Your cleanser sets the tone for your entire skincare routine. It should be the foundation upon which an effective regime is built, and getting it right (or wrong!) can make a world of difference. This is particularly true for more delicate skin.
If you would describe your skin as sensitive, or you suffer from inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, or rosacea, one of the keys to reducing or managing your symptoms is selecting an appropriate cleanser. These types of skin conditions, whether they have existed from a young age or have been brought on later in life by extrinsic factors, should be approached with the utmost caution. If your skin is showing signs of sensitivity like redness, stinging, itching, burning, heat, or unusual flaking, this demonstrates that the tissue is in the midst of an inflammatory cascade. Potentially not only bringing physical discomfort, but accelerated ageing as well.
When the skin goes through an inflammatory cycle, it experiences a flux of reactive oxygen species (ROS) otherwise known as free radicals.
While the inflammatory cascade is essential during the healing phase and can trigger positive elements such as collagen and growth factors, when experienced over a longer period of time this excess of free radicals causes significant damage. It is known as oxidative stress when the number of free radicals outweighs the number of antioxidants in the body – as antioxidants are the only things that can neutralise these free radicals, their numbers should equal or surpass our number of ROS. Free radicals damage our skin’s collagen and elastin fibres, leading to lines and wrinkles, as well as attacking our natural lipids. They can also destabilise our barrier function, causing these signs of sensitivity and making the skin more susceptible to infection from bacteria – leading to breakouts and slowing the natural wound-healing process.
If you have sensitive or sensitised skin, and are using a cleanser that strips, dries, or over-cleans the skin harshly in any way, you may be perpetuating this inflammatory cycle – irrespective of how many wonderful serums you might be using afterward. An important criteria that should be met by all sensitive skin products is that they are fragrance-free, as artificial fragrances commonly aggravate sensitive skin further. Another is that they are free of foaming agents and detergents, as these also tend to worsen sensitivity and exacerbate dryness. Our best recommendation for those with any signs of sensitivity is a gentle, nourishing, non-foaming, and fragrance-free cleansing balm, which guarantees to clean the skin without further triggering inflammation.
Cleansing balms are a rich and luxurious way to clean the skin daily, made with ingredients designed to calm inflammation and replenish oil levels that may have been damaged by oxidative stress. They utilise soothing, hydrating oils which cling to makeup, bacteria and skin secretions, gently sliding these away to reveal fresh skin that is soft and fresh. Many are created using botanicals that are high in antioxidants, reduce the heat and discomfort, and reinforce barrier function all at the same time. Our Gentle Melt Cleansing Balm does just that, with Baobab, Argan, Chia Seed and Carrot Seed oils, also known to boost skin elasticity! Our favourite part: once water is added, the balm transforms into a milky emulsion for easy and complete removal. Use with a warm face cloth or mitt for an indulgent experience, leaving you with a soft, hydrated and dewy complexion.