Are You Cleansing Your Skin the Right Way?

Cleansing your skin is one of the most important steps in any skincare routine, and it can have a significant impact on the overall look and feel of your skin, whether good or bad. If you’re using the wrong kind of cleanser for your skin type, you could be worsening unwanted skin conditions like dryness or oiliness. On the other hand, switching to a more appropriate cleanser can help to clear and rebalance your skin for a smoother and healthier-looking complexion.

Here are a few tips for choosing the right cleanser and properly washing your face to maximize its effects.

Choosing the Right Cleanser for Your Skin Type

Before you can accurately choose the right products, you’ll need to know your skin type. There are 16 different Baumann Skin Types, and each has a unique set of needs (Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications). If you’re not sure which type you are, you can find a Skin Type Solutions physician partner in your area who can help you assess your skin using this questionnaire.

Once you know your skin type, it’s time to choose the right cleanser. Whether you are dry or oily will play a key role in determining which products to avoid and which to use.

Dry Skin Types

If your skin is dry and prone to acne, use a glycolic acid cleanser to help clear away dead skin cells from the surface, which can otherwise build up and cause clogged pores. Some good glycolic acid cleansers to try include Essopi Glycolic 10% Moisturizing Cleanser or Glycolix Elite 10% Moisturizing Cleanser or other glycolic acid cleansers that help lower skin PH and hydrate the skin. Avoid cleansers that foam, as these contain ingredients that can worsen dryness.

When cleansing your skin, use lukewarm water–not scalding hot–and avoid abrasive scrubs that may irritate or redden your skin. If your skin mildly flakes, you can try a gentle scrub like Clinique 7-Day Scrub Cream, SkinMedica Exfoliating Cleanser or my favorite NIA 24 Cleansing Scrub.

Rosacea Skin Types

Those with rosacea will need to take special care when cleansing their skin to minimize irritation and control redness. Rosacea skin types should not use any glycolic acid on the skin and should avoid scrubs and exfoliating cleansers. Avoid hot water ( use lukewarm water) and use a gentle cleansing motion rather than vigorously rubbing or scrubbing skin. Look for anti-inflammatory ingredients like feverfew, green tea, argan oil and oatmeal. Avoid glycolic acid and vitamin C, as these ingredients can lead to redness and irritation. If your skin is dry and red, you can skip cleansing in the morning, but be sure to wash your face at night before you go to bed.

Stinging Skin types

Sensitive skin types that experience stinging and burning should avoid cleansers that contain alcohol, witch hazel, glycolic acid, lactic acid, and benzoic acid. Choose instead soothing cleansers with anti-inflammatory ingredients. PCA Creamy Cleanser is the best cleanser for irritated skin that experiences burning and stinging.

Oily Skin Types

If you have oily skin, foaming cleansers can help to remove excess oils from the surface of your skin. For oily, resistant skin, use an exfoliating salicylic acid cleanser like Vivité Exfoliating Facial Cleanser or NoLIO Gly/Sal Pore Minimizing Cleanser. If you have sensitive skin, try La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser or Topix Benzoyl Peroxide 5% Acne Cleanser to help clear your skin without causing irritation.

As a general rule, oily skin types should stay away from creamy or milky cleansers, as these products can deposit additional oil onto the skin.

Acne Skin Types

The cleanser to choose for acne skin types depends a lot upon how dry or oily your skin is. If you have very oily skin and severe acne, try a benzoyl peroxide wash such as Topix Benzoyl Peroxide 5% Acne Cleanser. If benzoyl peroxide is too irritating for your skin, try NoLIO Gly/Sal Pore Minimizing Cleanser or other salicylic acid cleansers found here. Salicylic acid (SA) cleansers are the best cleansers for acne and the most recommended by dermatologists for acne. This is because SA is able to penetrate down deep into the pores and remove oil, sebum and dead cells and dirt. Other ingredients such as glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide are not able to penetrate the oil and sebum and therefore cannot clean out the pores as effectively as salicylic acid can. This is why salicylic acid cleansers are the best cleansers to shrink pores, prevent blackheads and remove blackheads. If your skin is oily and acne- prone, use the salicylic acid cleanser twice a day. If your skin is dry, you can use a salicylic acid cleanser once a day to clean the pores and use a hydrating non-foaming cleanser such as Quintessence QSS Purifying Cleanser.

Tips for Washing Your Face

No matter your skin type is, there are a few general tips for washing your face that everyone can benefit from, including:

  • Thoroughly rinse your face. Leftover cleanser can settle into your pores and irritate the skin
  • Launder your washcloth regularly to avoid depositing dirt and makeup back onto your skin
  • Moisturize your skin immediately after you shower while your skin is still damp. This will help lock moisture into your skin

The Bottom Line

Properly cleansing your skin is a crucial step in any skincare routine, so it’s important that you’re using the right products for your skin type. This will set your skin up for success and help you to maintain a beautiful, healthy-looking complexion. The best way to know what skin care is right for you is to find a doctor that will diagnose your baumann Skin type and prescribe a regimen that is customized for your skin’s needs. Click here to find a doctor who has been specially trained by me on how to design a skin care regimen for your skin.

Dr. Leslie Baumann, M.D. and her team at Baumann Cosmetic Dermatology believe in proof, not promises. World-recognized for both cosmetic and general dermatology, our treatment strategies rely exclusively on evidence-based, scientifically verified products and procedures that promote skin health and a natural appearance. We combine effective medical procedures with individualized instruction on proper skincare, nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle in order to maximize the health of the skin and body as a whole while minimizing the effects of aging. For more, visit Dr. Baumann’s blog for daily updates Monday through Friday, or inquire about an appointment through

September 7, 2017 Acne, Eczema/Dry Skin, Rosacea, Skin Type, Skincare