Cleansing seems like the simplest and most basic step of our skincare regime yet some of us still get it wrong. I’ve had clients who complain about their skin condition and then only to find out that their face cleanser is the culprit. I for one am guilty of using the wrong type of cleanser in the past. In turn, I had to pay a hefty price with my facial eczema flaring up. Something I hope that none of you would ever need to learn the way that I did. Therefore, here is the right way of cleansing your face;
If it’s the first thing in the morning, you could either choose to wash your face with a gentle cleanser or just with cold water.
Why a gentle cleanser? Well, because our skin has a natural barrier called “acid mantle” and by using harsh foaming cleansers it would destabilise our skin’s pH and therefore disrupt the natural barrier of our skin. Our natural barrier is at 5.5pH and if you’re using a foaming wash that is more alkaline then this would agitate your skin.
There’s a misconception that people with acne-prone skin need to use harsh foaming cleansers that would help strip the oil, leaving the skin feeling “tight” (an astringent effect). This is a completely wrong concept because by stripping away that natural barrier, your skin would overcompensate by producing even more oil and therefore, more problems.
It is best to choose a cleanser that will not leave your face feeling tight. The best type of cleansers are those that leave your skin slightly hydrated after. I guess that’s why there are so many brands that are introducing oils or balm cleansers in the market. Oils and balms may seem counterintuitive but I’ve actually heard from a famous Hollywood aesthetician that the only thing that cleans oil, is oil. I guess there are some truth in that, I mean tea tree oil is great for acne yet gentle and non-intrusive.
For those with ultra sensitive skin like mine, I’ve actually started to only wash my face with cold water in the morning with a muslin cloth. I actually love the concept of muslin cloths simply because my previous Clarisonic brush actually causes my eczema to flare up. Muslin cloth is gentle enough on the skin but also helps the skin with desquamation (getting rid of dead skin cells) by gently exfoliating the skin.
Plus, if you’re washing your face over the basin in the morning – by using a muslin cloth it would actually minimise water splashing all over your bathroom floor. This probably takes time to get use to but after a week or two, your skin would start to readjust and well, start to produce less sebum (natural oil). Plus, I notice that my skin is a little more resilient now as well as I do not constantly break down my skin’s natural barrier. Therefore, my skin wouldn’t need to keep re-stabilising its pH over and over again.
Please make sure to wash you muslin cloth and hang it to dry because leaving it like a blob on a sink/shower actually encourages bacteria to harbour. So if your cloth is smelling a little funky (un-fresh or damped), it’s time to throw it in the machine for a quick wash.
If like me, you use SPF during the day, it’s always important to double cleanse. I always recommend my clients to use micellar water as it is perfect for all skin types and still leave your skin hydrated after cleanse.
Even if you do not wear makeup, it is good to double cleanse. Simply because we are out all day and there are so much pollutants that could get into our pores. Oil sebum + dirt = whiteheads/ blackheads. And we aren’t fans of them!
Make sure you cleanse not only your face but your neck, and the back of your neck too. If I’m feeling a little extra, I would wipe the back of my ears as well. I think those are the areas that we hardly cleanse and we should actually pay the same amount of attention and care to them (or at least try) as we do the rest of our face.
After my first cleanse, I would continue with my second cleanse with a gentle cleanser. I normally massage my milky cleanser onto my skin for about 60 seconds. Then, I’ll place my damped muslin cloth (rinsed under warm water) onto my face and leave it on for a few good seconds. The heat from the muslin cloth helps open up my pores and when I wipe off the product off my skin, it would bring along the dirt from my pores.