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Choosing the Right Facial Cleanser

Updated: 7 days ago

With so many products to choose from, how do you know what type and brand is best for you?

This is an informative article based on my own experiences with my clients and as an Aesthetic Nurse, and Esthetician. I have included several tips to help you pick a facial cleanser that can work for you. Also at the end of this article is a quick poll for you to submit a response. I love discussing wellness, health and skincare, so please reach out if you have any questions. Happy reading!

- Jenica

Nurse Injector | Esthetician

Cleanser Basics

Skincare cleansers can be broken down into several types, such as bar soaps, foaming, cream cleansers, cleansing cloths, and makeup removers. Each product offers benefits (with the exception of most bar soaps) for different skin types, and addresses a variety of skin concerns. Some cleansers also contain exfoliating elements (like a scrub), or an additive (such as salicylic acid), to help dissolved superficial dead cell layers. Below are some tips for finding what types of skin cleansers can work best for you. There is a special section for acne-prone skin below as well, so read on fellow skincare enthusiasts!

Tip #1 - Ditch the Bar Soap!

At least on your face.

Every skincare professional will cringe if you say you use bar soap, but why? Bar soap tends to leave a residue which can potentially strip the skin of it's natural oils. We need (some) natural oil to act as a moisturizing, protective barrier that prevents water from within the skin from evaporating. Excessive clarifying, in combination with the leftover film, can cause your skin to feel tight, dry, and irritated. This leads to a dull appearance, and potential breakouts caused by the soapy residue clogging pores.

I hate to say this... but, you know that expensive beauty counter facial bar soap? The one that is sold by sales people dressed in lab coats at the mall? Well, in my professional opinion it is one of the worst bar soap offenders that I have tried! It leaves behind an obvious film on the skin that can be slimy feeling after washing. According to the sales people (they are not skincare professionals by the way), you are supposed to follow this bar soap with an alcohol based astringent. Between you and me, that's a really harsh combination and I would absolutely avoid it!

Tip #2 - Foaming Cleansers

For most skin types

Foaming cleansers were typically formulated for oily or acne-prone skin. However, there are several gentle foaming cleansers on the market now for those of you who have sensitive skin, and like the foamy feel.

Exceptionally Oily Skin - You'll want a cleanser that is clarifying and helps remove excess oil, and any any makeup residue, but one that doesn't leave your skin feeling tight. I recommend NOON Aesthetics Cosmo Clear foaming cleanser. It is a pharmaceutical-grade cleanser that combines with their DermShield™ technology. This technology allows for the cleaner to complement particularly high acid concentration products. It helps improve your skin’s natural moisture and washes away makeup and impurities without drying your skin.

Dehydrating acne-prone skin can lead to cellular build-up that covers the pores. This covering over the pore prevents natural oil from leaving the along the facial hair strands. Clogged pores = more pimples!

Normal and/or Sensitive Skin - Look for a gentle foaming cleanser that is formulated specifically for sensitive skin. The biggest concern here is that you do not dehydrate your complexion. Dry skin for sensitive and normal skin types can lead to irritation and inflammation, increasing sensitivities and discomfort. If your face feels tight after washing, the product is too harsh for you. NOON Aesthetics' C-Cleanser Foam (click the link to visit their website) was created specifically to gently remove debris and leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated.

Tip #3 - Cream Cleansers

Perfect for maintaining the moisture barrier

This is usually the best choice for most skin types. Great for maintaining the moisture barrier with dehydrated skin, cream cleansers offer a moisture-rich alternative to their foaming cleanser counterpart. Cream cleansers can also contain exfoliating elements, like jojoba beads, that gently remove superficial cellular debris without scratching or injuring your face, neck and décolleté (upper chest).

Exceptionally Sensitive Skin - As few ingredients as possible for this skin type is recommended. Cetaphil is a very popular grocery-store brand that has been recommended by dermatologists with no fragrance. If you prefer a professional quality product, than my recommendation is NOON Aesthetics Micro-Soft Cleanser. This product has few ingredients, and little to no fragrance. It is a clean and simple product for sensitive types that also works great as a make-up remover.

Dry Skin - Cream cleanser should be your go-to! Maintaining your natural moisture barrier is crucial to keeping a healthy glow. You likely produce very little oil (sebum) of your own, leaving you vulnerable to excessive moisture evaporation. A cream cleanser will remove surface debris without removing your protective skin oils that help keep you hydrated.

If you have dry, sensitive, or aging skin, then a good option is HydroPeptide's Cashmere Cream Cleanser. Like their Exfoliating Cleanser, it has a wonderfully creamy feel, but without the exfoliating beads. It leaves your skin hydrated, and soft.

Normal or Combination Skin - You likely have oilier areas around the T-zone (nose and forehead). You may find it useful to use a cream cleanser most of the time, while substituting with a foaming cleanser occasionally when you feel too oily.

Tip #4 - Cleansing Cloths

Gentle exfoliation + cleansing

Makeup wipes make quick work of removing makeup and environmental pollutants accumulated throughout the day. Be sure to look for (and avoid!) dehydrating ingredients such as alcohol. These ingredients can cause similar issues as the foaming cleansers, leaving the skin tight and dry feeling. If you have any skin sensitivities, I would suggest looking for a cleansing cloth that has as few ingredients as possible, and one that is unscented.

One more mention about makeup wipes... be careful with the delicate skin around the eye. To remove eye makeup, I would recommend using a cleansing balm first, than follow that with the makeup wipe.