How to Cleanse Your Skin

  • September 25, 2014

One of the most important beauty tips you can receive is how to properly cleanse your skin.  And of all the beauty tips you receive this is probably written about the most often, with the widest variety of options.  So how do you know which one is best?


To properly answer that question, you need to know your skin type: oily, normal/combination, dry, sensitive or sun-damaged. 

Keeping It Simple

The best cleansing advice is to keep it simple.  Find a good cleanser that you like and can afford, that your skin responds well to and use it.  The product you use can be organic, herbal, or foaming, just make sure you stick with it.

Avoid bar soaps because they will dry out your skin. Skincare experts have proclaimed for years that, "soap should only ever touch your skin from the neck down." This is great advice. Most cleansers contain oil, water and "surfactants." This is where knowing your skin type comes in handy: the oil dissolves oil on your face, surfactants dissolve dirt and makeup and the water washes it all away.  Another ingredient to avoid would be surfactants such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate.  These ingredients are drying and irritating and for most skin types can be very drying.

Make sure you don’t clean your face too much or too often.  Most skincare experts agree washing your face at night should be enough.  Studies have shown that people who wash their face with soaps in the morning are about 50% less protected when they go out in the sun because soaps strip the lipid barrier on the skin.  The recommendation for morning cleansing is tepid water in the morning for dry skin types and a mild cleanser for oily skin types. 

Some experts say you should cleanse your skin with creamy cleansers that are wiped off with a tissue and never put water on your face, while others recommend using water on your face.  Again, what works best for your skin type may be one or the other or a combination of both cleansing methods. 

The Key is Balance

Over-cleansing your skin strips the skin of the oils which keep the skin healthy and balanced.  The result of over-cleansing, skin which feels taut and tight, is a clear sign that you may be over-cleansing or using too harsh a cleanser for your skin type.  Some effects of over-cleansing may include:

  • Rashes – if the skin’s natural barrier is damaged, products that should sit on the skin permeates the skin.
  • Adult acne – A panic response is triggered when you cleanse your skin more than twice a day. This panic sends your oil glands into overdrive. Letting moisturizers sit on top of the skin and don’t soak in can also cause a flare up of acne.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis – flaking red scales around the scalp and on the t-zone.

The purpose of cleansing your skin is to remove the dirt, grime, oil and makeup so pores are not blocked.   Using a strong, irritating cleanser will strip away not only the grit and grime but the beneficial oils of the skin.  A cleanser with strong surfactants may also change the level of acidity on the skin which acts as a barrier to keep out bacteria.  The most important thing to remember is if your cleanser leaves your skin squeaky clean and feeling taut, then you are probably using a cleanser too harsh for your skin type.

Your Face is NOT the Kitchen Sink​

There’s no need to scrub hard at your face and excessive pulling and tugging may actually cause premature wrinkles, it can also aggravate the skin by pushing dirt and bacteria deeper into the pores.    Never wash your face with water that is too hot or too cold.  Extreme temperatures can cause broken capillaries, dehydrate skin or even aggravate pimples. 

The Best Technique for a Clean, Glowing Face

Remove makeup with a proper make-up remover.  Use warm water to loosen dirt and clogged pores. Use a dime-sized bit of cleanser on your wet palms and lather it before applying to your face.  Do not scrub; instead massage the lather or foam onto your face in a gentle circular motion.  While you’re at it, give yourself a little mini-face lift by washing your face using circular movements – upward and outward, from nose outward toward your ear. This facilitates blood flow in your face which will improve your complexion while allowing the cleanser to penetrate deep into your skin.

Rinse your face with lukewarm water, not rinsing thoroughly might leave residues behind that can block pores.  Pat your face dry with a non-abrasive towel.  Never use the same towel to dry your body and your face.  It defeats the whole purpose of keeping unwanted residues off your face if you’re using one bath towel.

Keeping your cleansing routine simple is key to a strong beauty regime, one that can be followed for years. It will allow your skin to remain healthy, and have few, if any, problems.  It will save you time and money in the future because you are setting a consistent routine and allowing your skin to perform better. 

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