Raise your hand if you think that soap has to foam to work. OK, you can put your hand down. Now, raise your hand if you think your skin isn’t clean until its feels super tight and squeaky clean. OK, now smack yourself (gently) on the back of the head then put it down


A double cleanse isn’t about getting you to spend more money on professional products; its about truly clean, healthy skin. Start your routine by using an oil based cleanser such as Dermalogica’s Precleanse which will break down makeup, dirt, pollution, oil and allergens then use a gentle pH balanced cleanser like UltraCalming Cleanser to keep your barrier healthy while giving you the cleanest skin possible. Don’t forget to use the right moisturizer for your skin type.

P.S. If you’re not quite sure of your skin type, or your skin keeps breaking out even though you are SURE of your skin type, talk to a professional esthetician and get a skin consultation. Your skin may have changed while you weren’t looking.

The Details:

The pattern

One of the most common misconceptions about cleansing the face and body is that you have to remove all of the oil, bacteria and dead skin for it to be truly clean. That if your skin doesn’t feel like you haven’t moisturized for 2 weeks then you haven’t done enough. This kind of thinking leads you to use soaps that are too rough for you, which breaks down your skins natural barrier, which leads to you breaking out more. Sound familiar?

Why it happens

This is a massive oversimplification but it goes like this:

Your skin has something called a skin barrier. It’s akin to a brick wall that keeps thing in that you want to have (think moisture) and the bad things out (think pollution). The bricks are the dead skin cells and the mortar is made up of oils.

Skin is naturally a little acidic, sitting anywhere from 4.5-6.5 on the pH scale (we’ll call it 5.5 for now) while most soaps are alkaline with a pH around 9.0. So, when you use alkaline soaps to cleanse you are changing the pH of your skin, causing your barrier to struggle to stay intact and work properly.

When your barrier function is compromised then all sorts of bad things happen, not least of which is irritated and red skin, dry patchy skin, dehydration and breakouts.

How do you keep your skin healthy and clean

Start with a double cleanse using cleansers that are pH balanced and suit your skin type. The reason for the double cleanse is pretty straightforward. The first cleanse gets off all the residue of the day (makeup, pollution, dirt, allergens, excess sebum etc.) while the second cleanse actually cleanses your skin and prepares it for things like masques, serums and moisturizers.

Not all cleansers are created equal though, so do a little research to make sure the cleanser is pH balanced and suited to your skin type, for example, if you have naturally dry skin, your cleanser should be creamier than if you have naturally oily or normal skin.

If you’re not sure of your cleansers pH, get some test strips, mix up a little cleanser with purified water and test the mixture. If the pH is above 6.5, consider getting a different cleanser that is a little more acidic. If you love the cleanser anyway, consider changing up the rest of your skin care regimen to counteract the effects of the more alkaline cleanser.

Healthy skin is within your reach

While it’s not a guaranteed fix, using the right cleanser is a great first step towards healthy, glowing, clear skin.

Consider a Dermalogica Skin Mapping to make sure that you understand your skin type and what you should be looking for in your products then do your own research. Just because a cleanser is “all natural” or “organic” or “professionally formulated” doesn’t mean its right for your skin.

One last thing

Sometimes, when we move towards a more suitable skin care regimen, we have to allow our skin to adapt. When you change your skin care products you might “purge” aka break out. This can actually be a good thing as your skin is getting rid of all the nastiness that its been holding onto for awhile. Don’t let this scare you off from your new regimen, but do contact your esthetician if it’s worrying you. Once you get past that speed bump, your skin should begin to improve.

Thanks for reading – Athena