The Importance of Cleansing Your Face
Healthy Skin Starts with Your Face Cleanser
Cleanser. The unsung hero of your skincare routine. Although it’s the (crucial) first step of many, it is often overlooked and rushed through. You know you need it, but unlike the holy grail serum you can’t live without, or the ride-or-die mask you have on auto-ship, when it comes to your face cleanser and face wash, you’re kind of indifferent. You typically reserve your cash for more “important” products with the mindset that face cleansers can afford to be cheap since they have less active ingredients compared to other beauty products. Plus, you wash it off in seconds. All of this may prompt you to wonder...
Is washing your face with a cleanser really that important?
The short answer is a resounding yes. Face cleanser is the largest skincare product category in the market, selling 304 million units in 2020 alone.* Not everyone indulges in a mask or peel, but most people (not just beauty junkies) wash their face once or twice a day. For better or worse, a face cleanser gets a ton of facetime—either bathing skin in high-performing, revitalizing ingredients OR flooding skin with ineffective, irritating ingredients. This repeated exposure suggests cleansers and face washes have the greatest potential to impact your skin’s health. It’s a fundamental first step with cumulative effects..
What does a cleanser do for your face?
Think about it: Day after day, you layer on skincare, pile on foundation, battle pollution, and inevitably rack up sweat and dirt. This hodgepodge of gunk piles up on your skin and clogs pores.
Cleansing is the first step to clear out this mess including excess oil, pore-clogging makeup, debris, and other buildup that can trigger inflammation and irritation, making it arguably the most crucial of all your skincare steps. In order for your beloved serums and creams to work at their highest level, they need to have a truly clean base to work with.
How do I find the right cleanser for my skin?
Not all cleansers are created equal. Some are powered by ingredients that are cheap, inactive, and ineffective and that rinse off within seconds without penetrating the skin's surface. At best, a low quality face wash does nothing, at worst it leaves behind a film of bacteria that can cause acne, blackheads, bumpy texture, and more. On the flip side, an overly potent face wash, one that contains actives that are too high in their percentages, can damage skin by altering pH levels, disrupting skin’s tricky microbiome, and stripping away natural oils in turn disturbing skin’s moisture barrier. This results in dry, tight skin that may have a misleading “squeaky clean” feeling, which is actually a sign of irritation.
When it comes to cleansers, use frequency plays a role in addition to product quality. Both under and over-cleansing can be detrimental to skin. If you don’t wash your face enough, dead skin cells build up which prevents your other skincare products—and all their high-performance actives—from properly absorbing. And when you over-cleanse, you risk dehydration, inflammation, and irritation. This is why striking the right balance is so crucial.
When you go to purchase your next cleanser, be sure to take a moment and consider your skin goals. Better skin starts at the beginning of your routine, with a top notch cleanser to kick everything off.
Photo by Vitória Santos