How to Choose the Right Facial Cleanser
Author: Jasmine M. ("Pending" blogger, till June/July 2020!)
The Roots of My Routine
I first started getting cystic acne and blackheads, in middle school. This meant that, suddenly, I had to develop an acne treatment plan, a skin-care routine. Spoiler Alert: Washing my face with water, and a bar of soap, was no longer acceptable! Naturally, my new skin care regimen was rooted in an acne fighting cleanser, because using a cleanser for normal skin no longer cut it. I felt desperate to fix my pimple problem. I didn’t care if the products I bought were harsh on my skin. In fact, I almost preferred that. I believed that if a cleanser contained powerful ingredients, which were harsh on my skin, then the cleanser would also be harsh on bacteria. Harsh on bacteria meant harsh on acne too, which was exactly what I wanted—or so I thought.
An Unbalanced Routine
Over time however, I learned that our skin is complex. Skin is a delicate ecosystem, and it has many different layers, all of which work together to protect the body. While some of the products I used, like the" Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser" did help to lessen my acne slightly, they also made my skin extremely dry, and highly sensitive to sun exposure. My skincare routine lacked an important factor: balance. What I did not realize, was that by focusing on trying to heal only one aspect of my skin, I was forgetting about the rest of it. I was throwing my skin’s ecosystem even further out of balance.
An Issue with Acids
Acids are naturally-occurring compounds that can help to break down dead skin, and which play a vital role in many skincare products. In fact, many parts of the body are naturally acidic. However, not all acids are created equal, and not all acids should be used the same way. I was using cleansers that contained both harsh acids (like Kojic Acid), and soapy detergents- twice a day, every day. If you want to learn more about why detergents (the chemicals that make cleansers lather) are disruptive to the skin, read this informative article.
My skin had no time to regenerate from the acids in my cleansers, like it would have- if I was using a skin peel, and then following proper healing protocols. Moreover, the detergents I used were making my skin extremely dry and irritated. As if things couldn’t get harsher, I lived in a sunny place, but I mistakenly thought SPF was a recommendation, not a requirement. Thus, my cleansing routine made my skin prone to hyperpigmentation and sun damage. Understandably, after years of sun exposure, a heavy reliance on gritty scrubs and exfoliants, and an attachment to bad cleansers, my skin was exhausted.
When I was in my final years of high school, I discovered that, amazingly, I could use pure Oregano Extract to heal my acne. Unfortunately, there was an issue. As my acne cleared, I began noticing that the skin on my face looked a lot more tired and uneven than the skin on the rest of my body. I had dark spots, uneven skin texture, dark patches, and large, clogged pores. I quickly realized that I needed to be more loving, and gentler with my skin- if it was ever going to heal completely. Most importantly, I needed to begin look at my skincare holistically. This meant that I had to pay careful attention to the ingredients in everything I used—starting with my cleansers. I decided to begin rebuilding my skin-care routine from the ground up.
Today’s blog offers a Step-by-Step Guide, with 3 practical steps, to help you choose a cleanser that will both clean and nourish your skin. While everyone’s specific skincare needs are different, most of what we need in a cleanser is universal. I will be using the Devoted Things Facial Glow Daily Cleanser, as my example for each step. This nutrient rich, powerful herbal cleanser was developed to help acne prone skin. It checks off all the most important boxes for me. As you go through this list, feel free to review the ingredients in your current cleanser. Do you like what you see?
Step One: List Your Skin’s Needs
What are your major skincare concerns? Do you suffer from blackheads or acne? Do you notice wrinkles that you want to minimize? Do you have an uneven skin texture that you’d like to smooth out? It’s important to know what you’re dealing with, so that you can begin to look at your skin holistically. Consider whether you have dry skin, oily skin or combination skin. As someone who deals with pigmentation left from acne, The Facial Glow Daily Cleanser is a good choice for me, because it specifically works to naturally lighten dark spots and dark patches. A great 15 day review by a customer, can be seen here! In my case, within just 3 or 4 days, I started noticing my overall skin tone looked brighter, and my pores were much clearer. Because I have combination skin, or skin that can be both dry and oily at the same time, the fact that this cleanser cleans my pores thoroughly, without being drying at all, is a huge plus.
Step Two: Focus on Plant Power
It’s important to try to avoid using harsh chemicals on the face as much as possible. Just because something is approved for use on the skin, doesn’t mean that it does not pose health risks, or that it will be good for the skin in the long run.
The ingredients in your cleanser should target at least one or two of the concerns you listed in Step One, but they should not create more problems for you to deal with later. Instead of opting for cleansers that contain harsh acids or drying detergents, consider using a cleanser that offers a combination of minerals, salts, flowers, leaves, roots and fruit (ingredients which have not been heavily refined) to cleanse the skin. One of the reasons I like the Facial Glow Daily Cleanser, is that it’s full of these powerful, natural ingredients. It contains dried lemon, which is known for having natural skin lightening and detoxifying abilities. Additionally, instead of relying on a chemical to fight bacteria (like Benzoyl Peroxide, which severely dries the skin), The Facial Glow Daily Cleanser uses potent, nourishing, natural ingredients, like turmeric. Turmeric is an age-old root, known for its powerful antioxidant, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as for its natural ability to lighten dark spots. To really get a feeling for the power of plants, like turmeric, check out this video by one of my favorite Youtubers, Sherelle Saint Rose! In the video, Sherelle does a “five day turmeric face mask challenge,” and her results are astounding.
Step Three: Gentle Cleansers Build Strong Foundations
When dealing with skincare issues, it can be tempting to forget about the overall health of your skin, and to instead focus on eradicating a single problem. As you choose a cleanser, remember that the gentle, holistic approach is much better at this stage. A cleanser is used daily, often morning and night. More intensive treatments can always be factored into your routine later! Something moisturizing, and mild, containing nourishing herbs, can still have powerful effects overall. In fact, by avoiding harsh ingredients, you ensure that you will create a strong foundation for the rest of your skincare routine. Remember, a strong skincare routine starts with skin that has been strengthened, not weakened, during the cleansing process. Plants like aloe vera, and flowers like roses, are particularly good at gently nourishing the skin. The Facial Glow Daily Cleanser contains many gentle and nourishing herbs and flowers, including some of my favorites: rosehips and chamomile. Both flowers are well known for their soothing, calming properties. Most of all, remember to be gentle with yourself! Healing the skin can be an emotional process, but if you’re patient with your body, and dedicated to building a well-rounded routine, you’ll be on the path to glowing skin in no time.
Peace and Love,
After about 4 weeks, of using the Facial Daily Glow Cleanser, I already noticed amazing results. My skin tone was evening out, and, in conjunction with the Indented Scar Peel, my acne scars were lightening too. However, I still had some blackheads and clogged pores, which I am particularly prone to, so I switched to the Detox Facial Cleanser. WOW. What an incredible transformation! I've been oscillating between the Facial Daily Glow Cleanser, and the Detox Facial Cleanser for about two months now, and I have decided that, for me, the Detox Facial Cleanser is "the one." It's important to remember that every natural product has different benefits. As you work on your list of skincare concerns, those concerns might change over time. I recommend being open to new products, changing things up once in a while, and being flexible with your skincare routine :) Now that I'm using the Detox Facial Cleanser, my pores are much clearer, I barely ever get blackheads/whiteheads, and I'm subsequently getting far less acne than I used to.
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