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Properly cleaning your face

Starting slumber with a clean slate—or face, that is—is key to better beauty sleep. Properly cleansing and removing makeup at night allows the skin to breathe, helps keep pores clear, and washes away the environmental pollutants and impurities that may contribute to oxidative damage.

In fact, sleeping in makeup means that free radicals that accumulate on the skin throughout the day linger all night. When done repeatedly, this can prematurely age the skin by encouraging the breakdown of collagen. Furthermore, when eye makeup is not removed properly, it can lead to eye irritation or potential infection. Like most skin care products, cleansers are not one-size-fits-all. While a gentle face wash works well for most skin types, those with special skin concerns may wish to select a cleanser that provides added benefits.

I prefer my patients who have normal to dry skin to cleanse once a day, at night time only. For those skin types, cleansing in the morning adds to dehydration of the skin, and in turn, can make the skin feel even drier than it already does. For an oily or acneic skin, washing twice a day, with the proper cleanser, can keep bacteria counts down and lessen the chance of breakouts.

Oily or acne-prone skin types should look for a foaming cleanser that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which will help to gently dislodge dead skin cells and debris from the pores. Avoid harsh scrubs, which can actually cause tiny lacerations in the skin and exacerbate acne.

Oily skin types should avoid “acne” cleansers, as they may be too strong if, in fact, the patient simply has oily skin and not acneic skin.

Acne sufferers can follow the cleansing step with a toner that contains glycolic or salicylic acid to help reduce clogged pores and control breakouts.

Creamy, emollient cleansers help mature skins to retain moisture. Those plagued with dull, dry skin can also try a cleanser with alpha hydroxy acids such as SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, which helps reveal brighter, smoother and more even-toned skin. I prefer to use this cleanser as a treatment, done once or twice a week to avoid over-treating.

Drier, sensitive skin types can follow up with a balancing toner, such as ZO Balatone, which helps to keep the skin soft and reduce redness.

Sensitive Skin Cleanser from SkinMedica provides extra-gentle cleansing for post-procedure patients or sensitive skin types, thanks to a blend of skin-soothing botanical extracts.
I tend to like this cleanser or Gentle Cleanser from SkinCeuticals for rosacea prone skin, as it helps retain moisture in the skin.

Remember that after cleansing, the skin should never feel tight or “squeaky-clean.” If it does, this indicates that your cleanser is too harsh and is stripping necessary oils from the skin; switch to a gentle, soap-free formula instead.

It is important to be sure you are cleaning the skin properly as well. Using good products is only half of the job. Using good tools really increases the efficacy of your moisturizer, medicine or serums. Go to YouTube and click onto Toronto Dermatology Centre to find the video for How to Cleanse Your Face Properly. There are three methods demonstrated, and your medical esthetician can tell you which one is most appropriate for your skin type.

One last thing…washing with water alone does not cleanse the skin. If you have dirty laundry and put it all in the washing machine without some form of cleanser, how clean do you think your clothing would get? The answer is: not clean enough! The same is true of you face. Be sure to treat your skin properly from start to finish. The best moisturizers or medicines in the world aren’t going to penetrate into the skin where they need to do their job if your skin isn’t cleansed right.

Start with a clean slate every night for your best skin every day!

~ Sheri Roselle, Medical Esthetician at Toronto Dermatology Centre

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