For building a skincare routine that supports happy, healthy and more youthful looking skin, cleansing should always be your first step. Yet for some reason, many people still neglect this foundational element of self care. Curious why cleansing is so important and what to use for skin type? We’ve got you covered! Keep reading for everything you need to know.
The Benefits: Why you need to use a cleanser daily
As the name implies, cleansers and face washes are what get your skin clean, removing sweat, dust, dirt, excess oil, bacteria, and other impurities from the skin’s surface as well as from within the pores. But beyond just basic cleanliness, there are some other reasons why this is important. Consider some of the additional benefits of regular cleansing:
- Benefit #1: Removal of pollution and environmental stressors
According to the International Dermal Institute, today’s modern-day environment is harder on the skin than ever before. This is due to higher levels of pollution and tons of toxic microscopic particles that are present in our air. From ground level smog to nitrogen emissions in the atmosphere, these pollutants can cling to the skin, compromise your skin health, and contribute to faster skin aging. However, cleansing can help by removing these unwanted additives and preventing the bad stuff from accumulating.
- Benefit #2: Preparation for other products and active ingredients
Because washing your face removes pore-clogging debris and surface buildup, dermatologists say cleansing also ensures that any other skin care topicals–such as anti-aging products, moisturizers, and sun protection–will work better. If you think about it, dirt, sweat, and oils can form a barrier on the surface of the skin which then prevents other important ingredients from being properly absorbed and doing their job.
Benefit #3: Proper hydration and regulation of oil production
Another unfortunate side effect of improperly cleansed skin is that it can start to become out of balance. The truth is that all skin types need oil and water to function optimally. However, if there is too much debris sitting on the surface and not enough water getting absorbed, your skin may actually start to produce excess oil to compensate, leading to more breakouts and clogged pores.
- Benefit #4: Maintaining overall skin health
As a living organ, your epidermis is constantly rejuvenating, producing new skin cells and shedding old layers. Cellular turnover is something your body does naturally, but as we age this process can start to slow down and your skin will need more help to keep its functionality on track. Luckily, experts agree that regular cleansing will help to remove unhealthy, dead, or damaged cells from the surface and facilitate healthy regeneration.
The Options: Cleanser types to know about and the best facial cleanser for men
Despite all the evidence for why cleansing is a must, where many people get caught up is trying to choose the right cleanser. Though the variety can be quite overwhelming, selecting a face wash according to your skin type, concerns, and condition is what will ultimately get you better results. So to help you decide, here is a breakdown of some of the most popular face wash options for men:
face cleanser for men
Gel Cleansers - Named for their gel-like consistency and texture, gel formulas are typically oil-free meaning they can be less moisturizing. Gel formulas also sometimes contain more exfoliating or active ingredients, such as alpha-hydroxy or beta-hydroxy acids.
- Cream Cleanser - The opposite of a gel cleanser would be a creamy cleanser, which uses a moisturizing oil or butter base and lathers less. Cream cleansers are great for nourishing and hydrating the skin, as well as breaking down other products, like SPF, at the end of the day.
Oil Cleanser - Although it may seem counterintuitive, oil-based cleansers work well for most skin types because like attracts like. The oil in the formula will help pull excess oil and impurities from the pores without stripping the skin.
Foam Cleanser - Similar to gel cleansers, a foam cleanser is one that starts as a water-gel but also lathers to a soft, foamy texture. They are considered to be a middle option between a creamy cleanser and a gel based face wash.
Powder Cleanser - A newer innovation, powder cleansers start as a powder formula and then lather once water has been added–making them great for on-the-go. The powder component also provides added exfoliation for a deeper cleanse.
Charcoal Cleanser - Charcoal cleansers are a trending type of cleanser that uses activated charcoal or bamboo charcoal powder. These are super effective for purifying the skin because they work like a deep cleanser, drawing dirt and other debris from the pores and the skin’s surface, but are quite gentle overall.
Jelly Cleanser - Another hybrid of cream and gel cleansers, jelly cleansers tend to be fairly thick or milky, and provide only a minimal lather, but can be a great option for anyone looking to get the best of both worlds.
- Cleansing Balm - The thickest of face wash types, cleansing balms start with a buttery consistency, which can then be melted down to an oily solution as you lather. These work great for breaking down other products, so they provide an excellent option for removing wearing SPF or other cosmetics.
The Details: Ingredients to look for according to your skin type and concerns
For Oily Skin - According to skin therapists, oily skin is most able to tolerate more active ingredients such as alpha-hydroxy or beta-hydroxy acids in a foam or gel formula. Additionally, this skin type does well with bamboo charcoal or tea tree for drawing out impurities and clay ingredients for absorbing excess oil.
- For Dry or Dehydrated Skin - Dry and/or dehydrated skin requires more moisture and hydration, so for this type creamy cleansers, balms, and oil-based ingredients work well. Look for naturally moisturizing and water-rich ingredients like rosehip oil, olive oil, or aloe vera, which can also help soothe dry or sensitive skin as an added benefit.
- For Combination Skin - Because combination skin experiences both oiliness and dryness (often simultaneously!) you’ll want to opt for hybrid cleansers that address both. For example charcoal powder or active acids, mixed with hydrating ingredients like aloe or borage oil. This type can also benefit from light exfoliation from an active gel or powder cleanser.
- For Acne and Breakouts - Although many people associate breakouts with oily skin, this isn’t always the case. In fact, acne can sometimes be the result of too little oil in the skin. Therefore, it’s a good idea to look for cleansers that balance and hydrate, as well as calm inflammation with gentle botanical ingredients like tea tree, calendula, red clover, or aloe.
- For Dark Spots - Dark spots and other uneven pigment tends to be the result of damage or trauma to the skin, either from UV, the environment, or a recent breakout. Helpful ingredients to look for for brightening include antioxidants like Vitamin C or plant-based extracts like turmeric, which naturally help to promote a clear and even complexion.
The Technique: Other cleansing tips
Once you’ve chosen your perfect cleansing product, there are a few more things to know to get the most mileage from your cleansing ritual. Here is what dermatologists and other experts recommend:
- Tip #1: Be thorough and don’t rush
Since cleansing should be the first and most fundamental step of your routine, make it a goal to spend at least two minutes washing your face. Using gentle pressure only, you will want to cleanse the entire face and neck area, massaging and you go, and making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies for best results.
- Tip #2: Timing matters
Depending on your skin type you should aim to cleanse once or twice per day. Oily, combination, and acne prone types should plan to wash their face both morning and night. However, if your skin is dry or sensitive, once per day in the evening, or after you work out, will likely be your best bet.
- Tip #3: Try double cleansing a few times per week
Another trick to try for getting your skin extra clean is double cleansing. Just as it sounds, this popular practice entails washing your face twice, back-to-back using either the same cleanser or using two different formulas, for example a cream and a gel, or a cleansing balm followed by a foaming cleanser. This helps to really deeply purify the pores and can be beneficial to include in your regimen a handful of times weekly.
The Go-To: Our Product Pick for All Skin Types
For a great daily option that eliminates guesswork and supports balance regardless of your skin’s condition, Vivalui’s Activated Charcoal Deep Pore Cleanser was designed to cover all your bases.
Using pure botanical ingredients including bamboo charcoal, aloe vera, calendula, and more, this incredible formula not only cleanses and exfoliates but also soothes, calms, and hydrates with every use. It’s natural, organic, simple, and simply the best for men of all ages and skin types.
Is Our Skin Dirtier Than Ever? By Dr. Diana Howard for the International Dermal Institute
Skin Cleansing 101: Why washing your face is important, By Lela Lankerani, MD, Dermatologist
How to pick a face wash based on your skin type By Kelsey Kissane for Vogue India
The importance of cleansing by Medfine Skin Clinic UK
Why you should wash your face twice: The double-cleanse method many skin care gurus swear by, explained By Alex Abad-Santos for VOX