The act of cleansing your skin may seem rather simple, but as one of the most important skincare steps there are several factors to consider. All cleansers are not created equal, and the wrong formula or ingredients can actually do more harm than good. According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Natalie Curcio of Curcio Dermatology in Nashville, Tennessee, “Washing your face twice daily is incredibly important for anti-aging and your overall health—and the ideal cleanser should leave the skin feeling clean, hydrated and soft.”
The ultimate goals of cleansing
It goes without saying that the end-result of washing your face should be clean skin—but this seemingly straightforward skincare step can do a lot more for skin rejuvenation. “Cleansing also helps prevent clogged pores, remove excess oil and makeup, and refresh the skin. In addition, cleansing serves as preparation for your skincare regimen so anti aging cream and serum can penetrate better,” Dr. Curcio explains.
What should a cleanser NOT do?
Equally as important as what a cleanser should do is what it should not do. While it may seem like a cleanser with active exfoliating ingredients is a great way to save a skincare step, Dr. Curcio advises shying away from daily-use cleansers with alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids (including glycolic, lactic and other fruit acids, as well as salicylic acid and willow bark extract), because these ingredients are extra-powerful in sloughing away skin. “Using these products too frequently can cause irritation, breakouts and a stinging feeling when you apply products afterwards. Those with normal-to-oily skin should save these for once or twice a week, and those with sensitive skin should limit use to even less often.”
Why it’s so important to cleanse at night?
“In the evening, cleansing is essential to remove the excess oil, sweat, makeup and pollutants that have accumulated over the course of the day,” says Dr. Curcio. “Without removing surface impurities, the skin cannot regenerate while you sleep due to oxygen deprivation and the formation of free radicals.”
Is it necessary to cleanse in the morning?
This is a matter of much skincare debate, but Dr. Curcio believes an AM cleanse helps reveal a soft, clear, radiant complexion. “Washing your face in the morning creates a fresh palette that is prepared for products such as moisturizer and sunscreen, and smoother skin for better makeup application.”
The cleanser ingredients you should avoid
An effective cleanser doesn’t have to be harsh on the skin, and Dr. Curcio recommends avoiding these specific ingredients:
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES): These foaming agents can strip the skin of its beneficial oils and cause an imbalance of oil production that leaves the skin excessively oily, extremely dry or irritated.
- Parabens: Primarily used as preservatives, these compounds may contribute to hormonal imbalances
- Synthetic fragrances: These ingredients serve no purpose other than giving a product an appealing scent, and many have been linked to allergies, skin disease, headaches and other health issues. Dr. Curcio adds, “The law doesn’t require companies to list the specific ingredients used in their fragrance mixture, and this is especially important when choosing a cleanser that is being used around the eye area to avoid irritation.”
Why DefenAge’s 1-Step Multi-Cleanse is an ideal cleansing option?
Gentle enough for sensitive skin as well as twice-daily use, DefenAge’s 1-Step Multi-Cleanse does more than just dissolve makeup (including waterproof mascara), excess oil and impurities deep within the pores. This innovative formula transforms from a gel to a nourishing milk with the addition of water and provides the skin with prebiotics that help promote the skin’s natural balance of bacteria. Free of parabens, fragrance and harsh foaming agents, this luxurious cleanser leaves the skin clean, soft, hydrated and prepared for skincare products that follow.
Dr. Curcio’s tips for optimal cleansing:
A few simple tweaks to your face-washing technique can help you maximize the benefits of your cleanser.
- Incorporate massage: Using your fingertips to apply light pressure using small circular motions can result in more thorough cleansing and provide your skin with a healthy boost of circulation.
- Take note of water temperature: Hot water strips the skin of its natural oils, which can compromise the skin’s barrier and lead to dryness. Instead, use lukewarm water when cleansing and rinsing.
- Don’t over-cleanse: Cleansing twice daily is enough to keep the skin free of impurities. Washing more frequently can disrupt the skin’s balance and cause dryness or excess oil production depending on skin type.
- Apply moisturizer before skin is thoroughly dry: According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s best to apply moisturizer while skin is still damp after cleansing.