Our Bodies

Cleansing and Basic Skin-Care

By Sascha Sexiana

Cleansing, toning and moisturization should be a staple in your routine, morning and night. Kind of like brushing and flossing, or combing and brushing your hair.

Why two times? Because during the day, we wear makeup, we are exposed to dirt, pollution, etc, and our skin produces oil and rids itself of toxins throughout the day. Removing those is rather important, especially because much like the rest of our organs, the skin does most of its repair during the night.

Do I have to wash my face in the morning? Yes. One may wonder why, we’re just in bed, sleeping. It’s not like we’re going out and getting dirt on us, right? Well, as the skin is doing its repair, it’s also getting rid of even MORE toxins and waste products – skin-poo. Do you want to go out with skin-poo on your face? Not to mention that during the night, body-temperature rises, which causes the skin to excrete more oil.

Now, just keep in mind that at night, you may want to remove your makeup first, then use your facial cleanser. If you’re using your toner and there’s still makeup and dirt on the cotton, your skin is not clean. Your toner is not a cleanser. Do not use your toner to ‘clean’ your face. That’s why it’s toner, not cleanser.

Now, I know, the makeup wipes are very tempting as a substitute for cleanser, but they’re not meant to be used every day. Your face will not be as clean, and you’ll be doing more rubbing in order to get the makeup off – unnecessary stress on your skin. Such things age it. Don’t do it. Fine, if it’s a choice between going to bed with a face full of makeup or doing a wipe, do the wipe. But don’t make it your everyday routine.

Also, moisturizing cleanser is an oxymoron and a marketing scheme. Cleanser doesn’t moisturize. You don’t leave it on your skin. It’s not meant to be absorbed. It may be a cleanser formulated for drier skins, which will be gentler.

Keep in mind, if you’re comfortable to oily in the t-zone, don’t use things for ‘very dry’ skin. ‘Very dry skin’ is for someone who is dry all over. Their skin does not produce oil; therefore, they don’t need to clean oil off their skin. So if your skin is still producing oil and you use a cleanser or moisturizer for very dry skin, it won’t do you much good and you may experience more pore clogging or even breakout.

Feeling tight after cleansing does not mean you’re dry. Our pH balance is disrupted by cleansing, and is restored with toner and moisturizer. After applying moisturizer, if you cannot go a whole day without feeling tight and uncomfortable, then you have dryness. If your skin starts to produce oil and adjusts to the lack of moisture, then you are on the oilier side. There is oil production.

Dehydration vs. Dryness. They feel the same, but are quite different. Keep that in mind when we talk about moisturizers.

Dehydration = lack of water
Dryness = lack of oil

I have a lot of clients asking why they should use a toner. The main reason is because a toner followed with moisturizer will restore the skin’s natural pH balance. Cleansers are basic by nature; our skin is slightly more acidic in order to protect itself against outside irritants and such. So, you want to restore the pH balance ASAP. Eventually, the skin will rectify the balance on its own; a weaker less resistant skin will take longer. Also, there are different types of toners with various other properties that are helpful to the skin.

Some toners exfoliate. They gently sweep away dead skin cells, allowing your moisturizer to sink in better. Think about it, how is dead skin going to absorb moisturizer? If we have a layer of dead skin, that layer will prevent our moisturizer from doing its best. That layer is going to develop into pore-clogging, acne (when combined with oil and bacteria), and dullness.

See a woman with glowing skin that isn’t pregnant? Chances are she’s a teenager or she’s exfoliating regularly, and on different levels. Now, for example, other toners may have properties that help prevent acne (like salycilic acid) or oil-controlling properties, or calming and soothing for persistent redness/rosacea/eczema sufferers. Why wouldn’t you use toner is the better question!

Why should we use moisturizer. That one’s the easiest to answer, because it’s what most women already use. It restores the moisture balance of the skin, which is important for the health of our skin. For the day, definitely wear sunscreen. Even on cloudy days, in the winter, use an oil-free lightweight spf of 25 or 30. Dermatologists are pushing for the daily spf protection to be 30 now, not the 15 we’re used to. We’re discovering new things about sun damage, sun protection, and exactly how much of premature aging can be prevented by simply wearing sunscreen.

For those with oilier skins, yes, you should still use moisturizer. Just an oil-free one. There are many moisturizers out there, especially for oilier skins, that even have ingredients that help minimize and control oil. The reason is, an oily skin can get dehydrated, which means that the oil/water balance is thrown off. Some oily skins overcompensate for the lack of water (moisture) by producing more oil. Exactly the opposite of what the skin needs, leading to more clogged pores, more breakouts, and easily avoided with a basic oil-free moisturizer.

Another thing about basic skincare – eye-cream.

Don’t use face-creams around your eyes. They’re not ophthalmologist tested. They may be too rich for the thinner skin and they’re not going to do anything about puffiness or dark circles. Unless you’re a teenager, invest in an eye-cream, because the eye-area is a very delicate skin that is one of the very first places to show premature aging signs. Keeping up the moisture levels will help to abate that process for longer.

SUNSCREEN. Seriously. There are some sunscreens that are tested especially for the eye area.

Now, with your eye-cream, make sure you tap it on gently, with either your middle or ring finger. Your index finger is used to applying pressure. You don’t want that sort of pressure around your eye-area. Be gentle with your skin. Unnecessary rubbing, tugging, and pulling will age you faster.

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