A common benefit of facial cleansing is the removal of dirt, oil, and other unwanted debris. Throughout the day the skin on your face is continually covered with bacteria, pollutants, viruses, dirt, and old (dead) skin cells. Daily facial washing removes these impurities to give the skin a fresh look.
Many people have been cleansing their skin with soap (or surfactants) or cleansers containing soap for years, and could be unknowingly causing skin problems by disturbing the skin’s balance.
Our skin has a specific pH and is rich in protective oils which self regulate themselves (and is also why over moisturizing can cause skin problems).
Soap acts as a detergent and degrades important surface oils; stripping the skin and causing skin dryness, tightness and redness. As these skin oils are a key factor in retaining moisture for hydrated skin, consistent disruption of the skin oil balance could lead to premature ageing as hydrated skin is less prone to lines and wrinkles.
Additionally, some experts claim that antibacterial soaps in particular and excessive cleansing may disrupt the ratio of naturally occurring good and bad bacteria. This in turn could reprogram our immune systems to treat the beneficial bacteria as detrimental.
How do I know if I should change my cleansing routine?
After cleansing, your skin should never feel tight or sting when you put moisturiser on, if it does then a more gentle routine would be recommended.
When you wash your face with a foaming cleanser (a formulation containing soap/SLS/sulphates) this draws moisture out of your skin cells, and you may need to over use moisturiser to compensate.
This can continue a problem skin cycle of dry and tight skin due to harsh products use, over use of moisturisers and subsequent clogged pores. Instead, opt for gentle, soap free cleansers and adopt a “less is more” approach; your skin is a sophisticated organ which can largely self regulate.
How will my skin feel if I stop using cleanser with soap/ surfactants?
Some people find that their skin becomes less reactive, and may have less breakouts.
However gentle, exfoliation is still needed to assist cell renewal and remove dead skin cells, and a sulphate free cleanser is recommended to remove dirt and makeup, without over-stripping the skin.
Regular facial cleansing (along with the use of a good moisturizer) is also an important factor in helping the skin maintain a proper level of hydration. Dehydrated skin looks and feels rough, wrinkled and aged. Cleansing helps manage pH levels of the skin; enabling sufficient water and product retention.
Remember: Eliminating the root causes of acne such as diet, lifestyle, stress and hormonal factors can also improve acne symptoms and reduce sebum greatly. ( revivify.london, westlakedermatology.com)