I started my career in aesthetics at 22. My age posed a slight stumbling block given that the main demographic of women I was treating were significantly older than me. It’s no wonder that I received a lot of blank stares when trying to give them advice on how to prevent aging and care for their skin. Age doesn’t really matter when giving advice based on science- however, you can’t replace the quality of relateability that comes with age and maturity.

After 12 years of working in the spa industry, I can say that my opinions have changed and evolved a lot. Sometimes in unexpected ways. One of which relates to cleansers.

There was a time when I could get away with not washing my face religiously and it didn’t seem to really matter what kind of cleanser I used (I’m sure some of you can relate to this). Over the past five years or so, my respect for cleansers and the step of cleansing has grown tremendously. I used to suggest that my clients invest less in their cleanser as it was on their skin for such a short period of time – how could it make much of an impact? However, the cleaner ones skin is- the better it functions. Which means not just any old cleanser will do.

young woman washing her face in a basin and looking herself at the mirrorThe quality of the ingredients in a formulation can make a big impact on the skin. If you like foaming cleansers- it may be wise to reconcile yourself to letting go of this preference. Foaming cleansers often contain surfactants that can strip the skin’s natural lipid barrier, leading to dehydration, tightness and flaking. Once stripped, the skin responds by producing more oil to compensate for the dryness and a vicious cycle ensues. Sodium Laureth Sulphate is an ingredient to be avoided as it’s considered to be carcinogenic (for more on this click here). If you can’t live without suds, then look for plant oil esters to provide a minimal and gentle foaming quality to body washes and cleansers.

Dyes and fragrance are also on the list of undesirable ingredients. They are possible irritants and are generally used for cosmetic reasons – they offer NO therapeutic benefits. Why put needless synthetics onto your largest permeable organ?

If you wear makeup then a double cleanse at night is advised- or implement a Clarisonic brush. Much like when you’re brushing your teeth, you want to make sure to spend at least 1-2 minutes massaging the cleanser over the skin to ensure you’re breaking up dust, dirt, pollution, products and oils to be rinsed away. If you’re only spending 20-30 seconds on this, you’re leaving residue behind that builds up in the pores, enlarging them and leading to blackheads and an uneven skin texture.

As for myself, I’m a little obsessed with cleansers at the moment. I have three different ones. My morning cleanser which contains pink clay, aloe and willow bark extract. For my evening cleansers- I start with an oil based cleanser to break up make up residue and get a deep, but gentle cleanse, followed by an anti-aging cleanser with lactic acid to stimulate cell renewal and inhibit pigmentation. At times I’ll work the exfoliating cleansers around my skin for a minute and then leave them to allow the enzymes and AHAs to work for a few minutes before rinsing off. And I do have a Clarisonic brush- they work wonders to get the skin extra clean. Like I said – I’m a little obsessed…

I can’t emphasize enough how much healthier and clearer skin is when it’s clean. Put it to the test and try out these tips for a week. What do you have to loose aside from a few extra minutes? The benefits are well worth your time.