Thursday, 22 August 2013

Skincare Series | Cleansing 101 & Choosing the right cleanser for your skintype

So one thing in life I have always known about basic skincare, is the 3 steps rule 'Cleanse, Tone and Moisturise'. These simple steps in skincare play a very important role in achieving that flawless looking complexion. They may sound basic, and most of us assume its a simple task but the key is finding the right products which are suited for your skin type. Choosing products which are too harsh in chemicals or very heavily scented can easily aggravate your skin and cause breakouts or even an allergic reaction. In today's post, I thought I would put together some basic facts and also a few things you may not have known about Cleansing your face. Keep reading ladies.. I promise you might learn something new!

The whole purpose of cleansing is to remove unwanted bacteria which can build up in the pores causing breakouts and red bumps on the skins surface (and let's face it, no one wants a dirty face). Each day your skin will accumulate bacteria, dirt and sweat and also oils which build up naturally during this time. Therefore, cleansing it thoroughly at least once a day is very important. There are many different opinions on how often you should cleanse your face but it's simply down to what skin type you have. For very oily skin types regular cleansing twice a day is sufficient to remove oil build up. For dry skin types, once a day (preferably before bed) is enough as over-cleansing can easily strip your skin of its natural oils, causing the worlds oxidants like pollution and smoke to attack the skin. It is important to remember that your skin needs its natural oils. These act like a barrier to the skin, protecting it from environmental damage and keeping in moisture. Always use a cleanser with a gentle formula so as not to strip these natural oils.

When it comes to choosing a cleanser for your skin, it's good to know what ingredients to look out for on the bottle and what one's you should avoid. Familiarising yourself with these ingredients will help when picking out a product for your skin type and it's condition.

Look for products which contain Glycerin and Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Glycerin attracts moisture to the skins surface, helping it to feel smooth and soft. AHAs are natural acids found in dairy (lactic acid), sugar (glycolic acid) and citrus fruits (citric acid). These help to loosen dead skin cells and speed up the natural exfoliation process. They also help to unclog pores. 

Avoid using Cleansers which contain Alcohol. Alcohol is extremely harsh on the skin and will remove any natural occurring oils. Toners and spot treatments usually contain small amounts of alcohol to rid the skin of excess oil and impurities. 

There are also various different cleanser options available. Some suit a specific skin type more than others. 

Many people argue that washing your face with just soap and water is not good for your skin. However, using a soap which is especially formulated for the face is fine and it will leave the skin feeling thoroughly cleansed. Look out for products containing glycerin as this will aid in keeping the skin soft. Bath & Body soap and especially anti-bacterial soap is a no no! It will strip the skin and leave your face feeling extremely dry and tight. 

Cream/Balm Cleansers
These work best for normal to dry skin types. Cream cleansers are normally water based so they won't leave a sticky residue on the skin. They contain mostly emollients and cleansing ingredients which would be recommended for normal to dry skin. Balm cleansers are mainly used to help moisturise skin while still cleaning it thoroughly. These are usually great for all skin types except oily/combination.

Gel/Foaming Cleansers
I swear by Gel cleansers! They work extremely well for oily to combination skin types. These usually lather up during use to give the skin a good deep-down cleanse. They contain blemish fighting ingredients to keep breakouts at bay and are formulated to dissolve excess oil build up on the skin. They are also gentle enough to not strip the skin and leave it feeling soft.

Exfoliating Cleansers
Some exfoliating cleansers contain little micro beads which help to remove dead skin cells. These should be used in moderation, a few times a week in place of your daily cleanser. Others simply contain AHAs like Salicylic acid to help new skin cells develop and rid skin of the old dead cells. Usually these cleansers are safe to use on all skin types. 

There are also other options when it comes to cleansing your face like using a mask with purifying or hydrating properties, or simply steaming the skin to remove impurities. All of these cleansers and cleansing methods are gentle enough to use on your skin on a regular basis. With a basic skincare routine like Cleanse, toning and moisturising you can be sure you're giving your skin all the attention it needs. I hope this information will be helpful to you all when choosing a cleanser for your skin!

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