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Myths busted: Cleansing sensitive skin

Myths Surrounding Cleansing Sensitive Skin. Discover four common cleansing myths and the key facts to know. From double cleansing, to water temperature, and the type of product to use, many women feel confused about how they should be cleansing their skin  – especially if it’s sensitive. So, to help you sort the fact from the fiction, our experts debunk four common cleansing myths and reveal their recommended tips.

MYTH 1: You should always double cleanse

The trend of double cleansing comes from Korea and Japan – the home of multiple-step skincare regimes. The idea behind it is that you need two different types of cleansers: one to remove makeup and a second to actually cleanse the skin. And, while this works for many people, it isn’t always necessary for more sensitive skin types as it can strip the skin of important oils and water. In turn, this can compromise the natural barrier leaving your face more prone to feelings of tightness, redness and flaking.


“We must consider what cleansing is doing to our skin barrier function,” says
Dr Justine Hextall, FRCP Consultant Dermatologist for La Roche-Posay. “Skin should maintain a pH of around 5.4 in order for optimal barrier function that provides the highest level of protection. With age the skin thins, making it a less efficient barrier against moisture loss and environmental aggressors. This means that every product — including cleansers — must be soothing and support the hydrolipidic film of the skin barrier. This is especially important for skin over 40 years old, which is prone to dryness as peri-menopause and menopause occur”.


La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel is a great option if you have more of an oily, combination skin type and Toleriane Dermo Cleanser is a wipe-off milk that’s ideal for sensitive and intolerant skin. Both are ultra-gentle so won’t disrupt the skin’s pH balance and skin barrier.


MYTH 2: You should always wash your face with hot water

You may think that cleansing with hot steamy water is a good way of clearing the pores, but this can actually aggravate sensitivity and leave your complexion blotchy, red and reactive. Instead try to cleanse with lukewarm water, taking care to gently massage in using a circular motion.


“If you wish you can also use a warm flannel to gently remove your cleanser,” says Dr Hextall. “But take care as over exfoliation can leave the skin red and mildly inflamed”. A splash of cold water at the end of your cleansing routine can also help to calm any redness and close the pores.


MYTH 3: You don’t need to remove eye makeup separately

While double cleansing the entire face isn’t necessary for sensitive skin types, dermatologists do advise removing heavy eye makeup and waterproof mascara first with a cotton pad. You should do this with a dedicated eye-makeup remover that makes light work of dissolving black eye liner and mascara. This then negates the need to scrub at the delicate eye area with your main cleanser - one of the sensitive parts of the face.

“Oil cleansers are very gentle on skin,” explains Dr Hextall. “They can be used in delicate areas such as around the eye area which with mascaras and liners may need careful cleansing. You can also use an oil or a balm for this first stage”.


MYTH 4: Your skin should feel squeaky clean after cleansing

“If your skin feels tight after washing, you are using the wrong cleanser,” advises Dr Hextall. “The tightness does not indicate ‘squeaky clean’ skin but suggests that the skin pH has been disrupted and increased water loss is likely to follow”.


If this sounds familiar, consider swapping for a gentle cleanser instead. La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser is a wipe-off milk that does not need to be rinsed off, developed for sensitive skin.




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