Grooming 101: Washing Your Face
Washing your face is important for healthy skin. Even though oily skin can be annoying, it is a necessary evil. This is because your body naturally produces a fatty, oily substance, known as sebum, as a barrier. This sebum is a lipid composed of fatty acids, waxes, triglycerides and cholesterol. Your skin needs this substance to maintain its lipid balance and hydration.
The oil on your skin then becomes a mixture of sebum, skin cells, sweat, and environmental impurities. This waterproofs and lubricates the skin and hair. It is protection because it holds in moisture, guards the skin from damage, and keeps out dirt, bacteria, and other bad stuff.
This protective barrier keep bad stuff out, but also keeps in too much of the naturally occuring stuff. So, we want to remove useless dead skin and excess sebum without messing up your skin’s normal biochemistry.
Keep pores clear
Your pores are basically little holes in your skin for cooling your body and protecting your skin. Pores that cool your body secrete sweat from the sweat glands below the surface. Pores that protect your skin house both hair follicles and oil glands. These are the pores that can clog when dead skin cells can’t escape the natural lipid barrier created by the sebum. So these naturally occurring pathways are blocked.
Keeping your pores clear of excess oil will ensure that your pores remain small and unclogged. Washing your face means you’re providing a clear path for the oil glands to use for escape. When your pores stay small, there’s a lower chance that they’ll accumulate excess dirt and grease. This reduces the likelihood of developing pimples or ingrown hairs.
Watch what’s in your wash
Let’s say this loud for those in the back: NO ALCOHOL-BASED FACE WASHES!
Simple alcohols are disinfecting and denaturing solvents that don’t clean sensitive skin as much as strip it. The disinfectant part of alcohol is actually it breaking down the oils and skin cells it comes in contact with. When the protective lipid barrier is removed and the skin cells stripped, your face will be exposed to oxidative damage. Your skin will be left dry and flaky, which means that the clear pathways made for hair and sebum could be affected. This is what causes irritation, breakouts, and accelerated aging. That’s why it’s important to avoid any facewash with alcohol inside.
There are facewashes, though, with skin-protective substances that contain lipids, enzymes, and antioxidants. They keep water and cleansing agents from penetrating into the skin, which means that your skin stays hydrated and healthy. You don’t necessarily need to use grainy scrubs as they’re not proven to be significantly better for your skin.
Exfoliating cleansers with glycolic- or salicylic-acid are good for your skin. These exfoliators contain fatty acids that combine with the structural lipids on the surface layer of your skin and dissolve them. Glycolic acids are smaller and penetrate farther than salicylic acids do. So, if your skin is photosensitive, you might want to use the just-as-effective salicylic acid.
When picking a facewash, you should know that anything with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties will help your skin stay protected. Completing your exfoliation routine by applying lotions that have moisturizers, antioxidants, and collagen-boosting serums will ensure that your newly-cleaned skin has the help it needs to stay healthy, hydrated, and protected.
Don’t over-do it
As refreshing as it is to wash your face, make sure you don’t go overboard. Too much exfoliation means you’re preventing that protective lipid barrier from actually protecting your sensitive skin. This could lead to even more skin damage and inflammation. So just be aware of this possibility.
If you have sensitive skin, you’ll only need to wash once a day. Otherwise you could be over-exfoliating and drying out your skin, thus leading to irritation, bumps, and ingrown hairs. If you have particularly oily skin, you’ll need to gauge how many washes a day make sense for your skin. And don’t forget: the winter months will usually have drier air, so you might not need to wash your face as often. Your routine might change as the weather does.
As long as you’re paying attention to your sensitive skin, you should be able to take care of it with a simple regimen of exfoliation and moisturizing. This means choosing the right chemicals to apply to your skin and letting it do its thing. It only takes three to four minutes to make sure your face is as healthy as it can be.
by Swagger Agency