A Clean Slate

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A Clean Slate


While it may seem obvious to most, taking a moment to cleanse properly at the end of the day is the first step to good skin care. Whether you use a gel, lotion, cream, micellar water, cleansing oil, face wipes, or micro-fiber, here are some basics:

1. Splash your face with warm (not hot!) water.

2. If using a quality product, you only need about a nickle-size amount of cleanser for the face and neck.

3. Massage the cleanser with circular motions for 30 to 45 seconds, careful not to drag or pull the skin, especially when using a cleansing cloth.

4. Be gentle around the eye area. You may need to use a different product, a cleansing wipe, or micro-fiber to remove eye make-up. (Read product label to make sure it is safe for that area of the face).

5. Rinse until you no longer feel the “slip” of the product and pat dry.


Micellar Water 

No need to pre-rinse. Dampen a cotton round with micellar water and see steps 3-5 above. Although most of these products are marketed as “no rinse,” it will feel better, and any products that follow it will absorb better, if you rinse.

Cleansing Oils

Pre-rinsing is optional. The oils in the cleanser cling to the oily debris or make-up on skin, gently lifting it away without stripping. Great for dry winter skin! I recommend following the oil-cleanse with a micro-fiber wipe and luke-warm rinsing.

Enzyme and Acidic Cleansers

Personally, I prefer this type of cleanser to using a scrub for exfoliation. Acids such as salicylic, glycolic, or lactic can benefit acne-prone skin and will lower the skin’s pH so that other products will be better absorbed. Enzymes, like papain and bromelain, are well-tolerated exfoliators that can also nourish the skin with antioxidants. Just keep in mind that these formulations are typically not used in the eye area, and that you need to massage them into the skin for at least 30-60 seconds to get the full benefit of exfoliation. For this reason, I recommend using a well-formulated, sulfate-free product. Using a cleansing brush is a great way to get the most out of an enzyme or acidic cleanser. Keep in mind, the skin must be warm for the enzymes to be active and do their job, which is to break down the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together so that the extraneous ones slide off. The result is smoother, brighter skin. 

Other thoughts on cleansing

Avoid using soap on your face. It is alkaline, and the skin needs to be slightly acidic to function well. High-quality facial cleansers should be soap/sulfate free for this reason. The pH of healthy skin will return to its optimal 5.5, but if your skin is stressed by weather, sun damage, or illness, it may not be able to bounce back as easily, which leads to other issues, like chronic redness or dryness. It is best to just start with a well-balanced product, for a clean slate that will absorb the serums or moisturizers to follow.

~Ivy Nowosad, LE

Questions? Shoot me an email through the contact page.

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