Cleansing is the first and most important part of any skin care routine, but when it comes to cleansing there is no one-size-fits-all formula. A gentle and effective cleanser will remove dead cells, oil, makeup and atmospheric pollutants from the skin’s surface preventing the clogging that can lead to acne. It should leave the skin feeling clean and rejuvenated without drying it out.

A thorough cleansing session prepares the skin for the moisturizers and toners that follow. If moisturizers and cosmetics are applied to the skin before it has been properly cleansed, the pores can become blocked by trapped oil and dirt which can lead to embarrassing skin blemishes and acne.


Why Not Use Ordinary Bar Soaps?

Facial cleansers are designed to clean the delicate facial skin without drying or clogging the pores. Good cleansers do not contain soap. Below are reasons why bar soap isn’t the best method to cleanse your face:

  • Bar soaps are alkaline and they raise the skin’s natural PH. A natural acid barrier on the surface of the skin prevents the growth of bacteria. Reducing this acidity can lead to an increased growth of microbes that cause blackheads and acne.
  • Bar soaps can strip the skin of oil, which may cause the skin to react by producing additional oil, causing blocked pores that lead to blackheads and acne.
  • The thickeners used in soaps can also accumulate in the pores causing blemishes.

Your skin care routine starts with cleansing, which in turn, starts with selecting the cleanser that best suits your skin.

Finding the Best Cleanser for Your Skin Type

The Best Cleanser for Your Skin Type- Pure Health HQ - Bar Soap

photo by kristina balic

Finding the right cleanser is serious business, and sometimes it takes trial and error to find the perfect cleanser for your skin. Your ideal cleanser will react well with the PH balance of your skin, leaving it supple and clear. Most importantly it won’t strip the moisture from your skin.

Selecting the best facial cleanser begins by understanding the type of skin that you have. You may also want to consider the type of cleanser that you prefer since cleansers come in many different forms. These include cleansing milks, micellar water, cleansing balms and cleansing oils.

The cleansers you choose should be part your overall cleansing routine. It should complement the masques or other cleansers that you may be using. Also, bear in mind that you may need to change your routine to accommodate seasonal climatic changes.

According to estheticians, we should cleanse our faces twice daily. At night, before climbing into bed, the makeup and the grime of the day should be removed. On waking, we should clean our faces before applying moisturizers, sunscreens and cosmetics.

The correct choice of cleanser should leave your skin looking healthy and supple. Harsh or inappropriate cleansers can harm your skin and leave it dry and blotchy or coarse and acne-ridden.

Skin Types

The Best Cleanser for Your Skin Type- Pure Health HQ - Skin Type

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Dry skin

Dry skin can feel tight and sensitive. It is often prone to red patches or flaky spots, making it look rough or coarse. If you have dry skin, keeping your skin hydrated is essential. Warm water and creamy textured cleansers that include a moisturizer are the best choices for you.

The cleanser should gently remove impurities without stripping the skin of its natural oils. Oil based cleansers that include ingredients such as olive milk and shea butter are good choices since they are known for their ability to hydrate the skin. Remember that the cleansers that are best for dry skins usually do not lather much. Eminence Coconut Milk Cleanser is an organic skin cleanser that will gently cleanse While re-hydrating the skin.

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin tends to react adversely to cosmetic products and to irritants present in the surrounding environments. If your skin is prone to rashes or outbreaks, it is likely that you suffer from sensitive skin. People with sensitive skin should avoid products that contain fragrances and other additives such as preservatives and anti-aging elements.

If your skin is sensitive it’s best to find an organic cleanser designed for use on sensitive skins. Oatmeal and chamomile are ingredients known to soothe redness and irritation. A cleanser for sensitive skins will clean the skin of toxins without stripping the skin of moisture and it will help to reverse any adverse reaction that the skin may have had as a result of irritants.

Sensitive skin tends to be more porous than other skin types so it loses moisture more easily, and it absorbs toxins more readily.  A well-chosen cleanser such as Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser For Sensitive Skin should redress the problem, helping to restore the skin to a healthy condition.

Aging Skin

The appearance of fine lines and wrinkles is largely determined by genetics, and by how well you have cared for your skin and your health generally through your lifetime.

As a rule cleansers are not efficient in delivering anti-aging ingredients to our skins since a cleanser is typically rinsed off too quickly. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t carefully choose the cleanser that you use. As you age your skin tends to become drier and your skin routine should be adapted.

The cleanser you used in your twenties may be too harsh for your skin when you reach your forties or fifties, and you should regularly re-evaluate your skin care needs. If you are looking for a new cleanser more appropriate for your skin type try Anti Aging Cleanser by Derma-nu or if you would prefer a milk cleanser, we liked Gentle Milk Cleanser by Toulon.

Oily Skin

While oily skin tends to age more slowly than other skin types, the skin quickly becomes shiny with pores that are larger making the skin look coarser than is common with most other skin types. When skin is shiny or feels greasy there is always a temptation to cleanse the skin several times a day. This should however be avoided as it can make the problem worse.

If you have oily skin resist the tempataion to wash it more than twice a day. Research has found that more frequent washing increases the skin’s production of sebum.

Finding a cleanser that is formulated specifically for oily skins is key to keeping your skin supple and smooth. These cleansers should contain ingredients that absorb oil and clean off makeup and dirt without drying out the skin. Choose cleansers that do not contain additional moisturizers. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Face Wash Cleanser for Oily Skin contains no alcohol, oil, soap or parabens. 

Acne Prone Skin

If you suffer from acne your choice of cleanser is essential to the restoration and maintenance of a smooth and blemish-free skin. Acne is caused by the buildup of excess oil, dead skin, dirt and bacteria, and the appropriate cleanser will ensure that the culprits are exfoliated from the skin.

There are a number of cleansers on the market that include ingredients, such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, that help to cleanse the pores, reduce the size of existing blackheads and prevent further breakouts. Benzoyl peroxide is also known to deal with the bacteria that cause acne, but can dry the skin so you’ll need to monitor the outcomes. Cleansers used for oily skins tend to lather quite well. Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser will clear away excess oils and toxins without dehydrating your skin.

Like acne, other problems with the skin can be caused by variety of elements including the environment, allergens, stress, infection, and hereditary factors. There are face washes specifically created to help control ubiquitous problems like blackheads, as well as cleansers that are better treatment for conditions like redness and eczema.

Types of Cleansers

The Best Cleanser for Your Skin Type - Pure Health HQ - Types of Cleansers

photo by alexander mils

Micellar Water

Micellar water is distilled water that contains suspended lipids, used for decades as a facial cleanser by French women, the product has become widely known and is a popular cleanser. It is particularly favored among those who travel, as no water is required to complete a cleansing routine. The oil in the water simply releases the toxins onto the cotton ball and leaves a fine hydrating layer of oil on the skin. This gentle cleanser can be used as part of the skin routine for any skin type.

Cleansing Balms

Rich in oils, cleansing balms are great for those with dry or mature skins. They are gentle on the skin, and do not strip the skin of moisture. At room temperature these oil-based cleaners are solid. To soften them you place a small ball of the cleanser in the palms of your hands. You then massage the soothing cream onto your skin, removing it with a hot, damp, muslin cloth.

The cloth steams your face, surrounding you with fragrance. The oils in the balm melt the makeup and dirt, lifting it off your face but still preserving the moisture balance of the skin. The massage improves the skin’s circulation as it cleans the skin. This skin routine takes a little longer but the combination of scent, massage and cleansing makes it feel like a visit to the spa.

Cleansing Milks

Cleansing milks are gentle cleansers that include peptides in the formula. There’s no need to wash these products off and what remains nourishes and moisturizes the skin.  

There are various types of cleansing milks available for different skin types, but they are particularly good for those with dry or sensitive skin.

If your skin feels dry and tight after cleaning with a foaming cleanser then you should consider cleansing milk as an alternative. Cleansing milk is also ideal if you like to cleanse your skin in-between daily cleansing routines as it don’t dry the skin out.

Alternatively, many people use double cleansing routines promoted by the Japanese. Cleansing milk is used to remove makeup and dirt and then the skin is cleansed a second time using a foaming cleanser.

Cleansing with Oils

Many cleansers contain oils such as ​Tea Tree Oil which is typically used in cleansing formulas for oily skins, or Shea Butter which is great for re-hydrating dry or sensitive skins. A new trend in cleansing is the use of cleansing oils to clean the skin.

Like cleansing milk, cleansing oils can be used as the first step in the cleansing process. Used to remove makeup and dirt before cleansing with water-based cleansers. They can also be used as a stand-alone cleanser.

Proponents of  these cleansers point out that unlike water, oil mixes with oil and is therefore far more effective in the emulsification and removal of oils from the surface of the skin. Oil cleansers often contain formulas that improve the skin’s texture.

Some cleansers contain essential oils for a cleansing boost because of there medicinal and purifying properties. For example, tea tree oil face wash is lauded as a gentle way to cleanse acne-prone skin  

Skin Care is Important

Approach your skin care routine in a holistic way. Start by understanding your skin type and then craft the routine to take the best advantage of the products available.

The skin that you have is largely a result of what you have inherited but you can make the best of it by looking after it, keeping it clean, and by using a well-matched cleanser that doesn’t interfere with the PH balance of your skin and doesn’t strip it of moisture. Well-cared for will age more gracefully and will look healthy and radiant - hopefully for a lifetime!


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Lindsay is concerned about health, nutrition and the environment. She believes natural products are best and wants to help others learn more about the benefits of using them.

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