Face wash is the most basic foundation of a solid skincare routine. Whether you oil cleanse, double wash or love a good scrub down before applying your serums and oils, consistent cleansing is where most of us start our quest for glowing skin. According to a pro we spoke with recently, cleansing the wrong way is at the root of more skincare issues (think: breakouts) than you may expect — and is hugely problematic for skin issues like acne. So what’s is the correct cleanser for breakouts?
One of our team members with troubled skin recently had a full consult with Pai Skincare founder, Sarah Brown. We were surprised to learn that the most radical change Sarah sees in clients with acne breakouts happens after they change their daily cleanser. With all the hubbub over special treatments and serums for breakouts, we were somewhat relieved to hear this and needed to learn more. According to Sarah, while a stripping face wash might feel necessary for oily skin, it could actually be severely drying and trigger the vicious cycle of excess oil production. Swapping to a gentle cleanser can unveil a completely different skin-type — and prompt a whole new approach to skincare products.
Sarah launched a skin consultation program that comes free of charge to all Pai customers. Consultant work with interested shoppers to help them find healthful solutions to their skincare problems, not just quick fixes. Like us, Sarah believes in developing an understanding of skincare from a lifestyle point of view. When it comes to decoding your skin problems, products are important, but lifestyle is key. Here are a few of Sarah’s simple tips for clearer skin:
Swap to a gentle cleanser: Pai’s Camelia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser is their number one best-seller with good reason: the product can transform troubled skin by soothing and balancing oil production. A great gentle cleanser for breakouts and skin that’s freaking out.
Use a new washcloth daily: If breakouts are troubling you, go to the effort of changing your washcloth far more often to allow skin to cleanse and heal. Consider changing your pillowcase more often as well. In fact, Sarah recommends ditching detergent all together for pillowcases (go for a hot wash or try using an Ecoegg instead!)
live well for better skin: Get enough high-quality sleep every night, load up on skin-healthy foods and keep your hydration levels optimal. The little things really do matter. Pai’s organic, vegan and cruelty-free products are made for sensitive skin and their unique service of personalized skincare consultations come at no charge — a unique offering among brands. Book a virtual appointment here to speak to their team of specialists who will offer holistic skincare advice and non-pushy product recommendations.
Ingredients in cleansers to avoid? From a skin sensitivity point of view my top three ingredients to avoid would be:
+ Harsh detergents. These strip the skin, spike its pH and can cause irritation. Look for sulfate/sulfates and betaines on the ingredients list. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate is the most commonly used and can be sensitizing.
+ Propylene Glycol is a petrochemical that’s used as a humectant (draws in and retains moisture) and an emulsifier. My skin really reacts to it!
+ Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone – often abbreviated to ‘MI’ are used as a preservative in skincare. They’re reported to be a trigger for eczema flare-ups.
If you find ingredients hard to decipher (you’re not alone!) – my general rule would be to avoid disposable wipes and any cleanser that foams. If your skin feels tight and taut after cleansing then you’re using the wrong product.
How often do you recommend to cleanse? I suggest once a day and always in the evening to cleanse make-up and dirt that has built up over the day. Your skin hasn’t been exposed to environmental factors during the night so sensitive skin can be cleansed and refreshed in the morning with water, or a toner/tonic or even rose water – to remove any sweat or minor impurities.
what do you recommend acne prone skin after cleansing? Keep your routine simple. Less is often more, particularly with sensitive skin. After cleansing, apply an alcohol-free toner/tonic, our BioAffinity Skin Tonics help to feed the skin with amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and while the skin is slightly damp apply either an oil, serum or cream. We prefer oils or serums as they aren’t too heavy and aids your skin’s repair process overnight. For acne-prone skin a combination of rosehip oil 2-3 nights a week to help repair and regenerate the skin (helps reduce persistent blemishes and prevent scarring) and our Copaiba & Zinc Blemish Serum the nights you aren’t using the Oil to help fight bacteria and reduce acne.
What Is your take on double cleansing? I recommend double cleansing if you wear make-up and/or sunscreen, as these products are thicker and tougher to remove. We recommend starting with an oil cleanser to help breakdown makeup, followed by a gentle cream cleanser. Our Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil is great at breaking down makeup and on contact with water, it turns to a milk – which makes for really easy removal and no sticky oil traces on the skin. We suggest following this with our Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser which contains three plant oils (camellia, castor and sweet almond) which work in different ways to gently dissolve dirt, lift away impurities and leave the skin feeling soft and plumped afterward.