Choose your cleanser wisely

Posted by Dr. Thaj

Good skin care starts with a clear skin.The first step to achieve clean skin is finding the right cleanser.Skin cleansing is an essential part of skin care and is necessary for skin health, hygiene and well being. Without effective cleansing your skin’s surface can accumulate debris,sweat, pollutants, excess oil and bacteria. Washing with water alone will rinse 65% of the oil and dirt on your skin, but its not quite enough. Skin cleansers work as emulsifiers and help remove dirt , excess sebum, bacteria, cosmetics, exfoliated surface skin cells by lowering the surface tension. Skin cleansers consists of the following:

  • Water
  • Surfactants
  • Moisturisers
  • Fillers
  • Preservatives
  • Fragrance
  • Dyes or pigments

Today there is a wide array of cleansers to choose from.But the layman has several mis- conceptions about their usage.The best cleansers are non-irritating,safe for sensitive skin and won’t clog pores or cause acne. The interaction of cleanser surfactants with the stratum corneum (uppermost layer of skin) proteins can be deleterious to skin. So an ideal cleanser should minimize damage while providing moisturizing benefits during wash. Majority of the population use soaps as cleansers ,but when you have a compromised skin, acne or other skin diseases you need to exercise some caution while cleansing.There are 3 major categoriesof cleansing agents
2.Synthetic detergents
3.Lipid free cleansing agents.
Soaps are water soluble sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids. Soaps are made from fats and oils by treating them chemically with a strong alkali. The irritation potential of the soap is related to
alkalinity and fatty acid chain length. Continued use of soaps can lead to dry skin, barrier damage, redness and cause ithching as they have hard surfactants. Hence people with sensitive skin should select a cleanser w/ith a mild surfactant, acidic or neutral PH and with minimal skin residue. The type of cleanser that is best for you depends on your skin type.Oily skin tends to get better with a gel wash which helps to dissolve oil,make up,sunscreen etc.If you have normal skin use a foaming lotion cleanser.If your skin is dry or sensitive try a gentle creamy cleanser.Your dermatologist can help you to select an ideal cleanser for your skin.