Cleansing and Toning

Cleansing

Regular cleansing is important and when done properly, it serves to remove dirt and grime, remove excess oil on the surface and skin pores, and aid the cell renewal process. It's usually advisable to use water-soluble creams or gels with tepid water or wipe-off lotions. For oily skin, use soap-free bars that are pH-balanced. When washing/cleansing the face, there are some key steps to follow:

  • Spread the cleanser gently over your face with your fingertips
  • Splash warm water in your face several times to rinse the cleanser thoroughly off- make sure there is no more residue on your skin.
  • With a clean towel gently pat your face- don't over dry- try to keep your face a little moist.
  • Onto your clean, moist skin apply a moisturizer or an active skin care product of your choice. Massage product into your face by gently tapping (not pulling or tugging) with your fingers until it is absorbed.

As was previously mentioned, it's generally a good idea to cleanse your face twice a day, usually in the morning and before going to bed at night. It is best to use lukewarm water and a mild cleanser free of harsh detergents, soaps, alcohol or other irritants.

Toning

There is ongoing debate as to whether or not toning is beneficial and whether or not it should even be considered part of the skin care routine. Many experts believe that facial toners improve the skin's texture when applied to skin after cleansing. They claim that they help close the pores and tighten cell gaps to prevent impurities from entering the skin.

There are a couple of problems with that argument. First, if you close your pores before applying a moisturizer, it can defeat the purpose as moisturizers are meant to be absorbed. Secondly, most toners contain alcohol or witch hazel (or both!) which dry the skin and can lead to irritation.

If you feel that you must use a toner, look for alcohol-free brands with ingredients such as chamomile, rosemary or rose water.

Toners containing chamomile, rosemary or rose water

As part of its natural process, in a perfect world, skin should be able to keep itself hydrated. In reality, however, irritants such as harsh cleansing products and excess exposure to environmental elements can upset the skin's natural balance. The conditions often remove the protective oil-based products in the skin thereby decreasing the effectiveness of its barrier. Because water can then evaporate from the skin more easily, the result can be drier skin- hence, the need for moisturizers.
When you exfoliate, you are removing the oldest dead skin cells that can cling to the skin's outermost surface. When it performed correctly, exfoliation leaves the skin feeling softer and newer-looking. Exfoliation also enhances penetration for expensive facial products like serums. There are two forms of exfoliation: Mechanical Exfoliation The lifeless cells are physically polished off with an abrasive. A salt glow, a body scrub made with sugar, coffee grounds, or oatmeal, or skin brushing are all examples of mechanical exfoliation.