Your effective skincare starts with a good cleanser. A cleanser that keeps your skin healthy, nourished and prepares it for the serums or moisturisers to come.
But how exactly do you identify a good cleanser? Is cleaning well all it’s supposed to do? Scroll down and find out more below:
You know that it’s important to wash your face, to rid your skin off pollutants, dirt, oil, etc. For most cleaning jobs, the whole idea is to remove as much as possible.
But does that apply for your skin as well?
Your skin has different needs. It needs to protect you from the bacteria, dirt and pollutants in the environment, and part of its defence system is a layer of oil produced called sebum. Sebum also keeps the good oils — the moisture that keeps your skin looking smooth and healthy — from escaping.
Since your skin needs some oil, you have to achieve a balance when you cleanse it. It’s important to get rid of dirt, dust, pollutants, microorganisms and dead skin cells while leaving behind enough sebum for your skin to stay healthy and keep doing its job.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, how do you choose the right cleanser that does that?
1. Look for pH balanced and Soap-Free cleansers
Did you know: Your skin has a pH level of about 5.5.
It is slightly acidic, which helps your skin retain moisture and keeps germs out. To help maintain your skin’s protective layer, use a cleanser that’s pH balanced (similar pH to that of your skin) and soap-free. If you use a cleanser that’s too alkaline, it will strip your skin of it’s protective barrier, causing you dryness.
2. Use sulphates-free cleanser
You know that squeaky clean feeling you get after washing your face? That’s due to sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), a common sulphate ingredient added to face wash to make it foam. You can also find it in many other personal care products, such as shampoo.
But if you think that you’ll only find it in personal care products, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. SLS is also used in car washes, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers!
The problem with SLS and other sulphates is that it strips your skin of natural oils that your skin actually needs for protection. What’s worse, because it removes your skin’s natural, protective oil, your skin ends up producing more oil (the very thing you’re trying to get rid of) to compensate!
3. Get paraben-free cleansers
You’ll often find parabens in most cosmetics and skin care products. They function as preservatives to keep your products lasting longer.
Parabens may come in the form of butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, methylparaben, or propylparaben. However these so-called “long-chained” parabens can act as estrogens in your body and disrupt hormone signaling.
Why then are they still being used?
Well that’s because its cheap way to ensure that the products have a longer shelf life.
All Medik8 products are free from parabens, what’s more, we always strive to make formulae self-preserving where possible (to avoid the use of preservative altogether)!
4. Go fragrance-free (especially synthetic fragrances)!
From laundry detergent, to shampoo to almost any other household products, you’ll most definitely find that it contains fragrance. Yes you want to smell good, we all do. But you should avoid that floral-scented facial cleanser!
Here’s why: while you may think that it sounds harmless, the word “fragrance” could actually represent hundreds of chemicals, many of which can cause allergies, asthma attacks, headaches and more. Also, almost all synthetic fragrances are stabilised with phthalates (chemicals linked to reproductive problems and birth defects).
And it’s certainly not making your cleanser any more effective! If anything, added fragrances could irritate and dry out your skin. But if you really must have fragrance, opt for products that use natural fragrance, such as essential oils or plant extracts.