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The skincare world can often feel like a super confusing place, but, I can promise you, it doesn’t have to be. While there are so many different products, one thing you want to get right is your cleanser. It’s the first thing you’re using on your skin, after all! So should you be using a standard cleanser or a gentle cleanser?

Well, if you’re looking for that really ‘clean’ feeling after using your cleanser – you know, that tight and squeaky clean feeling – you’re probably doing it wrong.

skincare gentle cleanser

Using a cleanser that’s too harsh, like soap, will strip the natural oils from your skin, giving you that tight feeling. What you want your cleanser to do is remove excess oils and impurities without stripping or over-drying your skin.

So, what should you be using? Allow us to help.

Gentle Cleansers

A gentle cleanser is perfect for anyone, especially those who have dry or sensitive skin. Look for one that will hydrate and soothe the skin as it cleanses. If you’ve got really sensitive skin, you might want one that’s fragrance-free so it won’t cause any irritation. Also, keep your eyes peeled for one that’s non-comedogenic so it won’t clog your pores.

When you’re looking for a gentle cleanser, you want to make sure you’re looking for the one that’s dermatologically tested.

Cetaphil’s Gentle Cleanser is one of, if not the most well-known gentle cleansers. This cleanser will actually hydrate and soothe the skin as it cleans. It can also be used on your body and with or without water, making it perfect for travel or overnight stays.

cetaphil gentle cleanser

If you do have dry or sensitive skin, you might also be able to get away with cleansing your face just once per day in the evening. If you’re exercising, though, you should be cleansing to avoid any sweat binding to dirt and clogging your pores. It’s a good idea to remove your make-up before sport too as that can lead to problems.

This Cetaphil cleanser is also recommended by dermatologists* – a useful reminder that you don’t need to spend hundreds on a cleanser that works.

If you have oily or combination skin and you’re looking for something with a little more oomph while still being gentle on your skin, Cetaphil’s Oily Skin Cleanser is another excellent option. It is still very gentle but effective and can be used every day without irritating the skin.

cetaphil gentle oily cleanser

This cleanser won’t block your pores and removes excess oil without over-drying your skin.

If you have sensitive skin on your face then it’s a good idea to use Cetaphil Face Gentle Foaming Cleanser because it’s self-foaming, avoiding the need for you to aggressively lather the cleanser on your skin which could cause further irritation.

Standard Cleansers

Maybe you think a gentle cleanser is a little too gentle for you and want something a little more active. Perhaps you’re chasing that squeaky clean feeling?

If you are opting for a standard cleanser, ensure you’re reading the back of the bottle as many standard cleansers will include ingredients that are more likely to strip the skin of good oils.

There are often preservatives in skincare that you will also want to avoid. Formaldehyde (yes, the stuff that’s used to preserve cadavers), for example, is used in small amounts in many everyday skincare products.

That’s not all you should watch out for: alcohols such as ethanol, isopropanol, and propanol can often be found in cleansers, too. These kinds of alcohol are very harsh and could potentially dry out your skin. However, fatty alcohols such as stearyl, cetearyl and cetyl are safe for the skin – these types will keep liquid and oil together in products and are also used in moisturisers and sunscreens.

Which One Should You Use?

Gentle cleansers are by far the best option for you, no matter your type of skin. Just because a product is gentle doesn’t mean it isn’t active and working to balance your skin.

One of the best things you can do is check your skincare labels and choose products that are simple and don’t contain too many ingredients. And remember, when it comes to added fragrance, less or none is best!

* Dermatologist recommended brand based on:  Cedegim. DermReach Omnibus Research Report, 2010.