Excellent skin question! Many take this very basic, but very important part skincare ritual for granted. I have met women who have used the wrong product for years, or have developed habits that have inadvertedly dried out or irritated the skin each time they tried to clean it. Here are some advice I have given over many decades as a pharmacist and skincare specialist.
Choose the right cleanser
The skin on our face is thinner, more sensitive, and more exposed to UV rays and environmental irritants like dust or pollution. We need to clean it gently, with products that can break down the grime without drying out the skin.
Never use body soaps, which are too harsh and may contain scents that irritate the skin. Choose a facial cleanser that’s appropriate for your skin type. If you have dry skin, look for a creamy formula. If you have oily skin, look for gels and other oil-free formulas. If you have acne, you can also find cleansers with anti-bacterial ingredients.
While there are special facial bar soaps, as a general rule these contain chemical binders which have a higher PH level, so even the gentlest formulas may dry out your skin.
Don’t use hot water
If you don’t like cold showers, keep water at a lukewarm temperature. Very hot water is bad not just for your face, but the rest of your skin and even your hair. If you find hot showers relaxing, keep showers short and direct the shower head away from your face.
Don’t rub too hard
Instead of vigorously rubbing off the dirt, look for ingredients that can break down dirt, clear pores, and kill bacteria. These include salicylic acid, witch hazel (a natural astringent), and tea-tree oil. Some people with oily skin may feel rubbing gives a “squeaky clean” feeling, but it actually irritates the skin.
Don’t get stuck on just one product
Our skin changes. A cleanser that worked during our acne-prone adolescence may not provide the best anti-aging protection when we’re in our late 20s. That’s why I always advise reading the labels of skincare products – whether it’s a cleanser or a serum – and choosing those designed for our specific skin needs. Not even the best award-winning beauty products can do everything for everyone, forever! Good skincare starts with understanding our skin and customizing our regimen to what it needs most at that time.
Don’t sleep with your makeup on
I know how it feels like to come home exhausted and want to head straight to bed. However, makeup can clog pores and irritate the skin. Cleanse well, use a makeup remover that dissolves even longwear and waterproof formulas, and close pores and remove residue with a toner.
Always end with moisturizer
Blot off (not scrub) water with a towel, then apply your serums and creams right after. These will lock in the remaining moisture, and help prevent dryness.
Effective cleansing is gentle and effective, and the best measure of that is how you feel after you wash your face. Your skin should not be dry or taut, or look red and irritated. It simply feels…fresh.
If you have any specific questions about your skincare routine, feel free to comment below and I’ll do my best to answer!
Mei Hui - Managing Director/Pharmacist