No matter what type of skin you have choosing the right cleanser is key to maintaining the protective layer and nutrition of your skin. When choosing cleansers for skin types, I break them into different categories ranging from the most gentle and nourishing to the strongest cleansers:
Cream Cleansers – have the consistency of thick cream. Cream cleansers generally don’t contain any surfactants (foaming agents). They are ideal for dry, dehydrated, mature or sensitive skin as they work by using the oil component to bind with and remove makeup and daily pollution. Cream cleansers only minimally disrupt the acid mantle of the skin, if at all and maintain skin hydration. They are also the best for removing makeup.
For best results, moisten your face with tepid water, apply the cream cleanser and gently massage your face. Remove by wiping with a soft moist cloth or rinse with tepid water. Examples include Haven Scent Coconut Cream Cleanser and AUM Brightening Milk Cleanser.
Milk Cleansers – have the consistency of milk. Milk cleansers may or may not contain surfactants and if they do, they are generally only very mild surfactants. They are lighter than cream cleansers and therefore are ideal for normal to sometimes dry, mildly dehydrated and mature skin. Examples include Treasured Earth Cleansing Milk and Third Stone Botanicals Palmarosa Cleansing Milk.
Gel Cleansers – typically used for normal to combination skin they can be minimally drying but less so than a foaming cleanser. Gel cleansers are ideal for skin that is sometimes dry and sometimes a bit oily and certainly for congestion. They aren’t as good as milk or cream cleansers at removing makeup but will certainly give the skin a “clean” feeling. Generally they are gentler on the skin than Foaming Cleansers and less disruptive to the acid mantle. Mukti Gentle Foaming Cleanser and Treasured Earth Lemon & Mango Cleansing Gel
Foaming Cleansers – often leave you with a “squeaky-clean” feel and so are great for acne-prone, congested or oily skin. Most natural foaming cleansers only create tight bubbles rather than lots of foam like cleanser based on synthetic foaming agents. The smaller foaming action means less disruption to the acid mantle and a quicker recovery. Foaming cleanser can be slightly drying for non-oily skin types or in winter when there is less humidity in the air. Examples include: Remedica Black Soap, Devita Aloe Cleanser and Third Stone Botanicals Rose Geranium Cleanser.
If you use a cleanser that is too “strong” for your skin it will have an impact on the protective layer and you may find your skin feeling overly tight. Using a richer moisturizer is a common way of combating the use of the wrong cleanser for your skin type and ultimately it will lead to either dehydrated skin or dehydrated skin with congestion, which is something no-one wants.
On the other hand choosing a cleanser that is too rich for your skin can lead to congestion and/or superficially oily skin. Again not a great outcome! You may find that you need to try a few cleansers to get the best one for your skin. And indeed it may change with the seasons. Myself, I use a cleaning gel in summer and a milk in winter which I have found suits my skin perfectly. As a general rule of thumb, if your skin feels squeaky clean, the cleanser is probably to “strong” for your skin. Your skin should feel clean but not tight after cleansing.Twitter It!
As you know, I usually write most blog entries myself but I liked this one and so have included it as is. This blog is by Lisa Bronner (of the Dr Bronner family) from her website “Going Green with a Bronner Mum“. One of the reasons I like this blog is that it advocates soap and essential oils as effective household cleansers – you can’t get much simpler than these two ingredients:
Somewhere along the way in recent years, we’ve accepted the idea that soap isn’t good enough. The myth persists that only potent, synthetic antibacterial agents are legitimate cleansers and soap simply isn’t effective.
This idea stems partially from the pursuit of efficiency, the desire for cleanliness, and the promotion from advertisers. Although it is true that products such as these do clear away soap scum faster and kill germs “on contact”, if you look at the long term costs and effects, little time or anything else is saved. Rarely does a product do only one thing, such as kill germs. One very common ingredient, Triclosan, which is in everything from toothpaste to bathroom cleaners to hand wash to socks and cutting boards, has also demonstrated in recent studies the ability to alter hormones and create antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Quite a multitasking product. So, down the road when our bodies get sick or start to malfunction, will the few minutes we saved cleaning the bathroom really matter?
The idea that soap doesn’t clean well is also unfounded. Terms such as “antibacterial” actually have carefully regulated definitions. “Antibacterial” means that the product must kill 99.9% of germs. The term “disinfectant” means that the product must kill a mere 99% of germs. Dr. Bronner’s soap is part of the “disinfectant” category. It’s not a term we readily spout out regarding the soap because it sounds so unnatural and not something we want to put on our bodies, but for the purpose of this debate, I’ll use it. Just so you know. So if you’re still really paranoid about germs and suspicious of simple soap, grab hold of a bottle of Tea Tree Castile soap or even a bottle of pure tea tree oil (undiluted this can burn, so use care). Although the US government doesn’t yet recognize it as such, tea tree oil is a naturally occurring antibacterial agent.
In comparing the cost of conventional bathroom cleaners versus a homemade soap solution, both the upfront and long term calculations favor the soap solutions. The recipe I use at the end of this post costs roughly $1.10 USD, compared to an estimate of $2.99 USD for a bottle of conventional spray cleaner. (These numbers and the recipe are from Karen Logan’s fabulous book, Clean House, Clean Planet. I highly recommend this book for ways to replace toxic conventional products.)
To continue with the evils of conventional cleaners, let’s assume that you wear gloves when using them, so they don’t come into contact with your skin during application. (I rarely remember to wear my gloves, if I even know where I put them. Usually I’m cleaning the bathroom while my kids are in the tub, so I can’t leave the room to find my gloves anyways.) But consider what about the little residue that may be left on the tub, that ends up in the bathwater which the kids inevitably drink as they blow bubbles? What about what might remain on the toilet seat, and be absorbed through the skin of their bottoms? What about the little bit that ends up on the counter, which the kids touch and then eat their sandwiches? What if this happens every day – several times a day – for their entire childhood? How much ends up in their little, developing bodies?
Here’s a great recipe for an all-purpose household cleaner that Karen Logan calls “Merlin’s Magic”:
Ed Note: I mistakenly used the essential oil flea repellant mix for my dogs as a surface antibacterial for months until I realised what it was. I then hurridly checked the ingredients (a lavender & tea-tree essential oil mix that I had combined with water in a spray bottle) and realising is was perfect for both, kept using it. Now when the dogs venture into the kitchen, they get a spay as well!
The ‘rediscovery’ of traditional cold pressed soap making methods has lead to the production of many various shaped, coloured and scented soaps that have a soft, creamy lather and are delicious to use. In this video blog I discuss how these soaps are made, the benefits of them over standard commercial soaps and syndet bars and review Dr Bronner’s Organic Shikakai Body Soaps.Twitter It!
This is a new section of the blog I will be writing from time to time that specifically addresses the needs of younger skin. Hannah is a gorgeous 17 year-old who regularly comes into the store and asks me the best ways to manage her skin. While clear now, Hannah suffered from breakouts for some time and so is conscious about how to best manage her skin as she gets older.
The reason that I decided to write “The Hannah Files” is because Hannah recently visited asking me if she should change over to a cream cleanser during winter. This was one of the tips I had included in an article about skin hydration. What I didn’t realise while writing that article is that I didn’t make the information specific enough. Hannah for instance doesn’t need to use a cream cleanser because her skin isn’t dehydrated, mature or dry. Her skin is young, fresh and if anything prone to congestion and so a cream cleanser wouldn’t suit her skin at all.
Skin is at its peak in its 20s with cell turnover and collagen & elastin at its production height. This is the age when you can set the ground rules with skin care and make
choices that will affect your skin later in life. At this age, lifestyle will have a big affect on the way your skin looks. Late nights, poor dietary habits, alcohol and poor product choices can all contribute to skin concerns such as breakouts, congestion and dehydration. (Not talking about you Hannah!)
Hormones may also have an influence, contributing to high oil production, congestion and breakouts. However by far the worst habit seen at this age is the desire for a tan. Sunbaking, particularly in Australia where the ozone is thinner is a big no-no. When skin looks young and fresh, it is hard to believe the impact of sun damage but regardless it is occurring.
Also of worthy note is that choosing natural skin care at this younger age is of great benefit. Not only reducing the toxic burden of chemicals at an earlier age, the appropriate natural skin care contains ingredients that will actively help nourish, heal and support younger skin.
A general plan for teen and 20-something skin incorporates a routine includes:
o Cleanse – usually gel or natural foaming cleansers are idea as they keep skin clear of oil and make up. Cream cleansers will not clean young, oily skin effectively. Products I recommend are:
o Exfoliate – with cell turnover high, there are more dead skin cells to slough off. A good exfoliant is essential to prevent congestion.
o Moisturise – usually a lotion or gel moisturiser is enough to hydrate young skin. Lotions and gels are also less likely to contribute to congestion particularly if skin tends to be oily. Using products that are too rich will contribute to congestion.
o Sun Protection – this is for long-term protection. You can generally find a sunfilter and moisturiser in one, which provides sun protection as well as moisture.
At this stage, treatment products aren’t necessary unless dealing with a specific condition such as acne, breakouts or congestion. Anti-aging products are not a focus.
In addition, it is important to ensure that some good dietary habits are put into place or at least maintained.
o Drink enough water – 1.5 to 2 litres per day
o Vegies, more vegies and some fruit – both are good sources of fibre and antioxidants, which assist with internal health as well as skin radiance.
o Avoid soft drinks altogether and well what can I say about alcohol (moderation is the key)
So Hannah, thank you for your question. It certainly motivated me to think about exactly what does suit younger skin. And this brings me to another point, which is that I would love anyone that wants specific advice to ask me. You can either e-mail, blog post, call or make an appointment to see me in-store. That way I can give you individual advice about your skin.
I look forward to more questions.Twitter It!
It has been over a week since my last blog – eeek! Well there is a good reason. I have been making you tube videos about all sorts of skin care products and issues. So
this is my first attempt at a video blog so please forgive me for the length and the slow start…yes I really do get more animated towards the middle! Anyway, the topic of my video blog is Black Soap or Anago. This amazing cleanser really is like no other! Lisa the creator of REMEDICa Black Soap is a biochemical genius and she is also just so passionate about her products, as am I. So with no further ado…the 8th wonder of the cleansing world.Twitter It!
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