Despite the many violent, near-battlefield depictions of the border, we tend to see skin care related – acne! Pore ​​Erased! anti-wrinkle! – most experts will tell you that when it comes to cleaning, gentleness is what really matters.

As it turns out, supportive, gentle cleansers that don’t strip skin or irritate (and certainly aren’t sticky) are the basis for any smart and effective skin care routine. To understand the importance of finding a gentle cleanser, you need to understand the skin barrier and how it works.

Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, said: “The health of the skin barrier is important because it helps keep our skin hydrated and protects them. protect us from infection, irritation, and other environmental hazards.” “Strong cleansers can damage the skin barrier by stripping the skin of its natural oils, causing it to dry out, affecting its pH, or affecting its microbiome.”

Joshua Zeichner, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, delves a little deeper into the science of skin: The skin barrier itself has a slightly acidic pH, which makes it named “acid mantle”. “This [slightly acidic] pH is necessary for the skin to function optimally,” he says. When the pH is disrupted, the skin is unable to adequately maintain the proper moisture and protection from the outside world. “Traditional soaps have an alkaline pH, which harms the outer layer of skin. This is why the latest generation of liquid and bar cleansers use synthetic detergent ingredients that are more balanced with needs. They are not really soaps their true definition, but rather soap-free cleansers to remove dirt from the skin.”

And then there’s the skin microbiome, which I like to think of as the happy little Richard Scarry world of the people who help the skin live and thrive on our skin. (It’s great, isn’t it?)

“The microbiome is the collection of microorganisms that live on the surface of the skin. You might think your skin is perfectly clean, but the truth is it’s crawling with organisms like bacteria that are essential to function. of the skin barrier,” says Dr. Zeichner. “Using strong soaps can disrupt the barrier and change the microbiome. This leads to dryness, redness, peeling, itching and dermatitis.”

When looking for gentle face-washing formulas that don’t irritate the skin (or its microbial coating function, pH, or acidity), both experts recommend keeping a close eye on ingredient lists.

“Look for microbiological-friendly formulas that contain moisturizing ingredients such as humectants, emollients and emollients; Avoid harsh cleaners like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and alcohol.” “Seractants are milder. Depending on your skin, you may also benefit from avoiding cleansers that contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or other exfoliating acids [for cleansing] gentle.]” Because some people may be sensitive or allergic to fragrances (whether artificially manufactured or naturally derived), our advisors recommend looking Look for fragrance-free formulas if possible.

If all of that sounds a little confusing or overwhelming, Dr. Zeichner points out that sometimes, it can be as simple as paying attention to words used in product names to figure out what’s soothing. and what not: , “”milk”, “oil” or “oil” – which tend to be non-foaming and hydrating – ideal for those with particularly dry or sensitive skin.

Good news? Gentle, effective cleansers are fairly easy to find on beauty store shelves. And they’re pretty accessible — like at the $6 pharmacy at your nearest drugstore.

Both experts we consulted cite the classic Dove Beauty Bar – good old soaps indeed – as among their top recommendations for gentle face washes. As Dr. Zeichner puts it, “Dove Beauty Bar is the best kept secret at the drugstore. This soap-free cleansing bar is gentle enough for the face but strong enough for the body. It contains the same types of ingredients. moisturizer. is found in traditional moisturizers, so it cleanses while respecting the skin barrier.”

Dr. King (whom we personally interviewed for this story, which is important to note) was also quick to praise it. “I highly recommend Dove Beauty Bar and Dove Body Wash because these formulas gently cleanse, hydrate the skin and support the skin barrier, and they’re body-friendly.

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