Obviously, we should clean our face. We all know this. How to, is the question.

The last few decades, cosmetic companies have been telling us that cleansing our face is one of the most important things about skin care. They were right, they still are right. But the different ways to achieve a clean face are not all equal.

Our grandmothers were used to soap and water. Or even just water. Why can’t we just do this ? Go back to simple, classic methods. It worked for them, so why should’t it work for us ? Both men and women ?

We nowadays all live in a polluted area. Not only those who live in a city are exposed to exhaust fumes from cars, cigarette, smoke etc…. According to several studies, published in different dermatological journals, the microscopic particals found in these fumes could be responsible for increased hyperpigmentation (more on this later) and diminished skin hydration. Diminished skin hydration means skin looses its potential to defend itself and skin balance is impaired. Not a good thing.

Even if we can’t avoid being exposed to all this, it’s seems obvious that washing it all off at the end of the day could mitigate the damage. In fact, doing the job well, can affect everything you will do for your skin afterwards, says dr. Françoise Guiot, dermatologist and founder of the Centre Medical Saint Georges in Grez Doiceau, near Brussels (Belgium).

Traces of make-up, dead skin cells and pollutants that haven’t come off fully will diminish the effect of anything you put on your skin. The cleansing proces really primes your skin, especially for the natural biological and regenerative processes that happen at night.

And this does’t stop at eleminating dirt : the sole action of using your hands to massage your cleanser on your face increases the blood flow, which immediately improves the natural oxygenation and absorption of the skin. Think of all the additional anti-ageing benefits !

Now comes the question : which type of cleanser should one use ?

Studies (yes I do like them !) have shown that foams, for example, don’t remove dirt any better than, let’s say, milks or cleansing oils. I would personally even believe the contrary to be true. Many dirt particles don’t dissolve in water. Think of particles emitted by cars, or sebum produced by your own sebaceous glands. Oil dissolves oil, did you know that ? Oil, in fact, dissolves about anything you want to take off your face. From city pollutants to full cover make-up. From waterproof mascara to UV filters. Formulated as a good, water soluble formula, this type of cleanser seems the logic choice to me. So cleansing oils, balms, creams and milks. Melting gels, also.

Important, in all cases, is how your skin feels after cleansing. The goal should always be a soft, dewy, not-at-all-tight-feeling complexion. Never red, tight or dry. Not stripped from every bit of moisture you naturally have in your skin. Moisture is the first and most essential thing for your skin. Your skin lives on moisture; SO PLEASE try and remember this when washing your face.

NEXT TIME : Choosing your cleanser(s) well : dry skins, acne skin, ageing skin cleansers.