Facial Cleansers - A Review of Facial Cleanser Types and Their Ideal Use
Deciding on what facial cleanser to use is very overwhelming, especially when faced with so many decisions. Things like skin type, cost, ingredients, scent, and brand can all have a major influence on ones ultimate decision. The decision is further complicated by the consequences of selecting the wrong type of facial cleanser. An incorrect decision may leave your skin dry and cracked, overly oily, or result in a breakout. There are so many products out there, and the purpose of this article is to help at least clarify some of the facial cleanser categories and also point out that the most expensive product is not always the superior product.
How to Determine Your Skin Type
- Gently wash your face
- Wait about an hour
- Dab your face with a tissue
- Determine skin type:
- Oily = greasy looking tissue
- Dry = not much change to tissue
- Normal = light greasy appearance
- Combination = greasy looking tissue from T zone and normal elsewhere.
*Combination skin is most common.
What is Your Skin Type?
Before selecting a facial cleanser, it is important to understand the basics of skin types.
- Normal Skin - Just as the name implies, your skin is, well, normal. Not overly oily, not overly dry. Skin elasticity feels good and you are likely not to have too many issues.
- Oily Skin - Oily skin tends to have a greasy appearance and you are more prone to breakouts. Less prone to wrinkling, but proper care is important.
- Dry Skin - A common characteristic of dry skin is a tight feeling. Sometimes you may notice a flaky or dry appearance. Dry skin can be sensitive and is prone to irritation and care must be taken to maintain its health.
- Combination Skin - You have both oily and dry areas. The oily areas tend to be along your nose and forehead. Dryer areas are most often around the eyes and cheeks.
Facial Cleanser Types
There are numerous types of facial cleansers, all likely having a unique claim and self identifying as superior. A good place to start is in determining skin type. This will help narrow your selection slightly. Then determine what other things are important to you: ingredients, sensitivity, cost, brand, environmental impact, etc. Below are several types of cleansers. This list is by no means exhaustive and many products may be a combination of some of these types. After reading below, you should have a few ideas of products to try. I hope people realize that they don't have to purchase the highest end and most expensive product to be effective at maintaining facial skin health.
Facial Cleanser For Dry Skin
Dry skin is often sensitive skin and will not respond well to a product loaded with chemicals. A product that has a high pH such as bar soap, or produces a lot of lather or suds like some foaming cleansers, can irritate the skin and contribute to further dryness. The best bet for dry skin is to select a product that is gentle. Look on the packaging for fewer ingredients, generally choose an unscented version, and select something that is non-foaming. Many of these things are advertised on the packaging. Cetaphil is a great product for normal to dry skin and dermatologist recommended.
Facial Cleanser For Oily Skin
Oily skin can generally tolerate a harsher cleanser. A good product should dissolve oil and dirt and leave your skin feeling refreshed, but not dry or tight. Overly gentle products may not be sufficient in removing oil and dirt so select a product intended for oily skin. It is important to know not to over wash your face or wash too frequently as this may stimulate further oil production.
Facial Cleanser For Combination Skin
As combination skin can be prone to drying out and also developing clogged pores, a good facial cleanser should cleanse the skin but not leave it feeling overly dry or scaly. This product is gentle on your skin and improves skin appearance. This is definitely a god all around product and a good place to start if you can't decide on your skin type.
Foaming Facial Cleanser
Foaming facial cleanser produces a rich lather that is generally harsher on the skin as the product does an excellent job at removing oil and debris. However, there are gentle versions that can be cleansing and not leave the skin feeling overly dry or cracked. A god product should prevent breakouts and leave your skin smooth, but not tight.
Nonfoaming Facial Cleanser
Non-foaming cleansers are often the most gentle and do not produce any foam. Due to the low foaming component, no harsh scrubbing is involved in removal. Often a damp towel to wipe the soap away is more than sufficient. This is a good option for someone with very dry or sensitive skin. These products often contain some type of lotion or cream.
Organic & Natural Facial Cleanser
Organic products come in many varieties and use organic ingredients. The thought is to avoid exposing your skin to any harsh chemicals. Many of these products also contain all natural ingredients, eliminating synthetic ingredients. There are several ingredients used such as oil, rice products, sugars, seaweed, and many plants such as sage, lavender, and lemongrass.
There are other types of facial cleansers, such as glycolic cleansers, that utilize glycolic acid. There are even recipes for homemade cleansers. The best place to start is to determine your skin type and try a product. Whatever you use, your skin should feel refreshed and clean and not remain oily or overly dry and tight. Blemishes should be under control and decrease over time if an issue. All the products listed above are common with great reviews. Start with one of these products and go from there. If uncertain, professional advice can be sought out from a dermatologist.