Cleansing 101

Whether you have fine lines and wrinkles that you want to reduce, or acne breakouts that you want to get under control, the right treatment or serum can do wonders for your skin issues.  However, if you’re not cleansing your face properly in the first place, even the most powerful, expensive serum won’t be able to get the job done.  It may seem simple – splash some water on your face, lather up some cleanser and scrub – but there’s a right and a wrong way to wash your face so if you want a clear, glowing complexion, you need to make sure you’re doing it correctly.

One of the most common mistakes that people make when cleansing their face is using the same drugstore bar soap that they use for their hands or body.  These types of soaps usually contain lye, synthetic detergents, and other ingredients that can dry and irritate your skin.  Ditch the soap and opt for a cleanser that’s specifically made for your skin type. If you have oily skin, look for an oil-free formula that removes the impurities that may clog the pores. The Bioelements Decongestant Cleanser is an ideal option.  If you have a problem with acne, though, you may prefer a cleanser that contains salicylic acid or other acne fighting ingredients.  Dermalogica’s Clearing Skin Wash not only contains salicylic acid, but natural ingredients like milk thistle, licorice and bergamot to soothe the skin and fight future breakouts and anti-bacterial agents like tea tree and eucalyptus.

For dry skin, opt for a creamy formula that won’t dehydrate your complexion. The Dermalogica Essential Cleaning Solution is an ideal option because it’s a non-foaming formula that won’t dry your skin and actually helps replenish moisture. If you have rosacea or other skin sensitivities, choose a cleanser that doesn’t contain artificial fragrances or colors.  Dermalogica’s UltraCalming Cleanser fits the bill – and it’s so gentle that you don’t even need to rinse it with water.  You can simply wipe it away with a tissue.

Before cleansing your face, wash your hands with an antibacterial soap to make sure that they’re clean and won’t spread any bacteria to your face.  Next, dampen your face with water.  Getting the temperature right is key – hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils and dry it out, so use lukewarm water.  Squeeze a small amount of your cleanser onto your fingers – if you’re using a foaming formula, rub your hands together to create a lather and apply it your face. If you’re using a creamy, non-foaming cleanser, apply it directly to your face.  To get the full benefits of your cleanser, massage it into your skin for 30 seconds to a minute in a gentle, circular motion.

If you really want to a powerful cleansing, though, forget washing with your hands and invest in a Clarisonic Plus or Clarisonic Mia. Developed by the same company that makes the Sonicare toothbrushes, these skin care tools provide professional strength cleansing.  It only takes a minute, but the Clarisonic can effectively loosen dirt and oil so your pores look smaller, your fine lines appear reduced, and all of your serums and treatment products absorb more easily into the skin.  With several different types of brush heads to choose from, there’s an option for all skin types too so you can benefit from cleansing with the Clarisonic whether you have oily, acne-prone, dry or sensitive skin.  To use the Clarisonic, dampen the brush head, apply the cleanser to the bristles and run it over your face according to the pre-programmed cycle.

When it’s time to rinse off your cleanser, use cool water to help close your pores.  You may need to splash your face several times to remove all traces of the cleanser from your skin.  Use a clean towel to dry your face to prevent the spread of bacteria – and don’t rub your face with the towel.  Pat it gently to prevent irritation or tugging and pulling on your skin.

Once your face is properly cleansed, you can move onto applying your usual toner, serum, treatment and moisturizer – and you’ll likely see better results since you’re starting with a squeaky clean face.

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