Just like flossing, washing your face before bed is a must, as we all know. After a day’s worth of environmental assaults (think freezing temps and free radicals from pollution and UV rays), it’s essential to clean your skin so it can repair itself overnight.
But what if your cleanser is doing more harm than good? That’s exactly what might be happening if you’re using something that strips your skin of its natural oils. Ingredients like surfactants —responsible for the lather produced when you’re cleansing your face—and alcohol are drying and can contribute to redness, flakiness and irritation. “They can also mess with your skin’s pH balance,” says Patricia Clare, NeoStrata national training manager.
Measured on a scale of zero to 14, pH refers to acidity or alkaline level. The skin’s normal pH is approximately 5.5, and when it fluctuates, your complexion can pay the price. That’s why choosing a gentler cleanser is key, says Toronto-based dermatologist Paul Cohen. “Milky formulas are less disruptive to the natural pH level of the skin and contain moisturizers that are very helpful in the winter,” he explains.
3 easy ways to keep your skin glowing all winter long:
1. Always use lukewarm water to wash your face; steer clear of both hot water and soap.
2. Lightly exfoliate skin using a washcloth, instead of abrasive exfoliants that can be too harsh.
3. Cleanse your face only once a day, preferably at night. In the morning, simply rinse with water.
From right to left: NeoStrata oil free gel cleanser, $26. Weleda gentle cleansing milk, $24. Alyria hydrating milk cleanser, $22. Fruits & Passion Radiance gentle make-up remover cleansing milk, $22. Cliniderm gentle cleanser, $16.