Do you know best way to wash your face and which products to use? Dermatologists say that there are several ways to cleanse the face, but the ingredients that work for one person may not work for someone else. What’s more, there is a barrage of new products to choose from.
To help you decide which methods and tools for cleansing the skin are best for you, dermatologist Zoe D. Draelos, M.D., clinical associate professor in the department of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C., discusses skin regimens that are appropriate for each skin type.
“There are an overwhelming number of facial cleansing products, implements and tools available today. The most important thing an individual can do to determine the best facial cleansing routine is to visit a dermatologist who can provide recommendations based on the patient’s skin type and lifestyle,” said Dr. Draelos.
According to Dr. Draelos, there are three methods to cleanse the face:
cleansers and tools.
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Dermatologists don’t recommend the use of soap on the face. In particular, a type of deodorant soap, comber, contains fragrance and harsh detergent, which is more suitable for the body.
Mild soap-free cleansing bars composed of synthetic detergent, called syndets contain a low pH. A low pH is more acidic, so it doesn’t disturb the acid coating of the skin. A high pH, which is more alkaline, would disturb the skin’s acid mantle and thus irritate the skin. However, facial cleansing bars may not remove oil from an oily complexion. Therefore, liquid facial cleansers would be more suitable for this skin type.
“Lipid-free cleansers are best for patients with excessively dry or sensitive skin,” said Dr. Draelos. “However, they are not very effective at removing oil or environmental dirt and are only recommended where minimal cleansing is needed.” Ingredients in lipid-free cleansers include glycerin, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, sodium laurel and sulfate, among others. Dermatologists don’t recommend this type of cleanser for skin with acne because the product would moisturize the skin.
Cleansing creams contain water, mineral oil, petrolatum and waxes. They are best for those with dry skin. Cleansing creams cleanse the skin as well as remove cosmetics.
Abrasive scrubs not only cleanse the skin but also exfoliate it. “Scrubs were developed after it was found that exfoliating produced smoother skin,” stated Dr. Draelos. “The challenge with abrasive scrubs is that the scrubbing granules can cause irritation, redness or slight wounds on the face.”
Those with sensitive skin should not use harsh, abrasive scrubs that contain, among other ingredients, aluminum oxide particles and ground fruit pits. But even those with sensitive skin may use a mild facial scrub that contains polyethylene beads or sodium tetraborate decahydrate granules, added Dr. Draelos.
Skin Cleansing Tools
Skin cleansing tools were developed for those who want to achieve thorough facial cleansing. “Individuals who use implements or tools with cleansers often feel that they are getting a deeper clean, but cleansing involves the chemical interaction of the cleanser with the skin accompanied by the physical act of scrubbing,” said Dr. Draelos. “Dermatologists can help individuals select the appropriate implement or tool to include in a good facial hygiene routine.”
This implement helps cleanse and exfoliate the skin. Non-woven, polyester fiber sponges are too harsh on the skin. However, woven mesh sponges are appropriate for most skin types, are gentler, and contain a mild cleanser.
Disposable facial cleansing cloths release a foaming cleanser when wet. “The recent addition of humectants and emollients to these cloths can decrease the damage to the skin’s natural barrier that occurs during cleansing and help smooth the skin,” stated Dr. Draelos. “These ingredients also are especially beneficial for those of us with dry skin who need to wash frequently.”
Loose, open-weave cloths help exfoliate the skin and are recommended for sensitive skin. Tight or closed-weave cloths also exfoliate the skin but to a greater extent. These are recommended for oily skin.
The cleansing pouch contains two fiber cloths with different size holes. The Size of the hole determines the amount of cleanser that is released onto the skin.
Face Brush Individuals can use the facial cleanser they choose with this electric cleansing brush that contains an oscillating brush head with soft bristles.
“While each of these cleansers and tools offers unique advantages, ultimately, working with a dermatologist to determine the skin’s tolerance for certain cleansing ingredients is the best way to keep facial skin clean and healthy,” said Dr. Draelos.
SOURCES: American Academy of Dermatology press conference. “Cutting through the clutter: making the most of your facial cleansing routine.” Zoe D. Draelos, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C.