Big Pharma Makes Millions Selling Cleansers But Do We Really Need Them?

Do you follow a cleansing routine religiously? Do you practice double cleansing? If you do then you should know that it could be the worst thing you’ve ever done to your skin. Look at any skincare brand and you will find that they offer a variety of cleansers claiming to do all sorts. You have to ask, can cleaning your skin really be that complicated? After all, the rest of our body is okay with soap so why should our face differ?

I am going to rock your world and say that your skin is self-cleansing! Yes, your skin cells are constantly shedding themselves keeping your skin fresh and supple but most of all clean. Evolution is the best and least invasive system in place so why would you want to wreck a process that’s taken thousands of years?

The structure of the skin consists of a base layer above which are layers and layers of cells. The cells die as they move to the surface releasing a **waterproof** coating that protects the skin, preventing it from being damaged by the “uglies” of outside. By uglies I mean bacteria, toxins, chemicals and other nasties that could cause us harm. As the cells move up and die they slough ridding the skin of grime.

I am not saying don’t keep clean; that’s just not socially acceptable. What I am saying is to reevaluate what touches your skin. Modern living means we are surrounded by chemicals and in contact with nasties that do need washing off! Take makeup, for instance, makeup can block pores and cause breakouts if not removed, and who wants it on your pillow in the morning anyways? I hate to say this, but if it’s so bad for your skin that you need to remove it at night then why would you have it on all day, goddamit?

What I am saying is that deep cleansing and scrubbing your face will impair your skin’s natural defences, stripping it of its waterproof coating, and in the vast majority of people cause sensitised skin and other skin conditions. Eczema, rosacea, sensitive skin and acne-prone skin all have one thing in common- a **compromised skin barrier**. If you have one of these conditions then you will know that even the smallest changes in diet, environment or what you are using on your skin can cause huge problems for you. This is because your skin is over sensitised; inflammation has set in and won’t go away easily. Speak to any dermatologist and they will say less is more. Most would prefer that you pare everything back, including other products too, to just a few ingredients, and all agree that harsh detergents and over-cleansing can cause many of the skin conditions they see.

A dermatologist recently told me that the best advice she gives her patients is not to soap the whole body down every bath or shower. Instead just clean the areas that are dirty and need to be kept hygienic, and if possible use creme soaps that are approved by dermatologists. Radical advice, considering we are constantly told the opposite by the media and cosmetic companies!

So what if you feel you need some colour on your face? Opt for a sunscreen with a tint or a “skin kind” foundation like Oxygenetix, specifically designed for problem skins. If you really have to wear makeup, remove it with a gentle cleanser or a microfine cleansing cloth and water, but whatever you do, don’t double cleanse!! Instead, invest in good advice from a professional who knows skin.

Nowadays, there are a plethora of aesthetic doctors, nurses and skin therapists who really know their stuff and can prescribe you a medical skincare regime. Avoid anyone who pushes one specific brand, because they probably are just pushing it as a sideline to their business. Instead, look for someone who will give you generic advice. By generic, I mean that they should tell you the ingredients to look for in skincare and recommend a few basic actives to start you on your skin journey.

Look out for the big red flag that says “FREE consultation”, as we all know there is no such thing as a free lunch. They are going to want to push their clinic-affiliated brands onto your bathroom shelf. Instead expect to pay a consultation fee of anything from £50-£100. Expensive you think? Not so. Anyone who does a thorough skin consultation has to take the time to find out what products you are using and then look at the ingredients and what they are doing for you. Then he or she will analyse your skin and medical history relevant to your problem, possibly take a scan and then spend the time talking you through your next steps in your skin journey. Of course, they can make recommendations for their favourite products; that’s what you’re there for. However, make sure they are incorporating the products you are using into the products you already own.

If I have done my job properly you may be feeling a bit unnerved about your current skincare routine but I hope that you are questioning the status quo. Whether you decide to agree with me or not, I hope that you will consider what I have said before you blindly reach for your purse and fork out a fortune for that miracle cleanser from XYZ ltd!!

More about the author: Dr. Nichola Maasdorp is a dentist, with over 26 years of clinical experience, many of which she has spent specialising in medical aesthetics and skincare. Her passion is helping her patients feel amazing and confident by helping them solve the problems they are experiencing with changes in their skin and the inevitable ageing process we all suffer from. She is a Clubhouse panel speaker of the very popular Skin Talk available Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 5pm. Listen LIVE to pros from all over the UK talk about all things skin and share their invaluable advice on topics such as LED therapy, skin products, the skin microbiome and much more.

Follow her on Instagram @nichola.maasdorp.no4.clinic

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