Skin cleansing is literally the most basic of skincare steps, and yet, we have so many questions about it.
From the type of cleanser to use, to the different routine steps and even the frequency of skin cleansing. So to clarify matters, we get answers from our Derm in the house on the 8 most commonly asked questions about proper skin cleansing for healthy, balanced skin.
I highly recommend double cleansing for anyone who wears makeup. Each of the 2 steps of cleansers has a specific purpose: The step 1 cleanser can be a milk or oil-based makeup remover formula to emulsify (melt or dissolve) the makeup and debris. Such formulas work to lift off the makeup at the same time moisturising the skin. (Try: Dr TWL Dermaceuticals Le Lait Milk Cleanser, $128.40, available here)
Step 2 of your cleansing should involve a foaming wash that uses gentle foaming agents that won’t strip the skin. Especially in Singapore's humid weather, it is important to have a second cleanser that foams up in order to cleanse skin of bacteria, yeast, dirt and oil as these can cause problems for skin. (Try: Dr TWL Dermaceuticals Miel Foaming Cleanser, $101.65, available here)
Photo: Instagram / blessed.four.life
I would recommend a milk type of cleanser as these are more efficient at removing makeup pigments, meaning less rounds of wiping and this also respects the skin barrier (without dehydrating skin).
Micellar water cleansers are mainly efficient at removing water-soluble cosmetics while makeup typically have oil-soluble pigments too. It is still possible to remove it with micellar water, albeit less easily and requiring more rounds of cleansing compared to a ‘milk’ cleanser. Moreover, rubbing skin excessively with cotton pads or with one’s fingers will damage the epidermis and can bring on dermatitis, besides worsening cystic acne and rosacea.
Milk cleansers are not made of “milk” per se but rather due to its milky texture, is named as such. Milk cleansers contain lightweight plant oils and emollients suspended in water. Dermatologists advocate cream and milk cleansing for sensitive, reactive skin types, as well as problem skin (acne, rosacea, dermatitis) while on treatment. This is because it effectively removes skin soils while respecting the skin moisture barrier.
Sunscreens contain a variety of oil soluble active ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Depending on the type of coverage, some sunscreens also contain similar pigments found in foundation. For this reason, I would recommend removing it with the double cleansing method, as you do when you wear makeup.
Traditional cleansers usually have a common ingredient called SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate), which any derm would not recommend, as these are the cheapest forms of lathering agents and would strip skin dry and may even cause overproduction of more oil.
The purpose of skin cleansing is to remove makeup residue, oil, debris and bacteria from the skin surface at the end of the day. But always remember that healthy skin also has a good balance of hydration to be healthy, so the cleanser you use must also respect what we call the skin barrier, which is our natural production of skin oils that helps keep skin moisturised.
That’s why I developed Dr TWL Dermaceuticals Miel Foaming Cleanser which uses medical-grade honey as a substitute for SLS. Honey is a natural foaming agent and also moisturises the skin, besides having anti-bacterial properties.
Photo: Instagram / blessed.four.life
Residual foundation, makeup, or pigments react with surface oils, dead skin cells (keratinocytes), environmental pollutants, and skin bacteria to produce skin debris which make skin appear dirty, dull and also encourage more bacteria to sprout. Properly cleansed skin has a proper balance of good surface bacteria, which boosts skin’s immunity to prevent bad bacterial infections like acne, isolated pimples and breakouts.
It is efficient to do so. For individuals with greasy skin, it is necessary to remove the skin surface oils so that it looks and feels clean, and clean skin should always be the base before applying any skincare products such as serum and moisturiser.
Photo: Instagram / emilyrosespauk
No matter how light a foundation is, there will be certain colour pigments in it. These pigments used in makeup are not water soluble and will not be thoroughly removed with just a foaming face wash.
Every month, we speak to dermatologist Dr Teo Wan Lin, founder and medical director of TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, for our Derm in the House series.
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