How to Keep Your Face Clean [Helpful Skincare Tips from a Certified Beauty Expert]

Photo of beautiful young black woman with flawless skin looking at the camera
Photo by: Jessica Felicio

A few months ago, I was watching one of my favorite talk shows when I heard one of the invited skincare experts mention that women should cleanse their skin with a cleanser once a day (during nighttime) because doing it regularly strips the skin of essential oils and nutrients. I was perturbed because most of my adult life I had been advised to clean my face with a cleanser at least twice a day. Looking for clarity, I decided to conduct a quick Google search on skincare. Unfortunately, I came away more confused by all the conflicting information from my search.

Fast forward to a month ago, I reached out to my good friend, Anna, a licensed and certified skincare expert to clear up my confusion. She’s also a certified Dermalogica expert and a lash artist from Borboleta. Anna operates her own beauty bar, Anna’s Beauty Bar, which she opened last year.

We decided to host a Facebook Live for members of our gapmuseWomen Facebook group to answer the most pressing questions women may have about keeping their face clean and achieving healthier and radiant skin.

Here are excerpts from our Facebook Live session. We hope you will find the answers to help you develop a skincare routine that gives you the healthier and radiant skin you deserve.

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1. How important is it to cleanse our skin?

Anna: Yeah, it is very important. Everybody should do it. It’s the first step of your skincare routine. It’s an important step to a long anti-aging routine because when you cleanse your skin, it helps your moisturizer and antioxidants penetrate the skin better.

2. Why do we have to cleanse our skin?

Anna: It’s important because we have excess oil in our skin. We produce oil and we also sweat. We touch our skin. And so sometimes germs get into our skin. Also, when we go outside there are smog and air pollutants that can stick to our skin and affect our barrier. Cleansing helps to protect us from all these pollutants. It’s critical because if our skin barrier is disrupted, it leads to water loss, irritants go inside our skin and inflammation can occur. So yes, we should clean our skin, especially at night.

3. How many times should we be doing it? Do we need to clean in the morning? Is it the same regardless of age?

Anna: Dermatologists recommend twice a day; once at night and another in the morning. And I would say that it’s very important to do it at night. You don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth, right? Cleaning your skin is kind of similar. It’s important to clean it and nurture it, especially at night because 80% of our cell renewal happens at night. Usually, we put our richer moisturizer, serum, or our retinol at night. It’s important that everything goes in and penetrates well, hence clean skin is a must.

In the morning, you should definitely wash your face as well. Even though you clean your face very well at night, you want to take off any allergens, smog or dust your hair may have caught, especially if you haven’t washed it. Furthermore, during summer, air conditioning may impact your skin by releasing dust and other pollutants.

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You may have used an exfoliant or a renewal product that can create extra dead skin cells on the skin surface. All the above residues need to be taken off. Washing your face in the morning helps also with water retention. When you put water on your face and then apply moisturizer, your face will retain water. It locks the water in and this helps with the application of your foundation or before applying any other makeup.

Washing your face twice a day with a cleanser will not strip your face of essential oils if you choose the proper product for your skin type. Typically, when you notice that your skin is drying after washing your face, it is caused by the wrong choice of product. It’s best to talk to your esthetician to determine what type of cleanser is best for you for your type of skin. Sometimes you buy a cleanser that disrupts your PH balance and that will affect the proper function of your skin barrier.

4. How should we wash our face?

Anna: We should use lukewarm water, not hot water. We want to make sure we take everything off, especially for people that have some congestion and oily skin. Wet your hands or your face, and then start performing upwards, circular motions, and then downwards circular motions everywhere in your face. Pay attention to the nose, the side of the nose, making sure to be thorough because we want to clean the grime that is under our hair to avoid congestion and inflammation.

5. Can we use soap?

Anna: Clients often ask what the difference is between soap and a cleanser. They both clean the skin, however soap strips away the skin’s natural protective barrier. So I definitely suggest cleansers.

6. How do we choose a cleanser? (Should we use it every time we  wash our face?)

Anna: I would say, if after washing your face you feel that your face is a little bit uncomfortable and tight, that means you are using some cleanser that is not for your skin. I would recommend a cleanser that has a pH balanced. When in doubt the one for sensitive skin is usually ph balanced. The bubbly ones tend to be more for oily skin while the creamy ones are gentler and very good for normal to dry skin. Personally, I have dry, dry skin, so I go for the creamy one.

Dermalogica has many types of cleansers that have different properties. These include PreCleanse, Special Cleansing Gel, PreCleanse Balm, Intensive Moisture Cleanser, Dermal Clay Cleanser, Skin Resurfacing Cleanser, UltraCalming™ Cleanser, and Clearing Skin Wash.

PreCleanse is the first part in the Dermalogica Double Cleanse. It dissolves oil-based makeup, sebum and sunscreens as well as everyday dirt and debris that collects on the skin.

“Soaps and detergents dissolve oil-based debris with alkaline surfactants that disrupt the skin’s natural pH and strip crucial barrier lipids that protect and moisturize our skin. But, Precleanse molecules are specially designed to have both a lipophilic, or oil-loving, the side that is attracted to oil-based debris and a hydrophilic, or water-loving side attracted to water. Because like attracts like, Precleanse’s oil-loving side bond’s to oil-based debris while it’s water-loving side helps it rinse away with water, gently removing oil-based debris and perfectly prepping for a pH balanced more targeted and deeper second cleanse. ” – Dermalogica.

7. What is a Toner? Do I need it?

Anna: There are many different types of toners in the market. Some are astringents meant to strip oil off of the skin, some are meant to be applied to a cotton pad and remove excess residue; however, with Dermalogica the purpose of toners is to refresh and hydrate the skin along with conditioning and preparing it for proper moisture absorption or moisturizer.

8. How often should you use a toner? Should you select a toner based on your skin type?

Anna: Well, there are different ones. For example, if you have hyperpigmentation or dull skin, there are toners that are brightening and exfoliating. However, I would not use them in the summer. When you use brightening toner in the morning, you leave it on during the day. Some of the ingredients in these toners can lead to hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) Another cause of hyperpigmentation, which many people are not aware of, is the lack of sunscreen. It’s an important step, especially during summer days.

9. What should be your basic skin routine?

Pre-cleanse/Cleanser/Toner/Serum/Moisturizer. You can use this acronym to make it easier to remember your basic skincare routine: PCTSM.

You have to put a moisturizer and then sunscreen. There are moisturizers that also have sunscreen. Dermalogica has one that has antiaging ingredients called Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50

No matter your skin type, we can all agree it’s important to have a basic skincare routine that keeps your face clean, hydrated, healthy, and radiant. Washing your face appropriately at least twice a day, choosing the right cleanser and toner, using the right moisturizer, and protecting your skin with sunscreen are the essential skincare steps you need to take help you achieve your goal. We hope these valuable skincare tips from Anna will be your stepping stone to healthier and radiant skin.

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