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Back to Basics: The Crucial first step to healthy radiant skin

Whether you are a pro at taking care of your skin or a novice learning the ropes, the first step to great skin can be the most underappreciated and neglected. With the skin care industries focus on meeting the demands of aging skin concerns, skin cleansing can take a backseat.

Starting with a well cleansed skin is the essential first step. You wouldn’t wax and buff your car before you washed it. Your skin should be treated the same so all other treatments in your home care are not compromised.  

Here is The Summit Spa's guide to getting back to the basics. Learn or re-visit the how-to's, what -to-use and importance of proper skin cleansing.

Get the most radiant and healthy skin with the time, money and effort you invest. 

The Top 10 Basics  
1. Choose your cleanser wisely. To assist in choosing the right one for your skin type, use the guide below.  Need assistance in understanding your skin type and conditions – stop in for guidance or book a 45 minute Clinical Skin Care Consultation for even more help.
2. Do not wet your skin or hands before applying milky-style cleansers. This dilutes the emulsifiers in the product making it less effective. Instead massage a milky cleanser well over your face and neck for a minute before rinsing well with water. 
3. Cleanse twice – once to remove your makeup and the 2nd to really clean the skin. For many make-up wearers their first cleanse, if not done really well, will not remove all their makeup. If your makeup is still coming off on of towel, wash cloth or cotton pad then it needs a second cleanse.
4. Rinse the skin well including the eye area, hairline and under the jaw. These are areas often do not get rinsed well. Makeup, dirt and cleansing agents can be pushed to the edges of the face creating breakouts and/or irritation over time.
5. Washing with water alone does not remove oils and pollutants from the skin. Water and oil do not mix. Small particles of pollution land on your skin daily are now known to be as harmful for our skin cells as UV damage.
6. Soap is too alkaline for your skin’s natural acidic ph of 4.5-5.5.  Removing this natural “acid mantle” from this skin’s surface makes the skin more vulnerable to bacteria and irritation. Squeaky clean often means a tight, dehydrated, vulnerable skin.
7. Always cleanse your makeup off at night.

8. Wash your face again in the morning especially if you use any hair products that are not washed out the night before.

9. Skin care products and treatments applied to an unclean skin will not penetrate or work effectively. Get the most from these active ingredients by cleansing the skin well first.

10. Consider more than one cleanser. To have both a milk style cleanser and a deep cleansing solution to alternate as needed is a key to great skin care. Your skin’s needs change with environmental changes, your lifestyle, stress level and the makeup you wear. 

The Top 3 Myths on Skin Cleansing

  1. A toner is meant to finish removing makeup. FALSE. The purpose of a toner is not to clean the skin. Each toners purpose and ingredients are different as they are meant as a treating step to your skin care program. If you use a cotton pad to apply your toner and any oil, makeup or dirt comes up you have not cleansed your skin properly.
  2. Water is the most gentle skin cleanser Water and oil do not mix. Splashing your face with water and a wash cloth at the end of the day will not clean your skin. Even if you are not wearing makeup, the skins natural oil, dead skin cells, pollution and sunscreen need to be removed each day for the healthiest skin.
  3. Milk or Cream Cleansers need to be applied with a wet face or hands. False. To get the most effective cleansing with a milky or cream style cleanser, do not dilute their cleansing agents with water. Rinse with water only after you have massage the cleanser well all over the skin giving it time to lift and remove oil, makeup and dead skin and pollution.

The Cleansers

There are two basic styles of cleansers: milky/ cream cleansers and gel/foaming cleansers. Here are the basic differences in styles and how to use them:
Milk/Cream Cleansers

Milky cleansers will contain a small amount of oil, as well as emulsifiers, to effectively remove oil and makeup from the skin without disrupting the natural protective acid mantle. Often oily skin types are afraid of milky cleansers fearing they will increase oil and breakout outs. They remove makeup and oil more effectively then gel cleansers. A loonie size milk cleanser is applied to DRY skin to allow it to emulsify with oil, dirt and makeup before water is added and rinsing starts. Adding water to your cleanser before applying to the skin simply waters down the cleansing action of your milk cleanser. 
Gel Cleansers

Gel cleansers are great alternatives to soap for those that like a super clean instead of a soft feeling to the skin after cleansing. Your gel cleanser should not have an alkaline PH. This would make it the same as soap which is too drying for the skin. Gel cleansers will foam slightly when used. More foam does not mean better cleansing. When the product meets oil on the skin it will cause it to foam less. This is not a bad thing! Adding more to get more foam will only make it take much longer to rinse.  Leaving excess gel cleanser on the skin after cleansing can be irritating to the skin.  Always use a small amount of gel cleanser and add water to your hands or face before applying.

Cleansing Wipes

Cleansing Wipes are tricky. They are not all created equal. Many contain ingredients not suitable for all skin types. Although designed for those on the go they may be giving a false sense of clean. Look for a good natural cleansing wipe with good-for-you ingredients. Do not use as your only cleanser. They are an ideal cleanser for a quick morning cleanse; when you are not near a water source and before/after a workout.

 Micellar Water 

These are a great alternative for those that like to cleanse their skin with just water. This is a sneaky alternative because it looks and feels like plain old water. Micellar water cleansers are made up of gentle microscopic oil molecules called micelles suspended in soft water. They attach to dirt, oil, makeup, and pollutants on your skin. Instead of foaming and stripping your complexion like soap or not breaking down oil, makeup or pollutants like plain water, micelles dissolve the bad stuff, while keeping the good stuff on your skin intact. Plus they don't require water to work and you do not rinse. Simply use with a dry cotton round.

Eye Makeup Removers

This is a delicate area that produces very little oil and protection. It needs to be handled with care to avoid premature aging and skin irritation. Most milk/cream cleansers can be used around the eye area. Not all eye makeup removers are great for the skin around the eyes – some can be too strong in order to remove waterproof or heavy makeup.

The Top Cleansing Tools

There are some great tools available that really enhance and make skin cleansing more effective, gentle and fun.

Konjac Sponges – these all natural cleansing sponges are perfect tools instead of a wash cloth for cleansing even the most delicate skin. Konjac root is a very soft jelly- like fiber of a potato- like plant from Asia. Apply cleanser first, massage with your hands and then finish and rinse with your Konjac Sponge. They last for up to 3 months with proper care. They do not harbour bacteria like a regular sponge. Gentle enough for a baby and ideal for around the eye area.

Jane Iredale Magic Mitt – simple and inexpensive these gentle cleansing mitts are truly magic. Great for all skin types especially highly sensitive. They are made from a new generation of specially knitted micro-fibers that are many times thinner than a human hair and able to penetrate oil films. They work by breaking the surface tension of the oils that bond makeup to the skin while the fibers gently exfoliate. They quickly and completely remove makeup using water only – no cleanser needed! The combination of warm water and micro-fibers turn the makeup into an emulsion that is easily swept away by the mitt. It will even remove mascara! Simply wash your Magic Mitt in warm water with hand-soap until all makeup residue is gone. Rinse thoroughly and hang it up to dry. Magic Mitts unique micro-fibers slough off all organic residue and dry completely, therefore they ensure that nothing is left on the Mitt to harbour bacteria or fungi.

Jane Iredales perfect answer to a makeup wipe – long-wearing, re-useable, chemical-free, economical, environmentally friendly, gentle and highly effective!

Top Picks 

*click individual products to purchase*

Milk/Cream Cleansers -  Yonka Cleansing Milk,  Skinceuticals Gentle Cleanser, GM Collin Hydramucine Cleansing Milk, Glymed Plus Vitamin C Cleanser. 

Gel CleansersGM Collin Mild Cleansing Gel, Glymed Plus Gentle Facial Wash, Skinceuticals Simply Clean, Skinceuticals Soothing Cleansing Foam

Cleansing Wipes – Kaia Naturals Juicy Bamboo Cleansing Cloths, Jane Iredale Magic Mitt

Micellar WaterYonka Eau Micellaire