We’ve long been told that cleansing is one of the cornerstones of a great skin care regime – yet many of us still don’t know why it’s so important or the best ways to do it.
And it turns out that doing it wrong could actually be making our skin even worse, so it’s vital to do everything right.
We speak to Paul Banwell, a skin specialist and cosmetic surgeon at the Banwell Clinic , about the best techniques and products to use, and ask what are the mistakes that you should be avoiding for healthy, glowing skin…
What is cleansing?
Paul told Mirror Online: “Cleansing aims to remove makeup, grease, sweat and pollutants. However, whilst it is vital to remove these impurities to prevent blackheads, breakouts and normalise skin function, it is important not to strip the skin of its natural oils and impair ‘barrier function’.
“This is crucial, as the skin barrier works as a protector by stopping outside microbes from permeating the skin and also keeps the skin moist by preventing evaporation.
How should we do it and why?
Paul explains: “In today’s world of time-pressure and rushing around, many skin authorities recommend cleansing just at night, but the key is a double cleanse.
“It’s essential to use daily sunscreen, but this means it is important to remove this and any makeup every night and therefore cleansing twice is recommended.
“There are some companies that also formulate cleansing oils to help remove stubborn makeup too. The act of washing and massaging in a cleanser to the skin also stimulates blood flow and acts as a minor form of lymphatic drainage – both help the skin to look fresher and brighter.”
What are the mistakes that people make when it comes to cleansing?
Paul advises: “Firstly – avoid alcohol based astringent cleansers. They dry the face and strip natural lipids from the skin. For this reason, also avoid face wipes!
“Apart from the ecological issues and saving the planet, they are usually full of alcohol, fragrance and other synthetics compounds which can irritate the skin and in turn lead to sensitivity and redness. Save them for last resort scenarios.”
How can over-cleansing damage your skin and do more harm than good?
Paul says: “For the reasons mentioned above, using the wrong cleanser can affect the barrier function of the skin and lead to further problems such as breakouts, redness and sensitivity – the very things good cleansers can resolve. Choose carefully.”
Any product recommendations that you might have?
Paul says: “The big buzz word in cleansing at the moment is ceramides. These help keep the skin soft, optimise immune function and help maintain good barrier function. Look for cleansers with ceramics.
“My favourite and top recommendation by far is the Rationale Proceramide Cleanser, which provides the skin with nourishing lipids, as well as powerful antioxidants, Australian solar repair botanicals and ceramides which replenishes the skin’s intercellular lipids – this one is a firm favourite with celebrities and models.
“For general skin health and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, I’d recommend Skinned. Skinade is the leading liquid collagen drink which contains a number of co-factors and nutrients that will improve skin elasticity and the density of the collagen structure in the skin.
“Rationale Skin Care also offer a fantastic Catalyst Cleanser which contains alpha and beta hydroxyacids – perfect if you are prone to teenage or adult breakouts.
“Other recommendations would include a Cleansing Cream from Codage Paris. This is a gentle and nourishing cleanser and is perfect for sensitive skins too.
“There is also some evidence that Micellar Water offers a gentle form of cleansing – try Codage Micellar Water. Note – Kim Kardashian is a big fan of Codage products!”