The Power of Facial Cleansing; The Beauty Of Quality Oils
First let’s talk about why you should wash your face nightly and then we’ll talk about what to use. As women, we’re busy and we do a lot of things for others. We often work outside the home, run around town, and then start our “second shift” at home after a full day, nurturing friends and family before, after and in between. By the time bedtime comes around, we’re done. It’s tempting to cut corners, plop down and leave off cleaning your face until morning, when the whole exhausting cycle repeats. But if you want truly healthy, youthful and well-balanced skin for the long term, you should reconsider and carve out a few minutes every night.
One obvious benefit of a nightly face cleansing ritual (or daily for those who work at night) is to simply connect with your skin at least once every day, setting aside and taking a few precious minutes to simply look at and take care of yourself while literally washing away the day’s impurities and adding restorative moisture and nutrients. Skin needs time to repair and regenerate and sleep provides the perfect opportunity. Skin cells regenerate fastest when sleeping. Collagen and melatonin production rises and skin renewal rates almost double, so it’s important to maximize this time with a healthy cleansing and revitalizing ritual.
Your face will do its best restorative work without any makeup, sunscreen or any of the many other environmental pollutants we are all exposed to every day. Cleansing every night reduces clogged pores and breakouts and creates a clean canvas to add restorative nutrients using quality facial serums and moisturizers. Moisturizing after cleansing is important because we lose water and moisture through our skin at night as our body temperature rises. Quality moisturizers offset that process while adding nutrients that accelerate recovery. Following a regular routine before sleep is important so your body has time to fully absorb these nutrients and you can maximize the long-term benefits of cleaner, healthier and more youthful skin.
Now that you know why it’s important to cleanse and nourish the skin before sleep, let’s talk about what to use and why. Allow me to introduce you to your new best friend: oil cleansing. Sounds counterintuitive right? We were all taught from a young age that squeaky-clean, oil-free skin is synonymous with clear and healthy skin. Actually, that is not entirely true and hides some seriously negative side effects.
There is a saying in chemistry: “like dissolves like.” Specifically and with respect to skin care, oil dissolves oil. Common wisdom has been to use non-oil based cleansers to remove excess skin oil and impurities. And while many products do both, they are entirely too harsh, stripping both the bad and the good oils, causing imbalances that your skin struggles to correct. Skin, like life, strives for balance. Skin requires oil to function properly (i.e., for lubrication and retaining moisture) and cleansing with soaps or astringents will strip the good natural oils from your skin, actually prompting your skin to produce more oil to restore balance. Unintentionally, people create a cycle of stripping and overproduction that is often counterproductive.
Unlike the harsh cleansers relied on by many consumers, using high quality oils to clean your face will effectively and efficiently dissolve excess sebum (aka skin oil), too much of which clogs pores, together with other environmental impurities, leaving your epidermis clean, nourished and well balanced. Because your natural oils have simply been cleaned and replaced, rather than stripped, your skin will not overcorrect by producing excess oil. Your skin care and makeup regimen will actually be easier and your skin tone will be better, more consistently balanced, moisturized and healthy.
This is not to say that you should cleanse your face with any oil. Cleansing with an oil-based cleanser that has the proper combination of plant based and essential oils is key. The oils should be carefully chosen and properly combined to maximize natural cleaning and restorative properties. All oils are not created equal. Some oils are comedogenic, meaning they can clog pores. Some oils are non-comedogenic, meaning they don’t (or are less likely to) clog pores. The right combination will remove dirt, environmental toxins, sunscreen and makeup, while cleaning, moisturizing and protecting your skin’s lipid barrier with restorative nutrients that let your skin’s sebaceous glands know they are well balanced and do not need to overcorrect by producing unnecessary oil.