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Cleansing oils: Have you tried one yet?

Cleansing OilMy discovery of cleansing oils

So you know the story. When my oily skin become perimenopausal, it started to feel tight after cleansing. I did some research: most facial washes are pH balanced or even slightly alkaline, whereas our skin’s barrier is more effective when it is slightly acidic. Overtime they damage the barrier so moisture escapes and our skin feels tight. No wonder my poor skin felt dehydrated!  It was time to upgrade to a more nourishing cleanser.

I needed to do some research before I could recommend them to my clients. Here is what I discovered

Cleansing oils dissolve make up without drying out the skin

Unfortunately the detergents in many water based cleansers can’t differentiate between hydrating skin oils (lipids) and the oils in make up – so they strip the lot and dry out the skin. (It can take up to twelve hours for lipid levels to be restored). By contrast, cleansing oils and lipids share a similar structure. They can target and dissolve make-up and leave the lipids in place.  Genius!

Good bacteria loves a cleansing oil!

You are probably fed up of me nagging you about looking after the good bacteria in your gut. I really do believe that the health of your skin is dependant on the health of your gutOur skin needs to be slightly acidic (between 4.2 and 5.6) for the good bacteria on the surface to flourish. These good bacteria works closely with the immune system to strengthen the skin’s barrier and prevent any inflammation.  I believe that preventing inflammation is the future not just of skin care, but health in general. Unlike facial washes, cleansing oils have no pH – yay!

Cleansing oils vs emulsifying cleansing oils: Does it matter?

Single oil or oil blend cleansing oils leave behind small amounts of fatty acids which beef up the barrier and leave the skin soft and supple rather than tight. And this is my only concern with cleansing oils. Does this residue stop active ingredients penetrating? This is why I only recommend emulsifying cleansing oils that rinse off easily. (The only exception is clients with a very dry skin who can’t tolerate water). Cleansers need some water based emulsifiers to remove soluble dirt and sweat.

(Just bear in mind that whilst cleansing oils have no pH, emulsifying cleansing oils contain a small amount of surfactants, so just check the pH. (However, it tends to be fairly low compared to  most facial washes).

To double cleanse or not to double cleanse?

Avoid pollutionCleansing oils, especially emulsifying ones are designed to be used alone. However, if you live in a polluted area or if you have congested skin, I recommend double cleansing. In other words, remove make up with a cleansing oil followed by a facial wash to really deep cleanse the skin. I have seen dull skin transformed by double cleansing.

Can I use a cleansing oil if I have oily skin?

I always assumed that cleansing oils were too rich for my spot-prone skin. But for the past year I have been double cleansing with Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Oil followed by Neostrata Clarifying Cleanser. My skin has been very happy – no spots! I bumped into an ex-colleague a few weeks ago who commented on my ‘glowy’ skin. And then the lady at the deli asked how my skin looked so bright first thing in the morning!

A full review of Clinique Take the Day off Cleansng Oil coming up soon.

Charlotte Gwilliam

Anti-aging beauty blogger and full-time advocate for sunscreen

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