I read an interesting article in yesterday’s Daily Mail about the rising trend of ‘cleansing reduction’ – basically people washing less.
I’m a big believer that cleansing the skin too often and with the wrong (detergent based) products is at the root of most people’s skin woes. Simply put, it mucks up your oil and pH balance which sensitises and prematurely ages the skin.
You can read more about this in my earlier ‘5 tips for achieving skin balance’ post.
Why are face and body washes bad for skin?
Most cleansing products foam – and foam usually comes from detergents. Detergents are like antibiotics – they strip away everything including all the good stuff, namely your natural oil. They are also very alkaline so destabilise the skin’s acid mantle.
The common detergents to steer clear of on ingredients lists are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Cocamidopropyl Betaine. These ones are particularly drying and irritating for sensitive skin. I’m horribly allergic to both.
What do I recommend instead?
For the face I recommend using a 100% detergent-free cream cleanser and just at night. They’re best used with a muslin or other face cloth.
For the body I suggest high oil content soaps – such as Savon de Marseille – over foaming shower gels. These soaps are best used alongside a body puff as they help to generate a really good lather from not very much at all.
Would I suggest only washing weekly? Yes for young babies but no for adults! I say better to wash regularly with the right, skin-kind products than just weekly with the wrong ones.