Cleansing in Moderation

Miranda Kerr once said, “I believe that everything in moderation is best.”

            Wise words, Miranda. I completely agree, and not only in reference to those little chocolate pastilles I adore or the almost-empty bag of chips on my counter, but also in the context of…washing my face.

You might be surprised. Shouldn’t it be the opposite? Isn’t it better if we cleanse our face more?

Yes, and no. While washing your face is necessary to cleanse your skin of makeup, sunscreen, pollution, and grime, an excessive utilization of face cleansers can backfire and cause more problems than it fixes.

            The composition of our skin is incredibly unique. With a pH of between 5 to 5.5, it’s slightly acidic and produces its own natural sebum that coats, protects, and moisturizes. Furthermore, it possesses a diverse ecosystem of microbiota that protects our skin from invading pathogens and other external factors. Over cleansing can strip your face of these essential oils and microbes that keep your skin balanced and healthy. This can lead to tight and dry skin, inflammation, redness, rashes, and – on oily skin types – increase sebum production and breakouts.

            What can we do, then? What exactly is gentle cleansing, and how often should we wash our faces?

Regardless of skin type, every person should cleanse their face minimally once a day, but never more than twice. Cleansing your face once daily is sufficient to remove any dirt or other substances such as makeup or oil; however, if you have dry skin, I would advise using only a small quantity of cleanser – around a pea-sized amount – and avoid washing the drier spots of skin. If you prefer to cleanse your face twice a day, use no more than a pea-sized amount of cleanser in the morning or simply opt for washing your face with just water.

Using an oil-based make-up remover or any single oil, followed by a cleanser that does not contain sulphates (such as SLS, ALS, or SLES) is further recommended for those who are working towards a gentler cleansing routine. Finally, to keep your skin hydrated, I suggest moisturizing your skin immediately post-cleansing.

Before I end this blog post, let me bestow upon you wonderful readers yet another wise quote, this time by Plato: “An excessive increase of anything causes a reaction in the opposite direction.” To all my fellow friends out there who struggle with the temptation to keep washing their faces, you are not alone! Remember that excessiveness and over-washing can lead to disastrous results, and that keeping your skin happy and healthy means keeping your cleansing habits in moderation.

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