This is How You Should be Using Your Cleanser

Long gone are the days of reaching for a face cloth or a no-frills make-up remover in an attempt to get rid of a day’s worth of heavy-duty mascara. As our beauty regimen has expanded, as have our cleanser options: balms, oils, micellar waters and jellies are a handful of next-generation formulations that are quickly becoming staples in our cabinets.   

Deciphering the plethora of new cleansing options can be overwhelming but Janet Curmi, Elizabeth Arden vice president global education and development says gentle cleansing oils and creams are a great choice for normal to dry skin. “If you have oily skin it is important not to overuse exfoliating products which can irritate skin,” she explains. Curmi says don’t rule out oil cleansers.”It may seem counterintuitive to use an oil cleanser on oily skin, but by nature, oil attracts oil to remove dirt and impurities.”

Whatever cleanser formulation you decide on, it’s important to settle on one and use it regularly. It’s not just make-up, excess oil and unwanted debris we need to think about removing either explains Janet Curmi, Elizabeth Arden vice president global education and development. “Throughout the day we are exposed to bacteria, pollutants, viruses and dirt; many pollution particles are twenty times smaller than the diameter of a pore on your face,” she says. “Daily facial cleansing removes these impurities to give the skin a fresh look.” But it also prepares our skin for the following steps in our routine; without cleansing, it’s difficult for our skin to absorb products efficiently she explains.

No Scrubs

While cleansing more frequently might seem like a quick solution for oily skin, there is such a thing as over cleansing. “Many people have the concept that skin needs to be squeaky clean, but that means you’ve been too aggressive and you could cause irritation to the delicate skin barrier,” says Curmi. Skin, she explains, should never feel too dry or too greasy after cleansing.

Reaching for your favourite cleanser too frequently can strip skin of its natural oil which it needs to keep complexions lubricated and hydrated. Skin also needs a good balance of microorganisms to stay healthy. “If we cleanse until our skin is squeaky clean we end up killing off many of both the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ species of bacteria and other microorganisms. Then our skin becomes deficient in what it needs to stay healthy and balanced.”

So how often should we really be lathering up? “You can definitely over-cleanse your face,” says Curmi. “Depending on your skin type you should wash your skin no more than twice a day,” she recommends. Once a day is a must-do for everyone – skin that’s on the oilier side can benefit from twice a day –, and Curmi says nighttime is the time to do it. “It’s important to remove makeup and any impurities that have built up on your skin’s surface throughout the day.”

Everything you need to know about sensitive skin

MiNDFOOD’s Style and Beauty Editor, Nicole Saunders, chats to Tracy May-Harriott, global director of education for Elizabeth Arden Pro, about what sensitive skin is, what to do if you suffer from it and how to adjust your beauty routine accordingly. 

We’re seeing a lot of new launches or reformulated ranges that have been created for sensitive skin. Why is that? Is sensitive skin on the rise?

Sensitive skin claims from clients have risen to 25% from just 15% in 2009, showing there is a bigger ‘desire’ from customers for products suitable for sensitivity issues. This could be due to perception or many other environmental, over-use, more awareness issues, but even so – the demand has increased significantly in recent years.

If you think you have sensitive skin, what’s the first thing you should do where your skincare regimen is concerned?

See a professional skin specialist. Always! They will be able to walk you through some elimination steps, analyse products used, frequency etc. Treatments experienced and help you adapt your regular routine in ways you may not have considered. They will also factor in lifestyle issues, environment and maybe foods, medication etc that might all be leading to the skin condition.

What causes sensitive skin?

So many things can trigger it. The most common causes include: over-use of products or treatments, harsh products, environment, sun damage, medication, hormones, foods and also stress and the never-ending “work/life balancing act” we all have these days!

Is sensitive skin something you’re born with or something you can develop later in life?

No, we are generally not born with it. In fact sensitivity is a ‘condition’ of your skin, not a skin type. So we can all go through periods of sensitivity at any time, depending on many factors like we just listed. It can come and go. You need to always treat it correctly and seriously though. Listen to your skin – it tells you!

If you have sensitivity you should always deal with that first – drop other aspects of your routine and strengthen your skin of its sensitivity. Your skin condition is simply a mirror image of whats going on inside or around you, so you should treat it with respect and act upon any areas of sensitivity. The great thing is though as it is a skin ‘condition’, you can get reduce the sensitivity and watch out for those triggers to maintain this condition in the future.

Are there commonly used irritants in our beauty routines that we should be avoiding?

Generally speaking many professional skincare brands are very sophisticated these days. It is not always as simple as ‘avoiding’ irritants. Sometimes people get obsessed with a certain ingredient and it is sometimes how an ingredient is used, the pH of the product and the ‘recipe’ of a product that can be a problem. But as a rule I would avoid harsh perfume products, over-use of alcohol and soap-based ingredients in cleansers.

Why does sensitive skin need a different approach?

Sensitive skin has a tendency to flare up, feel hot and if not treated correctly will only always get worse. So it makes sense to use products specifically designed for sensitive skin. At the same time, you do need to help strengthen sensitive skin, in order to reduce the condition. We use an approach that is based around strength and protection for the skin, not just ‘calming’. So you still need well-made, comprehensive products in order to make a difference in the strength of the skin. Don’t just treat it delicately as sometimes you will wait a long time to get it under control.