If I had to choose my most important tips for glowing skin, cleansing the face daily would most definitely be one of my top three. People often give very little thought to whether they need to cleanse their skin or what product they are using to cleanse their face. They forget that their skin defend itself daily from pollution, free radicals, bacteria and toxins. They also assume that as long as they are washing their face, since a cleanser is washed off, there is less importance placed on the quality of the cleanser. In reality however, proper facial cleansing is critical to supporting the health of your skin. 

Why do I need to wash my face daily?

“I’m too tired to wash my face at night.”

I know you are, but in order to have healthy skin you NEED to wash your face daily. Think of the daily accumulation of oil, bacteria, makeup and pollutants on your skin - do you really want to go to bed with this on your face? Sleeping with makeup clogs your pores and allows bacteria to proliferate overnight. Pollutants and other bacteria will adhere to the skin and damage your skin. If you are prone to breakouts, not cleansing at the end of the day can exacerbate breakouts. Cleansing your skin allows it to regenerate, keep pores unclogged and skin radiant and clear.

Why are foaming cleansers that leave my skin squeaky clean a no-no?

Washing your face with water alone will not adequately cleanse your skin and although we love the feeling of suds on the face, they are not good for our skin. Those bubbles are created by SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) a harsh chemical and detergent which strips your skin of essential moisture. We actually NEED oil in our skin for it to properly function. Although we may need to control the oil, stripping the skin may leaving it prone to sensitivity, excessive oil production, acne, dryness, itching, flaking, infection and premature aging. If your cleanser is too harsh, your moisturizer cannot correct its irritating effect on the skin, so choose your cleanser wisely.

How does the skin work?

Our skin is the largest organ and our body’s first line of defense against environmental pollutants and bacteria. The skin’s acid mantle acts as a protective barrier that is a slightly acidic mixture of sebum (oily) and perspiration that is essential to healthy skin. When this protective barrier is stripped away, bacteria and irritants are able to penetrate the skin. Those struggling with acne and difficult-to-manage skin are prone to having a more alkaline pH. Gentle is key! Washing with a harsh cleanser can increase your skin’s alkalinity causing it to be more vulnerable to irritation and infection.

Based on my skin type, what type of cleanser should I be using?

MILK:  The creamy lotion formulation of cleansing milks (which does not actually contain milk) are most suitable for normal, dry, sensitive and mature skin types. Cleansing milks won't strip the skin but will effectively dissolve makeup and impurities, soothe and hydrate the skin leaving it soft and supple.

GEL: If you like the foaming feeling of a cleanser, this is your best bet. Cleansing gels are formulated to dissolve oil and dirt and they leave skin feeling more 'squeaky clean'. Gel cleansers are best for oily and combination skin types.

For those with acne or prone to breakout, ensure that the gel cleanser is gentle. Although you may like the 'squeaky clean' drying effect of a cleanser believing that it will remove the oil that is causing the breakout, this is not the case. Foaming cleansers will further aggravate your skin leaving it dry, flaky and irritated. When you strip away beneficial oils, your skin over-compensates for the lack of its natural moisture by creating more oil!

OIL: It may sound crazy to cleanse your skin with oil but it is important to remember that oil dissolves oil by drawing unwanted oil and dirt from the skin. It also removes makeup (including waterproof mascara) without leaving a greasy residue or squeaky clean feeling. This is my favourite method of facial cleansing.

There are many theories of how to oil cleanse: apply oil onto dry or damp skin and then remove with a dry or wet face cloth. Choose the method that you like best.

What skin-nourishing oils are ideal for cleansing?

Organic olive squalene, seabuckthorn, jojoba, sunflower, castor, avocado, apricot, grapeseed, sunflower and almond oils are all good choices, depending on your skin type. Coconut oil may be a good alternative for some, comedogenic (may clog your pores) for others. Creating a blend of more than one oil based on your skin type is also an option.

Do I need to cleanse my skin in the morning?

If you need to choose between cleansing at night or in the morning, night time cleansing is most important but morning cleansing removes any dirt or bacteria that accumulated on your face while you were sleeping.

How I like to wash my face:

1. Apply cleansing oil with clean hands onto dry skin of my face, neck and décolleté to dissolve my makeup and any impurities. If I am wearing heavier makeup, I will oil cleanse twice.

2. Massage the oil using upward strokes to lift the fine hairs at the surface of the skin and deliver the oil into the follicle to dissolve built-up sebum and dirt.

3. Follow with a rinse of lukewarm water (never hot or cold - this is dehydrating and irritating to the skin).  

4. Dry skin with a clean face cloth. Family hand towels can house germs and bacteria so I keep a stack of face cloths under the sink and use a new one each time I wash my face to avoid redepositing dirt and bacteria right back on my skin.

5. Since I'm too tired to wash my face at bedtime, I do my facial cleansing in the early evening (sometimes after dinner) to avoid the "I'm too tired to wash my face" feeling.

To clear, radiant skin.....happy cleansing

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