean and pH regulated environment.
Some of my favourite cleansers are: Dermalogica’s Special Cleansing Gel, Nimue’s Cleansing Gel, Neostrata’s Facial Cleanser and Environ’s Original Gentle Cream Cleanser. These skin companies have a variety of cleansers to suit all skin types and are available through trained skin professionals only. The benefit of speaking to a skin health professional is that you will eliminate the guess work and therefore wasting money on products that are not suited to your particular skin.
Skin professionals are trained to diagnose what skin type you have as well as any skin conditions and they are therefore more suited to prescribing a treatment plan that will yield tangible results.
Never be afraid to ask a skin professional for her certificate of product training or to see her credentials. If in doubt, ask for references or make an appointment to see someone else.
Furthermore, because of the levels of active ingredients in salon products, they must be prescribed. Off the shelf products simply do not have sufficient levels of active ingredients in them to be effective at dermal level. This means that you are only treating the surface of your skin, which is simply not sufficient if you have concerns–like dehydration, pigmentation or acne–that need fixing.
Results driven long term skin health treatment starts in the living tissue. Don’t waste your time with anything less.
Your skin is your largest organ and in my opinion, skin care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
In our next instalment, we will talk about toning your skin and choosing the right moisturiser and why these two things are so important.
Thank you for stopping by!