Tired of your current cleanser
just doesn't seem to cut it? Whatever the reason is for looking for a new cleanser, there are certain things that should be taken into account no matter what.
# '''Your Skin Type''' Your friend may have spent her entire life using a basic bar soap and had perfect skin all the while, but that doesn't mean that the same will happen for you. Always choose a cleanser suited for your skin type.
# '''Budget''' Only spend what you can on face wash. If $30 seems like too much, don't worry about buying that cleanser since most ingredients are similar whether the bottle costs $5 or $50. If that doesn't convince you to spend less money, just remember that cleanser, unlike a cream or treatment, gets washed off in about two minutes or less leaving little time for expensive ingredients to make any prominent difference in your skin anyway.
What do you need from a cleanser? Obviously you want it to clean, but what else do you want from it? A quick stroll down the skin care aisle at your local drugstore and you will see that they have cleansers to suit every need. Each brand will have a cleanser to match your skin type, whether it be dry, oily, sensitive, maturing or acne-prone. And while looking at two bottles side by side is a simple way of choosing a cleanser, turning the two bottles around and comparing the ingredients will give a much clearer picture of what each cleanser is worth.
Below are brief explanations of some of the most common words you'll be faced with when choosing a cleanser. The top three make up the majority of the cleanser, while less consequential ingredients are listed further down. For a full glossary of facial cleansers' more scientific words, check out Proctor and Gamble's
Web site. For a quick check on an ingredient you are concerned about, visit the Cosmetics Cop, Paula Begoun
For Acne-Prone Skin
* '''Benzoyl Peroxide and Triclosan'''
** Typically found in acne medications. They cleanse and disinfect penetrating into the pores. Let them sit on the skin for about 20 to 30 seconds so that they can take effect.
** Benzoyl peroxide
is much stronger than triclosan. It can burn and dry sensitive skin. It even has bleaching power so watch what you wear while washing your face. It's a great kind of cleanser to use after a breakout occurs.
** Salicylic acid
is commonly found in face wash (usually 2%) and astringents
. It's best used to prevent breakouts.
** It is more gentle than benzoyl peroxide so it won't dry the skin as much. Using salicylic acid can still cause irritation if you have sensitive skin though.
For a complete guide on how to care for acneTreatments'>Acne Treatments.
For Dry or Sensitive Skin
It general, it's best to look for cream cleansers and organics that are free of sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, a harsh cleanser that causes products to foam and strip skin of its moisture. You should also opt for unscented varieties of your favorite cleanser to help minimize irritation.
* '''Vitamin E'''
** This nourishes skin but for the price it is often more effective in moisturizers.
** Nevertheless, inexpensive options with vitamin E are good for dry skin.
* '''Oils and Butters'''
** Emollients that are good for moisturizing dry skin include shea and cocoa butter.
** Jojoba, castor, olive, soybean and sunflower oil are just a few common ones to look for.
For Mature Skin
* '''Alpha or Beta Hydroxy Acids (AHAs or BHAs)'''
** AHAs are good for sun damage. They help slough the top layers of skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines.
** BHAs penetrate oily pores and exfoliate dead skin in oil glands.
** These chemicals are more effective in a moisterizer which will actually stay with your skin and have time to penetrate. However, for people with acne, these can be useful in a cleanser.
** For maximum benefit the AHAs and BHAs must be properly balanced with the pH level. Otherwise they won't exfoliate.
* '''Retinyl Palmitate'''
** This is a retinoid that helps firm skin and reduce fine lines.
** It is the overA and is much milder.
For Oily Skin
* '''Menthol, camphor, peppermint, alcohol and witch hazel'''
** These give the fresh, cool, and clean feeling but actually irritate more than they help.
** Avoid these ingredients at all costs if you have dry or sensitive skin.
** Oily skin may benefit from some but not all of these products. If you have oily skin don't assume that you can dry it out until it is parched. Often people think that this will clear up blemishes or simply reduce greasiness. The fact is that over drying will cause a temporary feeling of balanced skin, but afterwards it will over compensate to return it to its natural state by producing double the amount of oil needed to keep it moist, thus defeating your purpose.
Other Cleanser Terms
* Water Soluble cleansers wash off easily, which keeps the pores free of gunk.
* Gentle cleansers may not get makeup off. They may be good for morning use if you have sensitive or dry skin.
* Microbeads smooth skin by nestling in its cracks and help clear out the pores by removing built up dirt and oil.
* Anti-Aging creams are a dubious claim. Everything that may help your skin is washed off too soon. (And your wrinkles are beautiful.)
* Hypoallergenic cleansers have fewer fragrances and dyes than most.
* Neutrogena Deep Clean
is a great cleansing makeup remover.
* Olay Daily Facials
are good at makeup removal and very convenient.
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