Could Over Cleansing be the cause of your Acne?

Could you be over cleansing your face? Image supplied.

When I was a teen I was always very lucky to have lovely, clear skin, aside from the odd pimple here and there, acne was never an issue for me—that was until I had my son, then everything changed. It is a fairly normal thing for a woman to start experiencing acne after having a child, due to hormonal changes in their bodies, I am now almost 30 and my bumpy face is a daily reminder that my skin just isn’t what it used to be. A good skincare routine is very important to me and thankfully, my job allows me to try out many different products and skin care lines, that are designed for people like me who suffer from adult acne.

So, armed with some of the best skincare products on the market, you can just imagine my frustration when after religiously double cleansing every morning and every night my skin became worse! I couldn’t understand where I was going wrong, that was until I took to Dr. Google to see if any other people had this issue and that’s when I discovered that I was over cleansing my skin, thus stripping back all of the natural oils and sebum and essentially making my skin break out even worse than before.

Cleansing your face is an important aspect of a good skin care routine but there is such thing as too much of a good thing when it comes to cleansing and many people are not cleansing the correct way, by over cleansing, not cleansing enough or using harmful products. I was interested to know a little more about this topic so I got in touch with our friend and skincare specialist, Bridget Crone from Mood Skin Clinic to have a chat about what over cleansing does to your skin. She gave me some simple tips and tricks to make sure that you aren’t causing any unnecessary damage to your skin and what ingredients to stay away from when choosing your cleansing products, here’s what she had to say:

In terms of over cleansing it really comes down to what you’re using to cleanse, what ingredients the product contains and if the product has exfoliating properties or contains exfoliating beads. With products that contain exfoliating beads, you really need to tread carefully— some products contain beads that are not spherical in shape, they can scratch the skins surface and cause micro tears, which then cause more inflammation. They also over strip the skin of its natural oils and mess with the speed of skin cell turnover and healing. Make sure you are only exfoliating once a week, to avoid any more damage to your skin.

Another thing to watch out for is if your cleansing products contain alcohol in them or are soap based cleansers, that’s why checking the ingredients of your products is vital because even if they say they are alcohol-free, some products contain sneaky ingredients that will harm your skin. By using these products, you are stripping all of the important oils out of your skin and disrupting the acid mantle—which is the natural protection barrier of your skin made up of oil and water. One way to know if you are stripping away these important oils from your skin is if your face gets that tight, squeaky clean feeling after cleansing. People with oily skin, generally like this feeling because it makes them feel as if they’ve had a good clean but what is actually occurring is more oil being produced because you have stripped all of that barrier away, your skin will then send messages to your Sebaceous glands to make more oil to moisturise your skin, you then become oilier leaving you wanting to cleanse even more to get rid of the oily shine, It’s a vicious cycle really!

And here is something many people don’t know, most of the skincare products you can buy at your local supermarket or pharmacy may not actually classed as skincare products, they actually fall under the cosmetic category because they may only contain around 10 percent of active ingredients in them, the rest can be made up of harmful fillers. Obviously, not everyone is in a position to be able to buy top of the range skincare products from a skincare clinic or dermatologist so when buying your products avoid ingredients such as, synthetic fragrances, artificial colours, petrochemicals, exfoliating beads and alcohol and keep these things in mind when cleansing your skin—choose an alcohol-free and soap-free cleanser, cut your daily cleansing down to once or twice a day and if you need to cleanse twice, do a lighter cleanse in the morning and a deeper cleanse at night to wash the days grime away, remove your make-up before cleansing to ensure a better clean and only exfoliate once a week with a gentle, bead-free exfoliator.