Dear Beauty Seeker,
It’s a message you’ve heard countless times from sources ranging from dermatologists to glossy magazines: washing your face is an essential step in your beauty routine.
And this is indeed true. Washing your face daily the right way will: remove dirt, pollution, and excess oil, slough off dead skin cells, curb acne-promoting bacteria, balance your skin’s pH, and stimulate the growth of a fresh and healthy new layer of skin cells. As a result, your face will be brighter, smoother and firmer with fewer lines, blemishes and enlarged pores. As an added benefit, your active skincare products (serums, creams, masks, peels…) will penetrate better when applied after a good clean – this is also why thorough daily cleansing is vital to prepare your face before resurfacing procedures with your dermatologist such as lasers or medical peels. It all starts with a good clean…
However, what everyone omits to tell you is how you to wash your face! And in order to achieve clear, glowing skin, it is important to respect a few basic steps. Let’s see what they are!
1. WASH YOUR HANDS
Always wash your hands before touching your face, at all given times. Your hands gather all sorts of bacteria and contaminants throughout the day, that may provoke acne, allergies, irritations or infections. So always wash your hands before touching your face. Furthermore, as a general rule, your face should be touched as little as possible, especially if you have oily or acne-prone skin: do not fiddle with your face, do not scratch or squeeze your skin, and keep your hair tied up and out of your face as often as possible during the day.
2. REMOVE YOUR MAKEUP
The less time you spend with makeup on your skin, the happier it will be. Remove your makeup as soon as you get home, or even better, reserve coverage makeup (foundation, base, powder, concealer … anything that contains pigments which cover your skin) only for special occasions. And always remove your makeup before cleansing: washing your skin will be ineffective if it is covered in a layer of dense pigments and binding molecules. To remove your make up, you can choose either an oil-based formula or micellar water, which is more adapted to oily or blemish-burdened skin. However, for all skin types the rule is: keep swiping clean cotton pads imbibed with makeup remover over your face until they come off clean (no more traces on the cotton pad).
3. PRODUCT CHOICE
In order to rebalance the skin’s pH which is naturally acidic and to dissolve unwanted debris, acidic facewash products are ideal. These are products which use acids, most often derived from fruits or plants, diluted to safe concentrations, often in a foam texture. An acid-based facewash will be closer to your own pH than an oil or cream facewash, thus better at restoring your natural skin barrier function. The gentle “aggression” that all acid-based cleansers exert on epidermal cells triggers a “renewal response” in them and stimulates faster fresh cell production, hence a younger layer of skin cells on the surface and younger-looking skin. Different acids are adapted to different skin types: salicylic acid has a powerful anti-acne effect, glycolic acid has been shown to stimulate the epidermis and improve elasticity, while alpha and beta hydroxy acids exfoliate and brighten all skin types. However, it is always advisable to seek the guidance of an experienced medical professional to help you choose the right acid-based facewash product for your skin.
Now that your hands are clean and your face has no traces of dirt or makeup, gently wet your face and neck with warm water and apply your cleansing foam, massaging it in with your fingertips. Just like disinfectants, cleansers need “contact time” – they need to sit on the skin for a while for the product to be active. Take your time massaging your facewash into your skin, and then let it sit for at least 2 minutes (this applies to all acid-based facewashes). Once the 2 minutes are up, remove it with a face cloth. You will need a face cloth as your fingers cannot exfoliate. Soak your facecloth with hot water, wring it out, and gently massage your entire face and neck with it, rinse it out under hot water, wring it out again and massage your face again – repeat this process 4 or 5 times. There are plenty of options to choose from for your facecloth: cotton, muslin, linen or bamboo. However, organic should be preferred, and always wash it every 48h at least.
Contrary to our perception that our face is dry 30 seconds after washing, this is not the case. It can take up to 10 minutes for the skin to dry completely. Use this time to choose your outfit in the morning, or put on your pyjamas in the evening, do your hair or floss your teeth … but give your face at least 5 full minutes to dry.
The final step in cleaning your face is applying toner. This is important because, if chosen correctly, a toner will match your skin’s pH and enhance your skin’s function as a barrier and reduce excess sebum production. This leads to less inflamed and irritated skin, fewer breakouts, reduced pigmentation, and tighter pores. As always, refer to your medical professional for help in choosing the best toner for your skin type.
And your face is now completely clean, balanced and ready to receive any active ingredients or treatments you wish to apply to it!
Washing your face thoroughly like this should be done morning and evening, every day. If you have never followed a cleansing routine before, committing to a proper face washing twice a day will bring visible results in 2 weeks, and your face will continue to be brighter and smoother over time.
Note: If your face is unused to regular cleansing or acid-based cleansers, it is possible to experience some tingling, redness, dryness or new impurities that can finally emerge now that the congestive oils have been lifted from the face. These events are perfectly normal and will fade as your skin acclimates to the treatment and should be completely gone within the first 10 days at most. After this, your skin will continue to grow brighter and smoother day after day. Just as with exercise, your skin needs to be “trained” before results are visible!
To your best face!
Dr Dominique Darvas – Anti-ageing Medicine
Your Chenot Wellness Team