Are we over-wash­ing our face?

Here’s how to choose the right face wash in a sea of cleansers

Emirates Woman - - Contents - WORDS: BEE SHAPIRO

F ace cleans­ing used to be the most bor­ing part of a skin­care reg­i­men. Want bells and whis­tles? Bet­ter to look to the pricey mois­turiser that comes in a faceted faux-crys­tal jar. Need tar­geted skin­care so­lu­tions? Look to po­tent serums and masks for re­sults. The ideal cleanser Don’t get dis­tracted by slick mar­ket­ing cam­paigns. Ac­cord­ing to Bar­bara Sturm, an aes­thetic med­i­cal doc­tor in Ger­many who has a name­sake skin-care line, the func­tion of a daily cleanser should be straight­for­ward. It’s “to re­move dead skin cells, oil, dirt and other pol­lu­tants from the skin, un­clog pores, prevent skin con­di­tions such as acne, and pre­pare the skin for the next step in your skin-care reg­i­men.” What’s the deal with pH? The idea is that if the cleanser mim­ics the skin’s nat­u­rally acidic pH (5.5), it will be more gen­tle on your skin’s acid man­tle (the pro­tec­tive, slightly acidic layer made up of nat­u­ral oils, dead skin cells and sweat). The acid man­tle is what main­tains skin health and staves off bac­te­rial in­fec­tions, said Dendy En­gel­man, a der­ma­tol­o­gist in Man­hat­tan. Oil vs. wa­ter If your skin is oily or prone to break­outs, Bar­bara sug­gests, look for a wa­ter­based gel or foam cleanser. The foam­ing as­pect need not rely on sul­fates. There are gen­tler sur­fac­tants avail­able (like de­cyl glu­co­side, which is of­ten found in baby sham­poos). But even if the prod­uct is gen­tle, she said, “it is im­por­tant to quickly ap­ply mois­turiser to avoid mois­ture loss through os­mo­sis.” What’s with triple cleans­ing? Dou­ble and triple cleans­ing are ideas that sprang from the Korean and Ja­panese beauty crazes of re­cent years. The tra­di­tional K-beauty sce­nario in­volves us­ing an oil-based cleanser to break down makeup. And be­cause some makeup, es­pe­cially wa­ter­proof and long­wear for­mu­las, is oil-based, it breaks down best with oil. If you have dry skin and want some oil residue use a wa­ter-based cleanser to get the grime off, then use the oil cleanser. Re­ally, should you wash just once a day? You should not be wash­ing your face morn­ing and night. Many peo­ple who have sen­si­tive skin may sim­ply be over­wash­ing. “The in­dus­try is try­ing to sell as much as pos­si­ble,” Bar­bara said. Over-cleans­ing, she said, “takes the skin’s lipids away and de­stroys skin bar­rier func­tion, which in turn al­lows bac­te­ria to en­ter and cause break­outs, red­ness, ir­ri­ta­tion, neu­ro­der­mati­tis and de­creased nat­u­ral re­sis­tance to UVA and UVB rays.” Ev­ery­one should wash once a day, she said, and twice only if your skin tol­er­ates it well. To ex­fo­li­ate or not to ex­fo­li­ate? Over­cleans­ing and over-ex­fo­li­at­ing go hand in hand. Be wary of cleansers loaded with acids, “It’ s com­pletely gim­micky to add all those acids, be­cause cleansers are a rinse-off prod­uct, and you’d want your gly­colic acid, for ex­am­ple, to have the chance to pen­e­trate,” says Tif­fany Master­son, the founder of Drunk Ele­phant. Bar­bara takes an even more con­ser­va­tive ap­proach, not­ing the abuse of ex­fo­lia­tors. You should be ex­fo­li­at­ing only one or two times a week no mat­ter the form, she said.

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