Facial Cleanser Tips – Does Your Facial Cleanser Suit You?

Many of us tend to choose a facial cleanser which has been labelled “natural” or “organic”. However, many a time, our skin still feels dehydrated and tight after using such products. So what have we missed when shopping for our facial cleansers?

The skin’s natural pH level stands at 4.5 to 5.5 on the pH scale, which ranges from 0 to 14. A pH level of 7 is neutral. Acidic substances measure below pH7, while alkaline substances measure above pH7.

There are facial cleansers which leave the skin with a residual alkalinity of 10. This is because these facial cleansers contain soap, making your skin feel clean but it becomes tight and dry afterwards because your natural lipids are stripped from your skin.

Therefore, choose a cleanser which not only suits your skin type (oily, dry or combination), choose one which removes the grime and sweat but keeps the integrity of your skin. Most facial cleansers do not state the pH range of the products, so you will need to rely on keywords to pick the right product. This is especially important when you look for facial cleansers for rosacea, or facial cleansers for dry skin.

Look out for words such as “soap-free” and “within the acid-balance range” or “respecting the skin’s pH balance”. Ingredients you do not want in your cleanser include fragance and colourants, which can cause skin reactions – mineral oil, a cheap solvent that can clog pores, and lanolin, a wax that many are allergic to. Pick products that are free of such components.

Also, do not be fooled by labels such as “organic” and “natural”. This is mostly marketing hype. Even if a formula contains some organic ingredients, the other ingredients might not be organic. Also, different countries have different guidelines for organic certification.

Therefore, do not buy a facial cleanser just because it has a label that states it contains a high percentage of organic or natural ingredents. The cleanser may not necessarily be gentle on your skin. Besides, not all synthetic ingredients are bad. Anti-ageing ingredients such as peptides and hyaluronic acid, are synthetic.

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The Best Facial Cleansers And Cleansing System For Face

The best facial cleanser should be mild and not strip your face of its natural oils. Neutrogena Extra Gentle Clean is suited for dry, sensitive or normal skin. It is fragrance-free, non-drying and noncomedogenic. It does not clog pores.  CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is another gentle cleanser for normal or dry skin as it contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid. Cleansing bars such as the Basis Sensitive Skin Bar or Cetaphil are suitable for dry or normal skin.

A good facial cleanser for oily skin would be RoC Multi Correxion Exfoliating Cleanser or L’Oréal Paris Go 360 Clean Anti Breakout Facial Cleanser. These are exfoliating cleansers with salicylic acid which help to remove dead skin cells, excess oil and bacteria from the skin surface.  Another excellent facial cleanser for oily face is the Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser.



If you truly want to cleanse your skin well, you may want to invest in a cleansing system. A popular choice is the Clarisonic Sonic Skin Cleansing System. It removes more makeup, dirt and oil than manual cleansing alone. When your skin is cleaner and more exfoliated, serums and treatment products penetrate and nourish your skin better.

Be sure to change the brush head every two to three months, and use the brush for delicate skin if you are unsure which brush to use.

If budget is a concern, try Olay’s Professional Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System which is found in many drugstores.

When using cleansing systems, be sure to use a mild cleanser. When using a cleansing system, be sure to read instructions to ensure you understand the correct method of use.

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Sunscreen Pills From Plant And Coral

Sunscreen In Pill FormHeliocare, an over-the-counter sunscreen pill, is now available. Approved by the FDA for added sun protection, it contains the Polypodium Leucotomos (calaguala) leaf extract as the active ingredient.  The pill is taken once a day to build the body’s natural defence against harmful UV rays and subsequent photoaging.

Although Heliocare is an ingestible sunscreen, it in no way replaces sunscreen or protective clothing. Neither does it reverse sun damage.

These sunscreen tablets starts to work about half an hour after taking the dose. This sunscreen in pill form is ideal for situations when you are on medication that makes you sensitive to the sun or if you are traveling to a sunny place.

Another type of sunscreen pill made from coral could be available soon. Researchers are currently studying the Acropora coral at the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia. They hope to figure out what chemical compounds help coral ward off the sun, then replicating synthetically for use in a sunscreen pill. However, scientists do not expect such a sunscreen pill to be available off-the-shelf till another five years down the road.

Researchers are also working on a melanin-increasing implant called Scenesse, which is in trial and would help people block UV rays as well. It is hoped that the melanin-increasing implant would increase the melanin in our skin.

Researchers hope that the sunscreen pill and melanin-increasing implants would serve as alternatives to external sunscreens, and enable the human body to block UV rays on its own.

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What Sunscreen Ingredients Are Right For You?

There are generally two types of sunscreens: chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreens are effective, but some people may be allergic to the main sunscreen ingredients.

If you opt for a chemical sunscreen, choose one which contains safe sunscreen ingredients such as avobenzone (Parsol 1789),Mexoryl or Tinosorb. A chemical sunscreen which contains safe and effective sunscreen ingredients is Anthelios SPF 30 Lotion by La Roche-Posay which contains the active ingredient Mexoryl SX.

Physical sunscreens containing zinc oxide and titanium oxide block more of the spectrum and have less potential to cause an allergic reaction. These sunscreens benefit people with rosacea, eczema or sensitive skin the most. Zinc oxide soothes irritation and reduces redness.

There are many excellent physical sunscreens on the market, and most moisturizers now offer fairly adequate sun protection. Vanicream Sensitive Skin SPF 30 is ideal for babies. Sunscreens suitable for acne-prone skin would be Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 and Neova Z-Silc SPF 30.

While there are excellent sunscreens on the market, minimizing your skin’s exposure to the sun is still key to slow down photoaging and reduce your risk of skin cancer. Cell toxicity studies by Dr. Yinfa Ma, Curators’ Teaching Professor of chemistry at Missouri S&T, and his graduate student Qingbo Yang, suggest that when exposed to sunlight, zinc oxide, a common ingredient in sunscreens, undergoes a chemical reaction that may release unstable molecules known as free radicals.

Free radicals bond with other molecules, but in the process, they can also damage cells or the DNA contained within those cells. This in turn could increase the risk of skin cancer.
Ma also found that the longer zinc oxide is exposed to sunlight, the greater the potential damage to human cells. This is because the zinc oxide may generate free radicals when exposed to UV rays, and these free radicals can kill cells. Ma also found that light and zinc oxide-exposed cells deteriorated more rapidly than light-exposed cells not immersed in zinc oxide.

Although more comprehensive studies are needed, wearing sunscreen and limiting the exposure of your skin to the sun is the best preventive measure. Another way of reducing the potential side effects of zinc is to use physical sunscreens which are white, not clear.

White physical sunscreens appear that way because the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide particles are too big to be absorbed into the skin. These particles offer sun protection for your skin by physically blocking the sun’s rays.

Sunscreen Ingredients To Avoid

1) Zinc Nanoparticles

Clear sunscreens which contain zinc or titanium have these ingredients in the form of nanoparticles. Recent studies have shown that zinc nanoparticles have increased levels of zinc in their blood.

2) Retinyl Palmitate

Retinyl Palmitate is a Vitamin A derivative that is closely linked to retinol. Like retinol, retinyl palmitate is safe and effective in night creams as it is converted to retinol on your skin. Retinol in turn increases cell turnover.

However, during the day, the sun’s rays will damage the new skin cells. In addition, retinyl palmitate in sunscreens breaks down in sunlight to form free radicals that can harm cells and cause cancer. Therefore avoid sunscreens which list retinyl palmitate as an active ingredient.

Recommended Resource:
Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist

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The Best Sunscreens For Different Needs And Skin Types

Some of the best rated sunscreens available at the moment would be full-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreens which contain Helioplex. Neutrogena and La Roche-Posay make great products with this complex formulation. La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios SX, Olay Complete SPF 30 Defense, and Clinique Sun are some of the best face sunscreens.

Sunblocks with zinc or titanium work by preventing UV light to penetrate. Some people do not like using sunblock as they can be pasty and they are often opaque. However SkinCeuticals has released Physical UV Defense SPF 30. This product contains ingredients which are microscopically and leaves only a trace of white on the skin, which can be easily concealed with makeup. Sunscreen reviews have shown that it is currently one of the best sunscreens for sensitive skin as well.

SkinCeuticals Physical UV Defense SPF 50 is the best waterproof sunscreen. It is also one of the best sunscreens for sensitive skin as it is paraben-free and non-comedogenic.

If your skin is oily or acne prone, you may choose not to wear a moisturizer in warm weather. You can use instead a lightweight sunscreen lotion or powder. Clarins UV-Plus Protection day Screen SPF 40 and Journée Biorestorative Day Cream with PSP SPF 30 are two of the best sunscreens for oily or combination skin, and they provide a matte finish.

Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Powder Brush SPF 30 or SPF 50 comes in a self-dispensing brush. It is so handy that you can take it everywhere with you and reapply it whenever you need sun protection or a touch up for a matte finish.

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