We were taught early. Brush your teeth. And then? Wash your face. And as kids, we often complained about it. It turns out mom was right, however. Regular skin cleansing is critical to maintaining healthy-looking and feeling skin. Of course, she never mentioned that it also helps how it helps our appearance when we enter middle age.
Let’s take a look at why facial cleansing is so important. We wash our faces to remove dirt, oil, and anything else that has been invisibly floating around us. Like what, you may ask? How about bacteria, pollutants, viruses, dirt, and old (dead) skin cells? Daily facial washing removes these impurities to give the skin a fresh look. Even though good skin products can make a big difference to your skin’s appearance, if you don’t cleanse it first those miracle serums and moisturizers can’t cut through the dirt underneath.
Water is a basic element of life as well as an important element of skin health. But if you don’t wash your face, your skin cannot maintain a healthy level of hydration even under all that moisturizer. Dehydrated skin looks and feels rough, wrinkled, and aged. Cleansing helps manage PH levels of the skin, enabling sufficient water and product retention. In other words, they go hand in hand.
Those tiny glands that produce oil (called sebum) work hard to protect the skin from the dangers of the outside world using hair follicles within the skin as a pathway. They are designed to allow the oil to reach the skin’s outer layer to form a barrier that prevents the penetration of bacteria or other harmful agents.
However excessive dirt buildup on the surface can cause blockages of the follicle, trapping sebum, sweat, and dead skin cells. The lack of sebum on the skin’s surface allows bacteria to penetrate the follicle causing inflammation. The final result? Zits. Bumps. Redness.
Proper skin cleansing clears pores of debris to prevent dirt buildup, allowing the sebum oil to reach the skin surface unimpeded; decreasing the chances of a breakout. If you stopped washing, your face could also experience a combination of severe dryness and irritation. Now you’re scratching your face or perhaps you touch your face a lot (research shows that we touch our faces up to 23 times per hour). That leads to breakouts, which serve as entry points for infection. Premature aging in the making.
As for your appearance, regular cleansing is essential to keeping your skin looking radiant and healthy, it helps anti-aging products and treatments work properly, and it helps your pores maintain the proper size.
As for choosing the right cleansing product for your face, here are a few tips:
- Know your skin type and choose a cleanser that’s a good match. If you have dry skin you’ll want to avoid cleansers with high alcohol content. People with oily skin need a cleanser with a lower PH level. For sensitive skin, choose a basic cleanser free of heavy fragrance and additives.
- The delivery type of the cleanser matters. Cream-based cleansers are great for dry skin while gel or foamy cleansers are better for oily skin types.
- If you wear makeup every day, choose a cleanser formulated for makeup removal.
- If you sweat a lot, find a cleanser that helps to unclog pores.
- And if you’ve got allergies, look for “natural” cleansers free of synthetic ingredients.
- Lastly, consult with your aesthetician or dermatologist, making sure to take your time comparing products and looking at reviews as well.