If your desire is to fight premature skin aging, wrinkles and other skin problems like pimples and blemishes, cleansing your skin is more important than all those hyped and overpriced wrinkle-bursting creams and treatments. Here is how to give your skin a thorough cleansing and keep skin problems and wrinkles at bay.
You may be spending a fortune on expensive creams and treatments but getting zero returns because they are rendered completely ineffective by the grease and grime on your poorly cleansed skin. You could be just wasting your money by buying expensive products and ignoring one of the most important rules of good skin care – cleanse, cleanse and cleanse some more.
Most women spend less than 20 seconds cleansing their skin and even this not using the right product and correct water temperature. The result is a dirty lifeless skin lacking in glow and health. Just like you cannot paint on a dirty canvas, you cannot use face products and make-up on dirty skin and expect good results.
With external pollutants from the environment, chemicals from make-up and skin care products building up on our skin and mixing with sebum and salt it produces naturally, it is not surprising that many people suffer from clogged follicles and spots. If you don’t have a thorough cleansing routine, this grimy combination covering the surface of your skin inhibits the skin’s natural exfoliation process and absorption of skin care products.
How often should you cleanse?
You should be cleansing your skin at least twice a day – morning and evening – and more if you exercise regularly and/or sweat excessively. As soon as you are finished with your exercise routine, whether it is gym, walking, aerobics or a sport like golf, you need to remove all the toxins and waste material that have been excreted through sweat. People who do manual work in dusty or dirty environments like the garden or work near busy highways collect a lot of dirt and should cleanse their skin more often.
Your skin should be slightly acidic at all times to protect itself from bacteria and other nasties such as fungus, so don’t use soap or an alcohol or soap-based cleanser. Soap is very alkaline and it strips your skin of its protective oils leaving you with a tight, squeaky-clean feeling. While this may feel nice and clean, it’s not good for the skin.
Bacteria love an alkaline environment, so the bar of soap on your sink is paradise for germs, which then get transferred to your face. Sharing of bar soap also increases risk of infection, especially in public bathrooms. It takes up to eight hours for your skin to rebuild its defensive acid mantle and, in the meantime, your skin could become inflamed, red and irritated.
Choose an acid-balanced cleanser to help maintain your skin’s natural pH. Several varieties are available from skincare products’ manufacturers and you are spoilt for choice. You should visit a skincare professional to help you get started on a suitable skincare routine using the right products, if you are not already doing so. You will find excellent skin care products in our supermarkets, beauty and chemist shops and other outlets, but if you are not sure of what is good for your skin, always ask for help. Ensure your cleanser is suited for your skin type. Is it oily, normal, sensitive, combination or problem skin, which gets breakouts? If you don’t know ask a beauty therapist to analyse your skin.
Be in the habit of cleansing your skin not once, but twice – the first time will get rid of the surface grime and make-up, and the second cleanse helps remove your skin’s secretions and dead skin cells. Massage the cleanser in well using light upward circular movements with your fingertips. Once you feel the skin is clean, remove the cleanser with lukewarm water or damp cotton pad. Never use cold water to rinse your skin and neither should it be too hot.
But even double cleansing does not always whisk away the last bit of grime, especially in the evening or if you have been over-exposed to heat and dust. The answer is to do your first cleanse with an oil-based cleanser. Since like attracts like, using oil on your skin helps remove the greasy build-up. However, don’t reach for olive oil or other cooking oils – they are not water-soluble so you would need an alcohol-based toner to get them off your skin, which would strip your acid mantle. A proper cleansing oil contains emulsifiers so it can be removed with water. Check what’s available in the market.
You could also use a make-up remover for your first cleansing if you have make-up on, followed by your regular cleanser. Once you have washed away the oily deposits and make-up, use your regular cleanser for the deep cleanse. Follow this with an alcohol-free toner suitable for your skin type. The last step on your routine should be a moisturizer and if you are going out in the sun, a sun protection cream with 30 SPF or more. If you use make-up, give the moisturizer at least 20 to 30 minutes to get fully absorbed before applying make-up. Don’t forget the night cleansing routine is the most important and should be very thorough. If you follow this routine daily you will have glowing, ageless, blemish-free skin – the skin most women desire.
Published on March 2013