We’ve all been told to wash our face every morning and night with a cleanser, but have you ever taken a step back and asked, “How does a cleanser work?” Stay tuned!
The purpose of a facial cleanser is to clean the skin by removing foreign materials… that I’ll call debris… that layer on or actually coat your skin by becoming trapped or dissolved in the naturals oils on your skin. Those materials include sweat, dirt, bacteria, and even previously applied skincare products like moisturizers, sunscreens, and makeup.
In addition, cleansers also help to remove the excess dead cells that also get caught in your skin oils… and… even remove excess oils that are naturally produced by your skin.
Cleaning the skin is not just a necessary matter of hygiene, but is also so important because it also helps to prepare your skin so your other facial skincare products apply properly and work their best.
We all wash with water, but the materials we’re trying to remove either are dissolved in or embedded in oils… or actually are oils… and we all know that water and oil don’t mix. So we need something to allow the water we wash with to combine with the oils to remove them. That’s what a cleanser is for.
All cleansers contain chemicals called surfactants, which act as emulsifiers. Surfactants usually contain organic compounds that are amphiphilic… which means they have two different parts: first, a water soluble part that dissolves in water, but not oil… and second, an oil soluble part that dissolved in oil, but not water.
So the emulsifier has two chemically different parts to it. One that grabs water and the other that grabs the oil that has all the debris we’re trying to get rid of.
So the cleanser helps water and your oils mix together, so water can actually wash away all the surface oils coating your skin that contain the unwanted debris. I think that’s pretty neat… and clean!