Cleansing, or at least, cleansing effectively and consistently is often one of the most undervalued and overlooked skincare steps but there is every reason to believe that when it comes to anti-ageing and improving skin health, cleansing is the kingpin that holds it altogether.
Whilst we are all so focused on the latest and greatest moisturisers, serums and skincare paraphernalia and filling our bathroom cupboards with skincare that claims to perform the miracles you have been dreaming about, the simple step of cleansing has been downgraded (in some cases) to a lowly wipe of micellar water.
There are many reasons why we age and why the ageing process seems to occurs faster in some people, while others seem to “get away with it”. Sure, genetics plays a part and UV light is guilty of causing a huge % of pre-mature ageing on our skins, but cleansing effectively improves your skins barrier and without a good skin barrier, in fact, more accurately, if you have an impaired skin barrier (which can be caused by skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, eczema, extreme stress, chronic illness or even prolonged exposure to high pollution) you are likely to face accelerated skin ageing.
An impaired skin barrier (rather ironically) can also be caused by over-cleansing, over-exfoliating and basically using inappropriate, harsh non-ph balanced cosmetics on the skin, so choosing the right products is key.
I wish I could say that there was an all-in-one miracle cleanser which suited all skin types, everyday of the year for every occasion …but this is simply not true, and yet we seem to buy ONE cleanser and use it religiously day in day out until eventually we realise it’s not doing the job.
You see, even if you found a cleanser to suit your skin most of the time, we have different cleansing needs not just seasonally, but sometimes weekly…for example, you may be commuting to work one super-hot summers day, your Make-up melting into your sweating skin, pollution sticking hard to your face…when you get home that night your may need a pre-cleanse oil (or balm or cream) to remove what I call the ‘physical” from your face, followed by a gentle, ph balanced foaming cleanser (ie wash-off) to clean out the pores and effectively remove any build-up of cleansing cream or oil left, then a ph balanced toner.
Another time, it could be a Sunday morning, and you haven’t worn Make-up the day before, and you haven’t been outside, your skin has not been compromised by environmental stresses, in this case, maybe just a ph balanced toner onto damp cotton wool. Depending on the skins needs, you may choose any combination of all or just one of your cleansing go-to kit!
The fact is, and the point is, when we ‘arrive at the bathroom mirror” whether it’s morning or night, we need to ask our skin ‘what’s happened to it’ “What does it need” How does it feel” if you have been walking in blustery, cold weather you do not want to use a foaming cleaner to cleanse, as your skin needs a little more moisture and nurturing…you get the point.
In doing this, you will never become disenchanted with the one cleanser you have decided to commit to, and your skins barrier will be cared for properly.Which means less risk of accelerated ageing due to poor skin barrier.
Top tips for cleansing;
- If you are removing sunscreen, makeup, or know you have had high exposure to pollution, always double cleanse spending a good few minutes to really work the cleanser into your pores, paying particular attention to the eyebrows, hairline, under the jawline and around the nose which are areas where grime, makeup and sweat can accumulate.
- Choose at least 2 cleansers, the first being a more formal cleanser in the way of a pre-cleanse oil (best for removing stubborn make-up, sunscreen and oil ) cream, balm or milk and then choose a wash-off cleanser which is PH balanced and preferably a surfactant free, low-foam product. When choosing a wash-off cleanser,make sure it is specifically designed for your skin type.
- Do not use brush cleansers, or harsh mitts or face wipes as these will, in the long term, upset your skins delicate barrier function.
- Listen to your skin….as mentioned above, we rarely seem to take into account what has happened to your skin on a daily basis…and that is the main issue with skins becoming ‘unhappy’ with your current product…just because you have a full set of ‘cleansing tools’ does’t mean you have to use the full set every night.
- Cleanse as soon as you get through the door after your long day in the city…all that pollution will have stuck to your skin and is detrimental when it comes to skin ageing…see note below on ‘Particulate matter’
Other benefits of cleansing properly;
- Removing ‘Particulate matter’! Particulate matter are pollution particles made up of tiny pieces of solids and liquids in the atmosphere which stick to the skin or cling to your day cream and eventually absorb through your pores causing inflammation, changing the composition of the chemical compounds on the skin and ultimately induce oxidative stress via production of ROS (reactive oxygen species) which, according to recent research, means those who live in the city may have 10% more accelerated skin ageing compared to those countryside folk.Key is, cleanse as soon as you get home…but also, wear an antioxidant-rich sunscreen to help neutralise and trap these particulate matter.
- Double cleansing and taking your time, using as much of the flat of your hands and your fingertips for hard-to-get-to surfaces, will make a real difference to the skins clarity and vibrance as it encourages blood flow, lymph flow and allows the cleanser to really latch on-to and lift dirt and debris.
- Cleansing effectively allows your ‘next step’ products (ie your concentrated serums etc) to penetrate more efficiently.
- It reduces pore congestion (ie blackheads)
- It keeps a good, balanced skin barrier function, vital for a healthy, vital skin and a very important part in the fight against pre-mature skin ageing.
My fav’ cleansers are;
Hydropeptide Cleansing gel, AlumierMD HydraBoost, Hydropeptide soothing balm ( A multifuction balm which can be used as a cleanser especially for super sensitive skins) Environ’s Pre Cleanse oil, Environ’s Low foam cleanser, Epionce Gentle foaming cleanser (great for skins with rosacea or just general barrier impaired skins)
Protect from pollution and UV damage with the following AlumierMD Ultimate boost, AlumierMD A.G.E, Alumier sheer hydration SPF 40 which comes in tinted or untinted. Any AlumierMD products can be ordered through my private online portal click here and enter my code DBD70862)
All other products can be purchased in-salon or posted on.
For more information on cleansing, skin ageing or effects of pollution on the skin or to book a treatment contact the clinic 07792 713476 or email the clinic.