The Best Kept Secret for Beautiful Skin

woman washing face

My secret skin care weapon :
No it’s not sunscreen, that’s not a secret and hopefully everyone is protecting their skin from the sun every day, year round.
And no, it’s not quit smoking and drinking.  Again I think everyone knows the damage alcohol and tobacco can do to the skin.
My #1 best tip and the one thing I hope all my clients take away from a facial with me, is to use the right facial cleanser. That’s it! Simple, right?  Well, maybe not because unfortunately, the cosmetic industry has convinced us that our skin is sooo dirty that we have to use deep cleansing, oil reducing, scrubbly, bubbly facial cleansers to strip every last bit of dirt and grime off our face.  And they couldn’t be more wrong.  Many of these cleansers are so harsh, they strip the skin of every last bit of life, leaving it dull, dry and irritated.

Facial cleansers often contain harsh synthetic cleansing ingredients that can irritate the skin and strip away it’s natural protective coating. The culprit is mainly Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), a cleansing agent found not only in facial cleansers, but in shampoo, toothpaste, dish soap and the soap used at the car wash.  Not something I want on my face.   It works, but in my opinion it works too well, removing the skin’s natural protective coating and setting the skin up for a multitude of problems. Your skin is not the kitchen floor with ground in dirt and grime, and we only need to cleanse away the daily dirt and makeup that accumulates on top of its protective coating. The oil our skin produces is not dirty, it’s there for a reason.

Here’s what can happen when you over cleanse the skin:

  • Dry skin becomes even drier: Healthy, youthful looking skin is moist and glowing.  Using  harsh, oil stripping cleansers, causes the skin to become so dry it can begin to appear dull and lifeless. Fine lines and wrinkles become more noticeable, and the skin begins to look older. Think of the difference between a raisin and a grape.  To appear more youthful, the skin needs to be plump and moist. This is particularly crucial as we age because over time our skin loses it’s ability to retain moisture, and our natural oil production slows.
  •  Oily skin can become oilier: If you have oil rich skin you probably have larger pores that continually deposit lots of oil onto your face. You might think removing that oil will help, but by stripping away too much oil, we trigger our oil glands to increase production to replace what  your cleanser removed.  Anyone with oil rich skin will tell you the last thing they want is overactive oil glands. If you find that your face becomes shinier throughout the day, it could be your oil glands have finally caught up.  Using a more moisturizing cleanser may help normalize your oil production .  And you should know, oil rich skin ages more slowly than dry skin, so don’t fight it!
  • Increased breakouts for oily and dry skin: We all know that one of the main components of a blemish is bacteria, which can contribute to breakouts for anyone with acne prone skin.  And we know that the acne bacteria flourish in an oily environment, so by stimulating the oil glands we  create a bacteria friendly environment, increasing the likelihood of even more blemishes.  But, lack of moisture can also contribute to blemishes, because the natural oils in our skin, in the right amount, actually act as a barrier to protect the skin from bacteria. If you have dry skin, but still get breakouts, dryness could be the reason.  It’s all about achieving the right balance.
  •  Irritation:  Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a known irritant, and works so quickly that in laboratory testing, when chemists need a fast acting irritant they use SLS.  There are several reasons to avoid using irritating products on the skin.  For anyone with rosacea, harsh chemicals can further inflame the skin resulting in stinging, blotchiness , and even acne like pustules.  As we age, our capillaries become fragile,  and when overstimulated they can break, leaving spider web marks on the face.  We would all like to have skin with a rosy glow, but when it occurs as a reaction to chemicals, the result can be problematic and not attractive.

What can you do?
My best recommendation is to use products that are plant-based, preferably organic, because organic products should not contain any synthetic ingredients.  And be careful, the term “contains organic ingredients” could mean the product has as few as one or two organic ingredients with the rest being synthetic. I highly recommend Aveda, the plant based line of products, I use for all my facial services. They make a number of excellent facial cleansers for all skin types, and any of them would work well. My favorite for most of my clients (and myself) is the Aveda “All-Sensitive Cleanser”.  This gentle, creamy cleanser will work to dissolve make-up, and impurities, leaving the skin soft and smooth.

So, whether your issue is dryness, oiliness, breakouts or sensitivity, try changing your cleanser. You might be surprised at how good your skin looks and feels.

If you would like further information about Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, follow this link:


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jessica
    Sep 26, 2013 @ 15:25:06

    I’m so glad we met and I you shared your blog with me! I will definitely be following along taking in any advice you’ve got to offer 🙂


    • facetimewithjudy
      Sep 26, 2013 @ 16:14:18

      Thank you Jessica, I too was so glad to meet you and I thank you for the advice. I am now following your blog as well, and have read a few of your posts. You are such a good writer! The one about the skunks really had me it stitches. My beloved Lola (a boxer) passed away in the spring, but we had skunks in the neighborhood and the thought of her getting “skunked” was my worst nightmare, so I totally relate! Hope you continue to enjoy my blog.


  2. Trackback: Why are Dermatologists still recommending Cetaphil? | Face Time...with Judy

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