Have you asked yourself this question? Assuming you don't know the purpose of a facial cleanser, you may wonder how it differs from a bar of soap, or if it's essential to your skin care routine. You're not alone. This is a common question among those who've discovered the importance of healthy skin and have recently begun their skin care regimen. You want to incorporate the right products; but does a cleanser fit the bill?
To shed some light on facial cleansers, let's take a look at the general benefits; the difference between cleansers and soap; the best cleansers to buy, and how/when to apply a facial cleanser.
The benefits are numerous. Their most important role is to gently rid the skin of dirt and debris, surface bacteria and environmental toxins. The initial effect is soothed, relaxed skin. If used regularly, greater changes can occur within days. Skin texture softens and evens out, while dry skin, blemishes and wrinkles are reduced.
Cleansers also have a balancing effect during the changing seasons. During winter, our skin tends to dry out; in summer, it produces excess oil. Facial cleansers work to maintain moisture when it's cold, then reduce oil excretions when the weather is hot.
Facial Cleanser Vs. Soap
The reason skin therapists recommend a facial cleanser over a bar of soap all comes down to pH levels. The outermost layer of our skin has a pH of about 5.5. The outer layer is somewhat acidic to keep moisture in and germs out. Cleansers have a pH level similar to our skin, ranging a bit higher than 5.5. As a result, it cleans germs without causing dryness.
A bar of soap is said to have a pH level of 9, meaning it's very alkaline. As a result, a bar of soap will get rid of germs, strip the skin of its moisture and create dryness. This is the main reason facial cleansers are better than soap bars. Soap does clean skin, but it also removes essential moisture and strips away your acid mantle.
Now that you know the benefits of a facial cleanser, your next move is probably to the drug store to pick up a name brand product. This may sound like a good idea, but first consider one thing:. Natural facial cleansers and those you see at a drug store differ immensely.
Why is that?
The ingredients make all the difference. Most cleansers you find at the drug store have active chemicals that can harm your skin. Buying organic cleansers with natural ingredients such as oatmeal, almond and essential oils will impart a natural glow and aren't harmful in the least.
Companies that promote all natural ingredients also support the environment just as much as your health.
How and When to Use Facial Cleansers
You should use a cleanser in your AM and PM routine. This routine should include:
- Facial Cleanser
- Facial Toner
- Bi-weekly exfoliator
In order for it to work in all facets (reducing blackheads, acne, oil and dry skin), you have to be consistent in the following steps.
- Wash your hands before applying product to your face. Remove make-up (during PM routine).
- Apply a small amount of cleanser between your hands and create a lather (not all cleansers will create a lather). Gently rub it into your skin with your fingertips.
- In a circular motion, distribute the cleanser evenly along your neck and all over your face, stopping at the hairline. Rinse with cool water until cleanser is completely removed.
- Gently dry your face with a towel, and apply facial toner with a cotton ball, followed by a moisturizer.
These three products, along with a bi-weekly exfoliator or steam treatment, complete an effective skin care routine.