Is Your Facial Cleanser Causing Damage To Your Skin?

Is Your Facial Cleanser Causing Damage To Your Skin?
Authored By Clarence Yeo 0 Comment(s)

We can't stress this enough, but the most important step in any skincare routine is cleansing aka washing your face. But frankly, many of us are misled by the many myths about cleansing. So today, if you currently believe any of the 4 cleansing myths listed here, we kindly ask that you change your mind, and your washing habits!


MISTAKE 1 : The More You Wash, the Better?

The biggest benefit of cleansing your face daily is that it removes sebum, dirt, makeup and sunscreen on your skin. It is necessary to get rid of all these unwanted harmful chemicals and particles that has accumulated on your skin throughout the day as they will tend to clog your pores, cause outbreaks and even make your skin look dull and lacklustre.

However, more does not necessarily mean better! If you are cleansing the wrong way, you might actually be removing very important lipids which helps prevents moisture loss on your skin. This going to cause you irritation and tightness in your skin after washing.  


How does cleansing your skin work?

Cleansing is mainly done by using surfactants! What are they? They are ingredients that helps to remove all the grime and strips the surface of your skin clean of all these unwanted stuff. These ingredients are very common in your everyday items such as body wash, facial cleansers, shampoos and even detergents!

When surfactants are added to water, they come together to form - micelles. Does this sounds familiar to you? Now you know why brands call their cleansing water as Micellar Water (pronounced “MY-sell-er”)!

When harsh or strong surfactants are used to cleanse your skin, both the good oils and unwanted particles are removed. This causes your skin structure to be disturbed and hence explains why you get dry, itchy or even irritated skin! Have you experienced this before? 


Stratum Corneum Skin Cells

Why does my skin feel tight after cleansing?

It is tempting and feels good to use harsh or stronger cleansers so that our skin has the squeaky clean feel. But if your skin feels tight after washing your face, this means you have stripped too much oil out of your skin. 

That unpleasant dry, tight feeling that you feel after cleansing with harsh cleansers happens because those lipids and healthy oil are stripped away while trying to remove the oil based impurities. The tightness in your skin is also a common effect of some harsh surfactants as they ‘stick’ to proteins in your skin causing them to swell causing that tight feeling after cleansing!


MISTAKE 2 : Double Cleansing Bad For My Skin?

What is double cleansing? 

The most trending and popular Korean double cleansing method involves washing your face in two steps:

1) First using an oil-based cleanser to remove oil based impurities like sebum and makeup

2) Followed by a water-based cleanser to remove water based impurities like sweat and dirt

Now, you might be thinking that double cleansing is going to remove all the good oils and make my skin too dry? In actual fact, that is a myth! 


How to use cleansing oil and why?

Oil-based cleanser work differently from the surfactants found in regular facial cleansers. When used properly, an oil cleanser is better at dissolving oil based impurities and removing the excess oil on your face, which otherwise cannot be done with water based cleansers. 

Don't believe, you can pick out an oil cleanser that is especially gentle on your skin, like the Huangjisoo Pure Perfect Cleansing Oil. At the end of the day, this helps keep your skin clean and balance your skin's moisture level, which means less breakouts!


Oil cleansing is not suitable for oily skin?

Is double cleansing suitable for oily skin? The idea that cleansing with oil method will make oily skin even more oily is a big myth too. The truth, if you are oily skin type, using an oil cleanser is all the more important. Oily skin produces more sebum and oil based impurities clogged in our pores, and hence the most effective way is to use oil cleansers to dissolve and remove them.

Even if you have dry skin, it is also advisable to use oil cleansers to remove oil based impurities instead of water based cleansers that uses harsh ingredients, as those will strip your natural skin oil barrier. This will only cause your skin to lose its moisture in the skin, and make it even more dry.


How about double cleansing with micellar water?

Yes, you can definitely use micellar water for double cleansing. Micellar water is a cleanser that uses micelles, which act like a magnet to gently lift dirt and makeup off skin. You can use it as part of your double cleanse method, as the first cleanse before following it with a foam cleanser.


Micellar water vs cleansing oil?

Though it’s a water-based cleanser, micellar water acts kind of like an oil cleanser like an in-between. Micelles are attracted to dirt and oil, so they are able to thoroughly cleanse the skin and draw out impurities.

Which to use very much depends on your lifestyle. If you tend to apply more makeup during the day, then a cleansing oil works better. If you go for lighter makeup, then micellar water might do the job. That said, micellar water together with the use of cotton pads can be slightly more drying on the skin compared to cleansing oils.


MISTAKE 3 : Can I Use Soap To Wash My Face?

The answer is NO! That tight, squeaky clean feeling you might experience after washing your face is the best sign of a high pH level cleanser. Soap, which are typically alkaline in nature, tend to strip away our skin natural oils. As a result, this causes redness, dryness and your skin to breakout.

Our natural skin pH level is around 5.5 - which is mildly acidic. This is important as our skin functions within a small bandwidth pH of 4.5 - 6.5. This preserves the ‘acid mantle’ - protective barrier on surface of skin composed of sweat, skin oils, and dead skin cells. It protects our skin from bacteria, fungi, viruses, environmental pollutants, makes skin soft and supple — it does everything!

A high skin pH level, on the other hand encourages bacterial growth. If you are suffering from acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and dermatitis, a high pH will leave your skin more susceptible to bacteria growth.

And yes, the pH of cleansers does affect pH of skin. Hence having a cleanser that is slightly acidic helps to maintain its integrity and allows the skin to function normally such us recovery and cell reproduction.

How to restore skin pH balance naturally? We recommend using cleansers which are always slightly acidic. You can check out our Huangjisoo Cleanser for sensitive skin (~pH 6).


MISTAKE 4 : All Cleansers Are The Same?

For many of us that are lazy or don't know how to look at ingredients, we might be thinking that all cleansers are made the same. The truth is, your cleanser should be tailored to your skin type and concerns. It's so important to use the right cleanser for your skin type, regardless if you are double cleansing or not.

The difference in cleansers lies in the ‘strength’ of their Surfactant. And by now, you should know stronger ingredients DOES NOT mean better!

That squeaky feeling that leaves your skin tight and uncomfortable? Yes it is the first sign that the cleanser may be too ‘strong’ and damaging for your skin. What harmful ingredients should you avoid in cleansers? Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is definitely one of the first ingredient you want to stop putting on your skin.

Surfactants Ingredients of Cleansers

If you are unsure if the ingredient is safe, you can always use free resource websites like EWG and search the ingredient you are investigating! Getting a 0-2 result is ideal.



We are not asking you to stop cleansing! We are asking you to choose your cleansers wisely. Many of you that have written in to us and you have heard us repeatedly emphasising, “Your cleansers are the most important step to your skincare regime! It determines how effective your after care products will be!”





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