I regularly get the question 'what is a good facial cleanser?' There are different theories and each brand has its own philosophy. This is often very confusing. I will therefore start by giving you a description of the skin, and then explain the effect of 'good' and 'bad' cleansing products.
THE NATURAL FUNCTIONING OF THE SKIN
The skin is our largest organ and is the only organ in direct contact with the outside world. It therefore has a very important protective function so that microbes, viruses and irritants cannot simply penetrate the skin. Otherwise we would be sick all the time.
Of course, nature has found something on this. The outer layer of the skin, also called stratum corneum, is made up of cells that are held together in a very compact structure by fats or lipids. Often, also in the scientific world, this is presented as a 'brick-mortar' structure, in which the cells (corneocytes) are the bricks and the fats (intercellular lipids) are the cement.
The compact structure has a double function. On the one hand, it ensures that no external 'intruders', such as allergens, irritants, microbes, can penetrate the skin. On the other hand, it also ensures that we do not dry out because it stops the evaporation of water from the body.
What does this explanation have to do with a face cleanser?
WHY SHOULD YOU USE A CLEANSER?
A cleanser is needed to effectively remove dirt and makeup from your face. It won't work with water alone. A cleansed skin will contain fewer impurities, fewer coarse pores, a less dull appearance and the active ingredients from your night cream will be better absorbed.
If we clean our skin excessively and also choose the wrong products, the brick-cement structure can be affected. Foaming cleansers are a good example. A product that foams, just like Dreft, degreases and dissolves fats. If you know that the cement structure consists of fats, then the long-term consequence of foaming facial cleansers is an affected skin barrier where the cement is (partly) affected. This allows water to evaporate more quickly, resulting in dry skin. On the other hand, irritants can also penetrate the skin more easily, resulting in sensitive and quickly irritated skin.
SO WHAT IS A GOOD FACIAL CLEANSER?
Make sure your product:
- does not foam
- does not contain solid scrub particles
- is free from alcohol
Preferably your cleanser has a milky or oil-like texture. Also clean only in the evening. Once a day is sufficient. If you have cleaned well in the evening, your skin will not get dirty at night. Refresh your face in the morning with lukewarm water. How best to clean your face, when and why can you read in this blog.