GET THE LOOK

This sea­son’s best cleansers leave skin clear and com­forted. Rachel Marie Walsh re­ports

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Beauty -

Should I avoid oil cleansers if I have oily ar­eas?

Not be­cause they con­tain oil. Even the most emol­lient oil-based cleansers con­tain sur­fac­tants for the re­moval of makeup and other de­bris. Oil clings to oil, so ex­cess se­bum is also eas­ily rinsed away with­out the dry­ing ef­fects of a soapy wash. The oil cleansers to avoid are those con­tain­ing po­ten­tial ir­ri­tants. Al­co­hol and heavy per­fume are ir­ri­tat­ing ad­di­tions to any cleanser, and can ex­ac­er­bate ex­cess oil pro­duc­tion and acne in­flam­ma­tion. Dior Hy­draLife Oil-to-Milk Makeup Re­mov­ing Cleanser, €35.50 (far right), is my favourite oil-cleans­ing launch this sea­son. The sweet al­mond oil-based for­mula eases makeup off quickly, foam­ing to a milky lather and rins­ing residue­free.

My dry-skin cleanser is sooth­ing but does not pre­vent black­heads. Help!

Black­heads have a grimy look eas­ily at­trib­uted to im­proper cleans­ing but their dark colour is not dirt. Black­heads, or come­dones, oc­cur when hor­mones cause ex­cess oil pro­duc­tion in a pore not ad­e­quately shaped to ac­com­mo­date its nat­u­ral flow to the skin’s sur­face. Trapped, this backed-up oil (some­times mixed with dead cells) turns black through ox­i­di­s­a­tion. Reg­u­lar use of a beta hy­droxy acid prod­uct can both re­move ex­cess oil and re­fine the shape of the pore lin­ing. You could swap your dry skin cleanser for a BHA wash but the choice of these in Irish stores is very small and the choice of those I found to be po­ten­tial ir­ri­tant-free is non-ex­is­tent. I rec­om­mend stick­ing with the dry skin cleanser you like and wear­ing a BHA treat­ment like Paula’s Choice Skin Per­fect 2% BHA Liq­uid, €30 at paulaschoice-eu.com, overnight once or twice weekly. Beta hy­droxy acids are oil-sol­u­ble and (in a fra­grance-free for­mula with the cor­rect PH) can cleanse in­side the pore lin­ing, re­duce in­flam­ma­tion and make the com­plex­ion look more uni­form. It can also help pre­vent in­grown hairs. Pre­ven­tion is bet­ter than cure but in­di­vid­ual black­heads can also be tack­led with a come­done ex­trac­tor like Tweez­er­man Face Skin­care Tool, €12.60 at all­beauty.com.

En­zyme cleansers — can I use one in­stead of a sep­a­rate cleanser and ex­fo­liant?

En­zymes act as ex­fo­liants in skin­care, en­cour­ag­ing nat­u­ral ac­tiv­i­ties that have slowed be­cause of age­ing or UV dam­age (eg, cell turnover, post-spot heal­ing). They work in a man­ner sim­i­lar to alpha hy­droxy acids: by break­ing down the con­nect­ing struc­tures that hold sur­face cells to­gether, re­sult­ing in mild resur­fac­ing. Papein and brome­lain, pineap­ple ex­tracts com­monly used in en­zyme cleansers and treat­ments, are also an­tiox­i­dants. An en­zyme wash such as Tril­ogy Ac­tive En­zyme Cleans­ing Cream, €33.45, is cer­tainly prefer­able to fa­cial scrubs or harsh ex­fo­li­at­ing de­vices, both of which can ir­ri­tate skin or dam­age the hy­droli­pidic bar­rier. How­ever, while some types can find daily ex­fo­li­a­tion sen­si­tis­ing, even the sen­si­tive or rosacea-prone ben­e­fit from a com­bi­na­tion of gen­tle daily cleans­ing and weekly applications of a top­i­cal ex­fo­liant. Nor­mal, sen­si­tive and oily types get on best with a beta hy­droxy treat­ment while dry and sun-dam­aged skin looks brighter and feels softer af­ter us­ing a gly­colic or lac­tic acid lo­tion. Peter Thomas Roth Gly­colic Acid 10% Mois­turiser, €33.80 at all­beauty.com, is a good fra­grance-free choice.

I hate spend­ing ages on skin­care at night. Which one prod­uct will re­move all my makeup and get my skin clean?

I have never had a fa­cial with­out the aes­theti­cian telling me it is best to “dou­ble cleanse” at night, ei­ther by wash­ing my face twice or us­ing a sep­a­rate pre-cleanser and cleanser. I un­der­stand the in­cli­na­tion (ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment + makeup = dou­ble the de­bris) but am mind­ful of skin’s nat­u­ral mois­ture bar­rier. I use balm or lo­tion cleansers and soft cloths to re­move makeup and am far from alone. Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Pol­ish Hot Cloth Cleanser, €19, is an ed­i­tors’ favourite that has won over 100 beauty awards. The mint-coloured cream has also in­spired a bar­gain al­ter­na­tive, I love Paula’s Choice Re­sist Op­ti­mal Re­sults Hy­drat­ing Cleanser, €25, which re­moves makeup fast and soft­ens with­out leav­ing a residue. The for­mula suits all skin types. Eau Ther­male Avène Flu­ide Dé­maquil­lant 3-in-1, €15 (above), launch­ing July 1, is more widely avail­able and also com­fort­ing. ‘3-in-1’ refers to its ef­fi­cient cleans­ing, sooth­ing and makeup re­moval.

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