Imagine taking up your kitchen cleanser, and commencing to give your face a good scrubbing! It would be insane of course, but strangely, and without knowing, many women use cleansing and toning products that can damage skin. Why? I believe there are two reasons. First, we tend to think of creams and serums as the products we should invest in – after all, we know they have the special ingredients that will moisturize, hydrate, boost collagen and help to counter free radical activity. Having invested sometimes a considerable amount in those creams and serums, it seems we shouldn’t have to spend so much merely to get our skin clean before applying the really effective skin care products. Second, we are devoted to cleansers – for the kitchen, the bathroom and the laundry. Every day we rely on countless products designed to remove the toughest dirt and grime in hard–to–clean places. We are grateful to see shining surfaces appear at the magical wipe of a cloth impregnated with sweet smelling foaming agents. How easy it is to imagine the same result on our skin!
Sadly, and in my mind most terribly, there are many cheap facial cleansers and toners that use ingredients that are not only too harsh for skin, but in some cases are the same as those used for household cleaning! True!
Imagine looking through a microscope at the surface of your skin. What you would see would look a little like cobblestones with small spaces in–between for pores and for what is effectively a lipid (natural oil) barrier. The cobblestones are your skin cells called keratinocytes. The cells on the skin’s surface are already dead and are tough and very able to protect you from the environment and undesirable micro–organisms. Note that I emphasize ‘undesirable.’ Across the skin is a thin film created by sebum and sweat called the acid mantle that is a benign environment for beneficial micro–organisms that help to repel the pathogens that might cause harm – if they could invade the skin. They are held out by the ‘good’ micro–organisms, the acid mantle, the tough keratinocytes and the lipid barrier. Imagine now that you take a cleanser or a toner that uses anionic foaming agents or volatile alcohols and proceed to rub your skin. Just like on your kitchen bench, most of the micro–organisms are destroyed, the acid mantle is swept away and the lipid barrier is in part, dissolved. But your skin is not stainless steel or porcelain. It is a complex, living organ that has evolved to protect and to do so it needs all these things working in combination.
Cheap cleansers and toners use cheap, harsh chemicals. Good cleansers and toners use only natural herbal ingredients that will not alter the skin’s natural pH (and so will not damage the acid mantle or the good micro–organisms), and will not dissolve the lipid barrier. The skin retains all of its natural defenses while dirt and grime is lifted away.
Instead of petrochemicals, Snowberry Instant Deep Cleanser and Snowberry Gentle Remineralising Toner use ingredients for example, like Indian Neem and Macadamia oil, and an extract of the garden pea to provide safe, gentle, natural cleansing and toning.
I believe that many women need to change their mindset about cleansing and toning. It is the essential first step in the daily beauty regime towards healthy and radiant skin. It should not be underestimated and it should not be short–changed. It is one way to avoid the chronic low–level inflammation that many middle–aged women observe in their skin – who not coincidentally, have been applying cheap and aggressive cleansers and toners, day after day for many years.
Make a new investment in your cleansing and toning products. Your skin will love you for it.
Soraya Hendesi, Founder Snowberry