It's extremely important that what you put on your skin isn't filled with harsh, stripping ingredients. Many added ingredients such as sulfates are very damaging to your protective skin barrier and even your overall health!
Sulfates, which are labeled as SLS(Sodium Lauryl Sulfate), SLES(Sodium Laureth Sulfate), ALES(Ammonium Laureth Sulfate), and ALS(Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate), are foaming and lathering agents in your products. It feels good when your skin is squeaky clean, right?! Well that squeaky clean isn't doing your skin any favors..sorry babes! Sulfates are surfactants which break down oil, makeup, and debris from your skin but they also remove those lovely protective oils too! Without those protective oils, your skin is prone to inflammation. Dehydration, rosacea, premature aging, acne, dryness, and oiliness are all results of inflammation. Be sure to choose a cleanser that is labeled without sulfates. You will notice these cleansers will not be as foaming, or foaming at all, so it will take some time getting used to.
Want to protect those lovely oils I mentioned earlier? Dive into oil cleansing! Oil cleansing is simply using an oil to cleanse your skin! Now, I know it sounds crazy to put oil on your skin, especially if you suffer from oily skin. But, rest assured, oil cleansing is magic! Oil binds to impurities on your skin such as makeup, sunscreen, dirt, and sebum and dissolves them away. A lot of cleansers are oil-free which disrupt your pH balance, causing your skin to be unbalanced and produce more oil; this equals oily, problematic skin! Oil cleansers protect your skin’s natural pH which prevents an overproduction of oil and will allow your skin to repair itself.
Now, which oil do I choose? Like with all skin care products, it’s trial and error. I recommend trying tamanu oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, or argan oil. You can certainly blend oils together to make your perfect, customized cleanser. Even add in some essential oils to make it smell yummy (plus the addition of the amazing benefits of essential oils too)!
Finally, how do I oil cleanse? It’s super easy! I prefer to apply the oil to dry skin and massage away. I focus the oil on my chin and around my nose where I get more congestion. Don’t rub too hard for too long so you don’t cause potential irritation. Massage for about 45 seconds to 1 minute to be sure every bit of debris is dissolved. Removal is just as easy! Some oil cleansers like CosMedix Purity Solution washes right off with water. Other oils need to be removed with a gentle, warm cloth. After removing, just apply your restoring serums, topicals, and moisturizer!
One more thing! It you are using a topical retinol or AHA product, I would consider using a second cleanser to be sure the oil is completely off. This is because AHA products cannot penetrate oil, and topical retinols need to be applied to clean skin—you want these babies to be completely effective!
With either sulfate-free cleansing or oil cleansing, you will notice a change in your skin's hydration, texture, tone, and the inflammation will disappear! Yay to healed, healthy skin!