WHY YOUR FACE WASH IS AGING YOUR SKIN!



Does Your Skin Feel Dry & Tight After Washing Your Face?

 

If the answer is yes, then your face wash/cleanser is most likely striping the fats (lipids) from your skin. Most face washes are high in surfactants and alcohols. With prolonged use, these ingredients create a chain reaction of damage within our skin by disrupting the skin barrier function. 


When this protective barrier is disrupted the skin is left vulnerable to trans epidermal water loss (TEWL), environmental pollutants, allergens, chemicals and ultraviolet rays.

The skins protective barrier minimises water loss and is essential for glowing,  healthy, hydrated skin.




LIPID BILAYERS

The stratum corneum is the outer-most layer of our skin and is responsible for providing a protective barrier between the body and the outside world called the skin barrier function. It is made up of flat cells (corneocytes) embedded in a lipid matrix called lipid bilayers. These layers are composed in of ceramides, free fatty acids and cholesterol. This structure can be likened to a brick wall, with the cells as the bricks and the lipids as the mortar sealing and holding the cells together.

  • Cholesterol:  This type of lipid improves the skin's elasticity and speeds up the skin barriers recovery process.  Visible skin aging is often caused by cholesterol deficiency in the skin. Cholesterol also plays an integral role in the bodies vitamin D levels. When the suns UVB rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells they provide energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur.

  • Ceramides:  This lipid makes up approximately 50% of the lipid bilayers and is responsible for the skin's hydration. It locks moisture into the skin by binding water molecules together. Ceramides create a sandwich-like structure (water x lipids x water) to form the 'mortar' that sits between the cells strengthening and hydrating the skin barrier function. A deficiency in this lipid leads to moisture loss and dry skin.

  • Free Fatty acids:  Not to be confused with essential fatty acids, which are synthesised by plants and not by the human body and are therefor a dietary requirement.  Free fatty acids have important biological roles in the body, both structural and functional. They are an important part of the cell membrane. 



SURFACTANTS + ALCOHOLS 


THE EFFECTS OF SURFACTANTS ON LIPIDS
Surfactants are known to disrupt the lipid bilayers. Lipid bilayers play a major role in maintaining the skin's barrier function. When they are compromised the cells become more permeable and vulnerable, making the skin susceptible to environmental damage, water loss and allergens. Surfactants can also damage the lipid structures themselves, causing a reduction of fats within the external skin layers.


SURFACTANTS IN FACE WASH

Surfactants are used in skincare for cleansing, foaming, thickening, emulsifying, solubilising, antimicrobial and other effects. There are four types of surfactants, non-ionic, anionic, cationic and amphoteric. The most common types used in skincare are anionic and amphoteric. Below are some examples of anionic detergents you may find in your face wash, plus your shampoo, bubble bath and shower gels;

  • SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE (SLS) 
  • SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLES) 
  • AMMONIUM LAURETH SULFATE 
  • DISODIUM LAURYL SULFOSUCCINATE

Below are some examples of amphoteric detergents, often found alongside the above are considered milder and less irritating;

  • COCAMIDE MEA 
  • COCOAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE (CAPB) 
  • SODIUM COCOAMPHOACETATE


Cocoamidopropyl betaine is created by mixing raw coconut and dimethylaminopropylamine (try saying that after a few wines!) It can be found in many natural and organic personal care products. Brands will often use the words "coconut-based cleanser". But CAPB can also have side effects. It can be found in a lot of "SLS-free" products or "tear-free" baby shampoos.



 ALCOHOLS

THE EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL ON SKIN
Alcohols are used to make skincare products feel lighter and to help other ingredients penetrate the skin, and as a preservative. Some of these alcohols can be incredibly drying and irritating because they deteriorate the skins protective barrier, which means the skin is no longer effective at keeping moisture in. Alcohols can also stimulate oil production which could lead to breakouts if you have oily prone skin.






ALCOHOLS IN FACE WASH
There are good alcohols, which are high-molecule-weight, and bad alcohols, low-molecular-weight, when it comes to skincare. Good alcohols, also known as fatty alcohols have emollient properties, giving products a silky texture and keeping ingredients stable. These alcohols are generally classified as no to low hazard/toxicity and are mostly found in creams, lotions, ointments, hair conditioner, balms, butters etc. Examples of good alcohols include cetyl, stearyl and cetearyl alcohol. Bad alcohols to look out for in your face wash are;


  • BENZYL ALCOHOL 
  • DENATATURED ALCOHOL (ALCOHOL DENAT.) 
  • ETHYL ALCOHOL 
  • ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL 
  • METHANOL 
  • SD ALCOHOL



Alcohols like SD and "denatured" immediately harm the skin, starting a chain reaction of damage that continues long after it has evaporated. A study published in 2003 found that with regular exposure to alcohol-based products, cleansing becomes a damaging ordeal—skin is no longer able to keep water and cleansing agents from penetrating into it, thus further eroding its surface layers. An anti-aging nightmare for your skin!




FACE WASH EXAMPLES TO AVOID


SIMPLE 
Moisturising Facial Wash:  Contains two sulfates and no alcohols. But just to make up for it, Simple added not ONE but TWO PARABENS!







NEUTROGENA  
Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit Cream Wash: will remove the dirt from your face while taking all the goodness in your skin with it!  It contains TWO SULFATES, THREE ALCOHOLS, and TWO PARABENS!








LA ROCHE-POSAY 
Purifying Foaming Gel For Oily Sensitive Skin: contains TWO SULFATES and also PARFUM/FRAGRANCE. The term "parfum" was originally created to protect perfumery scent formulations, which were considered a closely guarded trade secret. These days however it has become a labelling "loophole" where manufacturers can hide a multitude of potentially harmful ingredients. Currently, UK cosmetic legislation allows over 200 different chemicals to be listed under "parfum".

 






DERMALOGICA  
Special Cleansing Gel:  Developed by The International Dermal Institute, Dermalogica is a professional brand used by therapists in spas and salons. I have used this face wash (long before I learnt about SLS) and it smells great and leaves your skin squeaky clean. But after prolonged use, it left me with dry patches and irritated skin.  TWO SULFATES, THREE ALCOHOLS  and TWO PARABENS.






L'OREAL 
Hydra Sensitive Face Wash:  Just to show us that men have to put up with the same rubbish as we do, here is the ingredient list for a L'Oreal men's face wash. It contains THREE SULFATES and "PARFUM". And as with all of the above examples, there are absolutely no good ingredients for the skin in here either!


KINDER FACE WASHES

There are now lots of healthier alternatives to these products. More natural and organic brands are formulating skincare products with parabens, phthalates, sulfates, PEGs/silicones, petrochemicals/ mineral oils and other synthetic ingredients their products. Just a few are; Green People,  Shea Moisture, Trilogy, Tata Harper,  Annmarie, Maya Chia and ilike

I think it's near impossible to eliminate every single bad ingredient from your life. I buy SLS free shampoo, but I know that it still contains some other type of surfactant. But, if you can cut down your daily intake, it's a great start. And changing your face wash to a kinder one is vital to your skin. Basically, surfactants and alcohols in your face wash (and other skincare products) damage and AGE your skin.

An amazing alternative to these products is The Oil Cleansing Method. This form of cleansing is totally natural, using only a blend of suitable oils for your skin type.  I have been using the OCM for a couple of years now with wonderful results.  Skin is left feeling deep cleansed AND hydrated!


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