Sunday, 22 September 2013

How do I choose a cleanser for my face? A simple guide to understand cleansers

Cleansing is one of the most common and essential regime followed worldwide. It is not only required for purpose of maintaining hygiene but it also plays a significant role in neurosensory and musculoskeletal development of children. We often wonder which cleanser should I choose for myself. in this blog post. I will try to explain the principles of cleansing which should be kept in mind, next time you think of the ideal choice of cleanser for your skin based on your skin type.

Q- How do cleansers work? 
Ans- The cleansers are surface active substances that lower the surface tension on the skin and remove dirt, sebum, microbes and dead skin cells in an emulsified form. At the microscopic level, cleansers are made up of a chain of hydrocarbons. One end of this hydrocarbon chain attaches to grease and oils on your skin while the other end of the chain bonds with water. When you rinse with water, the soap and any attached impurities wash away. 

Q – What are the various types of cleansers available? 
Ans - They include soaps, superfatted soaps, beauty bars, dermatological bars, liquid cleansers, antibacterial washes and foaming solutions. 

Q – What is wrong with applying just any other soap available? Is soap harmful to apply on the face? 
Ans-Soap is a combination of fats and oils (of animal or vegetable origin) and salt. It is the simplest anionic surfactant, forming soap salts in water that emulsify whatever is on the skin surface while increasing the pH of the skin. Applying just any cleanser may result in swelling of the upper layers of skin and loss of natural moisturizers and water leaving the skin dry and the barrier compromised. 

Q- How do I choose the best cleanser for myself? 
Ans- In my previous blog post I had put up a simple quiz which will allow you to understand your skin type (here). Based on your skin type you can follow this simple check-list and also the ingredients that I mention in the answers below to choose your cleanser

Q- What about "Beauty Bars"?
Ans- They are similar to the normal soaps but fragrance and few moisturisers are added to enhance their cosmetic appeal. But the efficacy to prevent dry skin is unknown and hence not recommended.

Q- How are the soaps prescribed by doctor different from the regular soap bars?
Ans-  These soaps contain weak organic acids to lower the ph of the skin and have moisturisers like glycerin , lanolin, Vitamin E and Natural lipids like Squalene. Colloidal oatmeal containing soaps are much more beneficial.

Q- What about so many Liquid cleansers or face washes?
Ans-  Liquid cleansers are composed of non ionic or amphoteric surfactanta with very high rinsibility factor. Their ph is similar to skin and hence they are less drying. One study demonstrated that, following hand cleansing, a liquid cleanser removed 85% of bacteria while a bar soap was able to remove only 65%.

Q – Is a face wash better than a soap if I have pimples or acne?
Ans – Research has shown that use of an acidic liquid cleanser or face wash  led to a reduction in inflammatory ( pus filled) acne lesions and the number of bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) on the skin aiding in faster resolution of pimples while maintaining  smoothness of texture.

Q- Which type of cleanser  is recommended for people with sensitive skin?
Ans- There are certain general recommendations I would like to make when it comes to choosing the right product for sensitive skin. Choose a cleanser with
Non – Ionic surfactants (like polysorbate).
Silicone surfactants ( e.g. Dimethicone) which can penetrate follicles or crevices and hence bring debris to the surface. ( Always check this component in products claiming to be ” DEEP CLEANSERS”).
It should contain moisturisers and humectants ( they prevent water loss when bathing).
Last but not the least , It should have a high rinsibility factor so that it does not leave any skin residue.

Q – What do you recommend for my face if I have conditions like ‘Rosacea’ or ‘Cosmetic Intolerance’?
Ans – Apart from the above said points , One should go for a cleanser which is fragrance and parabens free. Parabens and formaldehyde donors (e.g., diazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin) are the major classes of preservatives which can trigger or worsen eczema in such patients

Let me know how choosing a cleanser works with you. And like always stay skin healthy and skin wiser!!
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