Let’s face it: skin care regimens can be confusing. There are so many products out there with so many different uses and functions, it can be hard to navigate through all the pretty labels and fancy marketing. I remember days before I began studying aesthetics where I would be buying a new cleanser or moisturizer every few weeks, because the things I was buying weren’t working and I had no clue how to pick the right products. So, I wanted to see if I could help to provide some guidelines to things you should be doing (BESIDES seeing a good aesthetician 😉) to improve your home care regimen. This series will focus on all the steps of a good home care regimen in the order that they should be performed: cleansing, toning, exfoliating, masking, using serums, moisturizing, and applying SPF.

So let’s start at the beginning, shall we? First, we cleanse.

Cleansing is the most obvious part of any healthy skin routine. It’s the step that most people accomplish, even if they aren’t doing anything else to their face at all. What people don’t realize, however, is just how many different types of cleansers there are (not brand, although there are about a zillion of those, too). The easiest way to tell how a cleanser is going to perform and what type of skinSome of the most common types of cleansers are foaming, cream, oil based, scrubs or exfoliants, and acne-targeted. Let’s break them down a little further.

Foaming and cream cleansers are two of the most widely available types of cleansers on the market. Generally speaking, foaming cleansers are most efficient for people with oily skin types and will be marketed as “clarifying” or “oil control”. These are cleansers that either have a pump, and are dispensed into your hand at a foamy consistency, or gel-type cleansers that work into a very foamy lather. Cream cleansers are (again, generally speaking) better for people with dry skin types, and will be marketed as “gentle” or “hydrating”. These cream cleansers normally contain richer ingredients that won’t strip your skins barrier and leave you feeling dried down the way that foaming cleansers will.

Oil-based cleansers are some of the most under-used and under-valued cleansers in the skincare world! I could honestly talk about this topic all day. People read the word oil and instantly don’t want to use them (especially people with oilier skin) because they’re trying to decrease their skins oil production, so the natural train of thought is to avoid putting oil on their face at all costs. I’m here to tell you – I’ve been there! I was that person for years. But the reality is that if you’re constantly stripping away the natural oils that your skin produces (by using foaming cleansers and other “clarifying” products made to dry down the skin) all you’re doing is telling your skin that it needs to produce MORE oil. I could (and most certainly will) do an entire post on this topic, but for now, suffice it to say that oil based cleansers can be a wonderful addition to everyone’s home care regimen, regardless of skin type. Those with dry dehydrated skin could use this type of cleanser daily or every other day, while oilier skin types could add an oil cleanser to their rotation 1-3x weekly. Just be sure that the oil in the cleanser is something that mimics skin’s natural sebum (NOT COCONUT OIL).

Scrubs or exfoliating cleansers are, conversely to oil-based cleansers, some of the most over-used cleansers on the market. Over-exfoliation is one of the leading causes of breakouts and poor skin tone and texture. If you’re using a cleanser with scrubbing beads every day, please stop – especially if it’s St. Ives Apricot Scrub, just go ahead and throw that straight in the trash! All you’re doing by using a scrub every day is breaking down your skins natural hydrolipid barrier, resulting in abnormal skin pH and potentially a whole host of other skin issues. But exfoliating cleansers aren’t just limited to scrubs. If your cleanser contains salicylic or glycolic acid, it’s classified as an exfoliating cleanser too. For most skin types, exfoliating once or twice a week should be plenty.

Acne-targeted cleansers can do a lot of damage to skins when used incorrectly, or if they contain ingredients that aren’t suited for your skin type. With acne, it’s important to look beyond the breakouts and assess the skin type below. Just because you have acne does not mean you have oily skin, and many times acneic skins that are not oily will respond very poorly to acne-targeted cleansers and result in peeling and flaking skin without clearing up breakouts. The absolute best thing you can do for your acne is see a good aesthetician! They’ll be able to properly diagnose your skin type and conditions and set you on the path to getting your acne under control, without the confusion of trying to do it all on your own.

Do you have questions about cleansing products that you’d like answered? My inbox is always open! Follow me on Instagram @luxeskinbygabrielle, or shoot me an email. I’d love to shed some more light on which cleanser is right for YOU!

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