First a quick A & P lesson: What does your skin do for you? A cool .05 inches thick, it protects your body from alien invaders, expels toxins and locks in water so that you don’t shrivel up like a prune. The layer that we are most obsessed with in the beauty world is the saucy little horny layer known as the stratum corneum. It is called the horny layer because the cells are cornified and rough in order to serve it’s protective purpose. This is the layer that is continuously being sloughed off. The cells are held together with sticky fatty glue making your most glamorous layer of skin waterproof. Overlying the stratum corneum is the acid mantle. This is a very thin layer of fatty (oil), sweat, and proteins with an acidic ph of 4- 6.5.
How Cleansers Work: Your cleanser must be formulated with the pH of the acid mantle in mind….A pH higher than 7 is alkaline and very drying to skin, while a pH of 5-7 will be more moisturizing. If your cleanser leaves your skin feeling tight and dry after washing your face- it is stripping the acid mantle, and you need a new cleanser. Check your labels- look for ingredients that are known to effectively and safely clean the skin>> isohexadecane, DEA, and sodium lauryl sulfate. Never use soap to wash your face (most soaps have a pH of 9 or higher!) Cleansers are not all created equally and must be formulated for your skin type.
Choosing Your Cleanser:
Oily and acne prone skin- clearly has more fats, bacteria, and grime to clear away. Your face wash should contain salicylic acid and/or alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic acid or glycolic acid. Recommendations: AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel by Renée Rouleau, Facial Wash Oily/Problem by PCA. dD Budget Beauty Option– Alba Pineapple Skin Enzyme Facial Cleanser.
Dry and sensitive skin- needs a cleanser with properties that moisturize. Look for creamy formulas containing emollients and/or lactic acid. Recommendations: Skinceuticals Gentle Cleanser, Boscia Soothing Cleansing Cream, Obagi’s Rosaclear Sensitive Skin Cleanser. dD Budget Beauty Option– Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.
Combination Skin– A glycolic acid cleanser should work great for you. Recommendations-Vivite Facial Cleanser, Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 3% Facial Wash . dD Budget Beauty Option: Smart Essentials Pore Purifying Facial Wash by Aveeno