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Know Your Skin: Cleansers

More than hair, nails, or makeup, I love skincare. I’ve had temperamental skin my whole life. I’ve dealt with acne, hyperpigmentation, broken capillaries, and more. You name it, I have it. And, if it’s not obvious already with the aforementioned list of ailments, I have super sensitive skin. So, in turn, I’ve become quite the expert on skincare. I’m not a dermatologist, and any of my recommendations should not serve as substitute for the advice of a physician, but I’m happy to steer you in the right direction! So, let’s start with your cleanser…

1) Skip the solids

When shopping for a cleanser, skip the solids. The very ingredients that keep soap in solid form is not good for your skin. Since most cleansers are already in some kind of liquid or gel consistency, this shouldn’t be difficult.

2) Skip Active Ingredients

This goes against conventional skincare advice. What? Skip the salicylic acid? Skip the benzoyl peroxide? But I have acne! True, but these active ingredients (among others) need to linger on the skin in order to be useful. Using a cleanser with active ingredients is essentially wasting your money as these ingredients mostly get washed down the drain. Also, we want to be as gentle as possible to our skin, so let’s limit the active ingredients to our serums and skin treatments.

3) Avoid Irritating Ingredients

This is the biggie. Even if you don’t have super sensitive skin, such as myself, the damaging effects of poor skincare ingredients is cumulative. Cumulative? That means a little damage now every day equals saggy, lackluster skin when you’re older. Here’s a nice, thorough list on what ingredients to avoid, courtesy Paula Begoun:

SD Alcohol (also known as denatured alcohol)
Ammonia
Arnica
Balm mint
Balsam
Benzalkonium chloride
Benzyl alcohol
Bergamot
Camphor
Cinnamon
Citrus juices and oils
Clove
Clover blossom
Coriander
Essential oils
Ethanol
Eucalyptus
Eugenol
Fennel
Fennel oil
Fir needle
Fragrance
Geranium
Grapefruit
Horsetail
Isoeugenol
Lavender
Lemon
Lemongrass
Lime
Linalool
Marjoram
Melissa (lemon balm)
Menthol
Menthoxypropanediol
Menthyl Acetate
Mint
Oak bark
Orange
Papaya
Peppermint
Phenol
Sandalwood oil
Sodium C14-16 olefin sulfate
Sodium lauryl sulfate
TEA-lauryl sulfate
Thyme
Wintergreen
Witch hazel
Ylang-ylang
Not sure whether an ingredient is bothering your skin? If it makes you flush or it tingles (unless it’s a chemical peel), then avoid it. The tingling sensation some marketers have convinced you is good is actually bad!

4) Be Gentle & Cleanse Approximately 12 Hours Apart

Cleansing your skin too soon is unnecessary and irritating, so aim for 12 hours apart. If you insist on cleansing after working out, try and make your workout coincide with your morning or your evening cleansing or just gently splash your face with some water or a gentle toner. Avoid scrubs at all costs, they’re usually way too harsh (especially the scrubs that have active ingredients in them as well). I personally like skincare brushes (like the Clarisonic), but use them sparingly and for the love of God, please wash the brush head!

5) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: Only For the Oily!

I’m going against some of my own advice (and only a paragraph later!) but I believe for those of with oily skin, we need a little foaminess to really break down the makeup and grime at the end of the day. I use a gentle cleanser (Neutrogena’s Ultra Gentle Daily Foaming Cleanser, to be precise) only once a day and only at night to help get my makeup off. If I didn’t wear makeup on a given day, I skip the foaming cleanser as well as my Clarisonic. I only recommend this for oily skin though. Normal to dry skin should avoid SLS.

Stay tuned for the next installment in my Know Your Skin series, Toners!

xoxo, Jules @ iheartbeautyblog.com



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