Cleansers tend to be seen as the least important product in our skin care arsenal. As long as it “cleans” your face, it is often deemed to suffice. Attention is instead focused on more expensive products with star ingredients such as serums, moisturizers, and retinoids rather than on lacklustre basics such as simple water-based cleansers.
While the product you choose to wash your face may not dramatically transform your complexion, choosing the wrong cleanser will definitely have negative ramifications for your skin…think excessive oiliness, breakouts, dryness, tightness, and irritation. This is because, when it comes to cleansers, one size definitely doesn’t fit all. Many cleansers pack a double punch, improving your skin in a specific way as well as cleansing it. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you figure out what type of cleanser is best for you.
The most important consideration when selecting a cleanser is to determine what your skin type is, as each skin type has a host of different characteristics and issues.
OILY SKIN: Oily skin results from an overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands, and tends to look shiny or greasy even relatively soon after cleansing. This skin also tends to be susceptible to acne breakouts. Oily skin may benefit from a face wash with a low pH level, as it will aid in removing oils and impurities in a gentle fashion. Using rich cleansers such as oils or balms on oily skin can leave behind residue, which can lead to clogged pores, so they are best avoided. For those of you with oily skin, focus on cleansers that are either gels or gentle foams to remove oils and impurities without stripping the skin. Those with acne-prone skin should use a salicylic acid-based cleanser on a daily basis to prevent breakouts.
Product Recommendations for Oily Skin
- Vivier Medicated Wash
- Skinceuticals LHA Cleansing Gel
- Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser
- Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
DRY SKIN: This skin lacks adequate moisture and is characterized by a feeling of tightness, rough patches, flakiness, and oftentimes itchiness. When selecting a face wash you should focus on products with creamier textures such as creams, lotions, and cleansing milks. If you have dry skin, you should steer clear of foams or products with a significant alcohol component, as well as any cleansers that contain exfoliators (e.g. glycolic acid or salicylic acid), as they can contribute to further dryness and sensitivity. When this happens, we tend to try to overcompensate by applying heavy moisturizers and creams. Furthermore, avoid using regular soap meant for your body or hands, as it can lead to major dryness due to its harshness on facial skin, leading to cumulative damage over time. It should also be noted that sometimes products such as “hydrating cleansers” or “nourishing cleansers” can actually further exacerbate dryness by creating a seal that interferes with skin renewal, so whenever starting a new product, pay close attention to how your skin reacts.
Product Recommendations for Dry Skin
SENSITIVE SKIN: This skin reacts quite easily to many of the chemicals found in skincare products, and tends to look and feel tight, itchy and irritated. Sensitive skin benefits from gentle products that don’t exacerbate sensitivities. For such skin is important to avoid harsh chemicals and strong fragrances. If your skin is extremely sensitive it is beneficial to use a very gentle cleanser, or even a micellar water on your skin. Look for products that are fragrance-free, paraben-free and hypoallergenic.
Product Recommendations for Sensitive Skin
COMBINATION SKIN: This skin is characterized by areas of dryness or sensitivity, along with areas of oiliness. For this skin type, similarly to sensitive skin, an ultra-gentle cleanser such as a micellar water is advised
Product Recommendations for Combination Skin
NORMAL SKIN: This skin has the correct balance of moisture, meaning the skin is neither too dry nor too oily. Anyone with this skin type can try any type of cleanser as long as their skin doesn’t react negatively to it.
Product Recommendations for Normal Skin