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How Important is Your Cleanser?

acne skincare Oct 19, 2022


"Does it matter what cleanser I use?" is a question we get asked often. Of all the products in your skincare routine, your cleanser is probably the most underappreciated. After all, it's only applied to your skin for a few seconds and gets washed right off, so how important is your cleanser, really?

My answer: very important. Using an appropriate cleanser is an opportunity to set your skin up for success and ensure the best possible results from the rest of your products. The right cleanser makes the difference between achieving your skin goals quickly or struggling along with constant setbacks due to a compromised skin barrier.

Most people expect a squeaky-clean feeling after washing their face, but in fact, that "clean" feeling is a sign your lipid barrier has been stripped. If you then apply acidic or active products such as retinol, Vitamin C, mandelic or lactic acid, they penetrate too quickly and cause irritation, and you'll struggle with chronically dry, dehydrated skin. 

Dry and dehydrated skin leads to a dull complexion, rough texture or flakey patches, and skin that is unable to tolerate the stronger active products necessary to make real changes in the skin. 

On the other side of the spectrum are cleansers made with oils and other ingredients that leave a film on your skin and prevent treatment products from penetrating, rendering anything else you use ineffective

In corrective skincare, there is an assumption that you should use a medicated cleanser such as one containing benzoyl peroxide or mandelic acid to help treat your acne or hyperpigmentation, but these can actually cause more harm than good. Think about it for a moment: how much affect can a medicated cleaner really have when it gets washed off within seconds? What it will do is alter your skin's pH and strip your skin, causing dehydration.

A much more effective approach is to use a gentle cleanser so your skin's barrier remains hydrated and balanced, allowing your corrective toners, serums and moisturizers to have the best possible results. 

Our practice focuses on corrective skin care, and we recommend only two cleansers for all conditions: a hydrating cream cleanser and a non-stripping, low-suds gel cleanser. We utilize these cleansers as tools to establish skin hydration and balance so that we can implement treatment products quickly, equaling faster results, little irritation, and a healthy, radiant complexion. 


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