Choosing the Right Facial Cleanser

When we think of facial cleanser, we think of cleansing, clearing, and/or cleaning the skin. In a general sense, that's exactly what a cleanser does, but did you know there's a lot more to your cleanser than meets the eye? Why is it so important that you choose the right facial cleanser? And what's the difference between a facial cleanser and a face wash?

In today's fast-paced skincare world, many of us want the instant gratification of finding a product that does what it says and we often purchase these products without doing any real research into their efficacy, quality, ingredients, and if they truly are a match for our skin type.

Why Is Cleansing Beneficial for Your Skin?

There are a few reasons facial cleansers have such a good rep. When we think of a dirty face, we don't often associate all of the factors of what causes are face to be "dirty". Think in terms of excess oil and dead skin cells. Our skin contains oil (sebaceous) glands that secrets natural oils (sebum) throughout the day. These natural oils are in fact beneficial for our skin (without them, we may experience dry, itchy, or flaked skin). Think of it as your skin's natural lubricant.

But an excess of oil isn't a good thing either. When our glands are producing too much sebum, this can tend to lead to things like trapped dirt, growth of bacteria, clogged pores, and acne.

What are some primary reasons for oily skin?:

  • genetics
  • hormonal changes
  • incorrect skincare products
  • oily makeup products
  • nutrition
  • dehydration

A good facial cleanser removes excess oil, moisturizes your skin, and removes that unwanted dirt and bacteria buildup, not to mention dead skin cells, from the top layer of your skin. 

Keep in mind that a facial cleanser is not the same as a face wash. Face washes are simply water-based products that often produce a good lather and are ideal for removing almost all of the oil on your face. Remember that natural oils are a good thing? So while the face wash really gets deep down into pores, it may be doing a little more damage than good, and it's not as gentle on the skin.

Facial cleansers, on the other hand, are more soothing, nourish the skin, and remove excess (but not all) sebum. Facial cleansers are often created with balance and complexion in mind, and have far better benefits than average face washes.

When's the Best Time to Facial Cleanse?

My golden rule? Don't wash your face more than once a day. Seriously. While some sites and skincare gurus will advocate multiple washes per day, there's really no reason to do so. Over-washing your face can be just as harmful as not washing your face because you are exposing your skin to harsh scrubbing, irritation, and stripping almost all of your natural oils away, leaving room for dry, flaky, and irritated skin.

It depends on the person, but I suggest a good facial cleanse first thing in the morning. This removes any dirt and oil buildup you may have experienced during the night and awakens your skin for the day ahead. A refreshing facial cleanse first thing in the morning just feels good, but you can always change to the evening or night, depending on your preferences.

What Ingredients to Look Out For in Facial Cleansers

Not all facial cleansers are built the same. When it comes to what you're putting on your face, knowledge is power, and research is key. All skin types are built differently, which means not all cleansers will have the same effects for different people. 

But there are particular skincare ingredients that you should absolutely avoid like the plague. Some of these ingredients include:

  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Fragrance
  • Propylene glycol
  • Triclosan
  • DEA, MEA, & TEA
  • Formaldehyde
  • Toluene

If you happen to run across these in your skincare product hunt, then you should probably drop the product you're looking at and head for the nearest exit. Or, you know, you could simply try a different product that doesn't contain these, but whatever suits you best. The bottom line? Some of these skincare ingredients are known carcinogens, are known to develop illnesses, and are anything but natural and good for your skin and your health.

Staying informed is key to being an empowered consumer. Know your products, know your skin, and know that your health triumphs over all. No facial cleanser is worth the adverse effects and/or risks.

Facial Cleansers and Acne

So a few things should definitely be said about facial cleansers in regards to those with acne or acne-prone skin. While there are debates whether facial cleansers actually help or cause acne, the fact of the matter is that most acne is caused by excess oil, dirt, irritation, and clogged pores. Acne is literally hair follicles plugged with oil and/or dead skin cells. Clearing these follicles or pores will lead to clearer skin.

However, when it comes to cleansing, keep in mind that scrubbing the skin may make acne worse. Why? For one, harsh scrubbing is going to irritate your acne and may even lead to acne scars if you roughly scrape or burst a pimple. 

Secondly, harsh cleansers may remove oil completely, leading to dry skin and tighter pores. That's why it's so important to select a gentle cleanser for those with more sensitive, irritated skin and to choose cleansers that nourish and replenish all skin types.

Gin Amber Beauty AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

If you're looking for a two-in-one cleanser that both exfoliates and cleanses the skin, look no further than Gin Amber Beauty's AHA/BHA Cleanser

This exfoliating cleanser containing glycolic acid, salicylic acid, hibiscus petals, and jojoba beads. It gently sloughs off dead skin cells while reducing pore size for a smoother complexion, and more refined skin tone, color and texture. It also tightens and brightens without stripping essential oils from skin

Of course, it's important to do your own research and select a facial cleanser that best matches your skin type, cleansing goals, and budget. You only have one skin. So treat it well!

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