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Skin Care 101: Cleansing

Skin Care 101: Cleansing
February 28, 2014 5 minute read

Alright, are you ready? Let’s talk about the face. Our mugs are the source of so much joy but man can they cause extreme frustration – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up in a wonderful mood only to walk over to the mirror and see a big fat pimple on my forehead. Thump. The sound of my cheerfulness crashing onto the floor. Yes, my job makes these pesky papules slightly more maddening, but I don’t think I’m alone in feeling like it’s the end of the world when my face isn’t…”perfect.” So due to popular demand I am going to discuss my skincare routine, how I combat surprise acne, dryness and wrinkles, and what treatments I absolutely can’t live without. Instead of writing all of that information into one 10 hour-long post I’ve decided to break it up. Cleansing seemed like the natural place to start, so here we go.

Choosing a skin care line is an incredibly personal thing – I can’t just come right out and tell you what to use because so many things influence what will work on YOUR face. But before I go any further I feel like this is a good place to quickly talk about nature vs science. I am someone who prefers to chose natural and organic products whenever possible, but there are situations in which I choose to take advantage of modern day advancements. I am a scientist after all. For face care, when science uses skin mimicking, cell communicating, advanced technology that works, I just have to do it. So I compromise and go natural on my body. If you would rather use all natural products on your face I will hold no judgment (I’m actually kind of jealous that your visage can handle irritating plant oils) – but keep in mind that scientifically created commodities aren’t always loaded with toxic ingredients. The key is knowing what you’re looking for and what you want to avoid. So to start, I have a few key rules that everyone should stick to when choosing a cleanser.


What to consider

1) Avoid cleansers that foam. Foaming is not natural, and although it’s a pretty effect, it means the product is most likely loaded with sodium lauryl sulfate or similar surfactant ingredients. You do not want them anywhere near your skin.

2) Choose a product that clearly states “noncomedogenic” on the bottle. This means that it won’t clog your pores.

3) Make sure there is no fragrance in the cleanser. Fragrances tend to irritate skin, and I don’t think it’s necessary to have your face smell like roses (unfortunately).

Next let’s talk about the best ingredients. Everyone talks about ingredients to avoid, but what about ones to look for, right? I know the packages can be oh so pretty, but get in the habit of checking your labels before you buy something! Here are some of my favourites (they double as ingredients you want in moisturizers too – more on those later).

My favourite ingredients

1) Glycerin: it replenishes the intercellular matrix, which evens out the structure of the skin. This is accomplished by its ability to draw the perfect amount of moisture to the skin.  

2) Hyaluronic acid: the ultimate skin hydrator. It’s found naturally in our skin and just about everywhere else on our bodies. It’s really just a big water magnet that helps to naturally moisturize your skin.

3) Ceramides: found naturally in the stratum corneum, the outer layer of your skin. Anyone with damaged or dry skin will usually be clinically linked to having a lower level of ceramides in their SC. So help your skin out and find products that contain this key ingredient! I’ve found that the addition of this ingredient alone has reduced my breakouts, evened out my skin texture and eliminated any dryness I usually have in the winter.

So here’s my secret weapon: CeraVe. I’ve recently fallen in love with drugstore skin care (gasp) – the reason being most are made in the same factory as the higher end products, they just lack the unnecessary fragrances and ingredients that the fancy brands add to theirs. Sadly, they don’t look as nice, but I can get over that. They’re simpler, cheaper and just as (if not more) effective. I mean L’Oreal owns brands from Giorgio Armani to Maybelline! I digress. So I’ve been using CeraVe on my face since September and my skin has NEVER been better. The whole line has this amazing MVE Delivery Technology that you simply have to know about. CeraVe is best for people with normal to dry skin, but I know people with oily skin who swear by this stuff too. They say their skin is less oily because the cleanser doesn’t dehydrate the skin by stripping it of its natural oils and the moisturizers are ultra nourishing.

For cleansing, I use CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser, $16 for 12 fl oz! CeraVe says:

“The goal of effective cleansing is to loosen and remove dirt, germs, excess oils, dead cells, cosmetics and medication residues without irritating the skin or drawing away needed moisture. Use daily morning and night to gently remove dirt, oil and makeup without disrupting the skin’s natural protective barrier. Never drying, ceramides help moisturize, restore and maintain the skin’s natural protective function.”

I totally agree, and their use of ceramides has changed my skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid – I know it’s counterintuitive but it really is the KEY for keeping my skin moisturized all day long. One pump onto my clean and dry fingertips and I load it onto my makeup free (and dry) face. If you’re used to using foaming cleansers this might feel a bit weird at first, but once you see that you don’t get that tight dry skin after washing you’ll be convinced that giving up your pretty bubbles was worth it. To finish, I always dampen a fresh face cloth with warm water, ring it out, and gently remove the cleanser. Voilà! A clean visage all ready for some luxurious treatments to be applied pre-moisturizing. Coming up next on Skin Care 101!



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