Thursday, 22 March 2012

The soap story...

A feature I will have in blogs to come is advice in my field of expertise...skincare, makeup and fragrance.  For the past 10 years I have lectured and/or trained non-qualified and qualified individuals.  I have worked with the best names in the industry and have a vault of knowledge. 
In all my years I cant say I’m surprised to see what people use on their skin to cleanse it, from just plain water, to urine, to diamond dust.  I’m not here to convince you otherwise, but merely educate you on the use of soap versus a cleanser.
Skin basics
I’m not going to bore you with the anatomy and physiology of the skin structure, but I think the most important thing you need to remember is your skin contains natural oils and has something very important called an “acid mantle”. 
In my early days I was invited to shadow in a research and development laboratory for a very well known international cosmetic house.  I was there to observe professionals who create and develop all the skincare, makeup and fragrances that end up on the shelves.  What an amazing experience!
The first thing I learnt was the construction of soap.  Which, in my opinion, is the best starting block for a good skincare regime.  Got a good cleanser, you half way there.  I learnt that there are foaming agents in soap that strip your skin of the natural oils your skin produces and breaks down the acid mantle. 
What are the natural oils and acid mantle doing for my skin?
The natural oils are produced by glands in our skin, which basically help to waterproof hair and skin as well as protect it from drying out.  The acid mantle provides a natural acid balance to the skin which helps protect our skin from infection, as the acid layer tends to neutralise most contaminants due to their alkaline nature.
By using soap the foaming agent tends to strip the skin of its natural oils, the results can vary from increased oiliness/dryness to a decrease in elasticity in the skin.  The acid mantle also takes a beating as the soap tends to be alkaline and this neutralises the acid mantle making the skin more susceptible to infection. 
When you use a cleanser appropriate to your skin type/concern you are not harming the acid mantle or the natural oils.  This may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but in my professional opinion, the best way your skin has a chance of looking its best is to start with the right cleanser.
My advice
Go to your nearest skincare counter or therapist, preferably a referral, and ask for them to assess your skin type/concerns, if they know their stuff they should provide you with the best cleanser for your skin. 
Here are some of my favourite cleansers:
Bobbi Brown Hydrating Cream Cleanser – generally good for dry, flaky skin or if your skin goes dry in the winter
Olay regenerist cleanser – with exfoliating ingredients for a smoother finish
Elemis, Time for men cleanser – great for the men, has ingredients that can also help calm irritation caused by shaving
Elemis Tri enzyme cleanser – if you are looking to do a brightening range for a fresh skin, this is a great cleanser to consider
Remember you do not have to stick to one cleanser, you can alternate depending on how your skin is feeling.  Like I like to use a rich cleanser for night and a gel cleanser for day, in winter I tend to go for a milky cleanser for day time as my skin is very tight and dry and needs all the moisture it can get.
Are there any skincare, makeup or fragrance questions you would like me to blog about?  Then leave a comment and I'll get to it in my next blog.

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