Psst..! I’m going to spill the best kept skin secret.
No, it’s not an exotic flower that only blooms at midnight on a leap day nor a daily concoction of raw bitter greens. But you already knew that.
Yes I know, cleansing is hardly exciting. But it is the most important step in any skin care routine.
Cleansing removes everything accumulated on our face throughout the day. If you don’t do it properly, nothing else you use really matters. The best cream would be sitting on skin with residues of makeup, dirt and excess oil and skin debris.
So, what exactly makes a proper cleanse?
The right product
Although all cleansers technically do the same job and only stay on the skin for a relatively short time, they are not all made equal.
When cleansers remove unwanted build-up on our skin, they also remove some of our skin’s natural oils in the process. The very nature of how cleansers works means they can potentially disturb your skin’s natural barrier structure. To prevent this barrier disruption, it is crucial that your cleanser is gentle by being
- Non-stripping – Not removing excessive natural skin oils
- pH-balanced – Close to healthy skin’s natural pH of 4.5 – 5.5
The right method
Now that you have the right cleanser, the next step is to clean correctly.
Firstly, you’d want the water to be lukewarm. Extremely hot or cold temperatures irritate and can worsen inflammation. Apply gentle, circular motions using your fingers. Make sure you spend enough time, about 60 seconds, paying attention to every crevice of your face and neck.
Finally, ensure that your cleanser is rinsed off completely. They should be washed off completely with just water and your fingers, without the need for any tools. Like we talked about earlier, cleansers disturb skin’s natural structure to some extent, so they should not be left on the skin after doing their job.
If you have sensitive skin or are dealing with active breakouts, avoid balm-type cleansers as they many of them require both hot water and rubbing with a cloth to be removed thoroughly. Gadgets with oscillating brushes or silicone heads are not necessary for a thorough job. In fact, their vibrations (no matter how slight) can aggravate reactive skin, which again includes acneic skin or skin with active breakouts.
Hidden in plain sight
So there, the secret was there all along in your skin care routine.
It’s not quite well-known enough, so share this with someone else who cares about their skin today!
Lambers et al., Natural skin surface pH is on average below 5, which is beneficial for its resident flora, Int Journal of Cosmetic Science, pp 359-370, Vol 28, Issue 5, October 2006