As with most things, there are good cleansing skin care products on the market and others that are not so good. Skin cleansing is a necessary daily part of any complete skincare program. Weekly or bi-weekly masks are also a good idea. But, above all else, cleansers should be safe and gentle.
The popularity of exfoliation never ceases to amaze me. It’s an unnecessary and damaging step. It increases sensitivity to UV radiation from the sun, causes redness and irritation. The positive effects, when present, are not worth the drawbacks.
Gentle daily cleansing skin care solutions remove the dirt that clogs the pores, the excessive oils and loose skin cells. Exfoliation can actually remove good cells, something that you do not want to do.
The best skin cleansing gels and bars contain things like tea tree oil, manuka honey and orange peel extract. Orange peel extract helps to dissolve excessive oils. Manuka honey and tea tree oil are safe and effective antibacterial agents.
A popular ingredient for skin cleansing is an antibacterial compound called triclosan. It’s an organic compound, so it may even be present in organic and all natural cleansing skin care products.
If you have chlorinated water, you should not be using cleansers that contain triclosan. Triclosan combines with chlorine to form chloroform gas, a probable human carcinogen. Small amounts of dioxins are also released, which are extremely toxic and potent endocrine disruptors. Dioxins accumulate in the body over time, increasing their toxic effects.
There are environmental concerns, as well, since the compound ends up in our water supplies. It is best to simply avoid cleansing skin care lotions that contain triclosan.
You should look for skin cleansing products that are free of artificial preservative and added fragrances. They are the two leading causes of adverse and allergic reactions. The most common preservatives are parabens, which have been linked to cancer in several studies over the last four years.
Some “paraben alternatives” are just as dangerous. The safest and most effective natural preservatives are vitamin E and grape seed extract. There are some companies that include both, because of their antioxidant activity.
For a weekly or bi-weekly mask, clay extracts are quite effective. They pull dirt and grime out of the pores, while absorbing excessive oils. The best masks also contain natural moisturizers like macadamia oil and Shea Butter, as well as manuka honey, for its antibacterial activity. The worst contain benzyl alcohol, a known neurotoxin, strong irritant and allergen.
For most people, twice daily skin cleansing and a bi-weekly mask is all that’s necessary. If you have excessive oiliness, you may need to wash your face three times a day. If you have very sensitive skin, you skip the orange peel extract. It causes irritation in a small number of people.
Tea tree oil and manuka honey, on the other hand, have never been known to cause allergic reactions. So, that’s what you need to know before you shop for cleansing skin care solutions. Safe and natural is the only way to go.