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The importance of cleansing for healthy skin

The importance of cleansing for healthy skin

**By special guest, Michelle Doolan: skin expert, The Cleansing Cloth founder,m and Skin Nerd owner**

There are many factors to healthy and glowing skin, but it all begins with how we wash it, and what we wash it with!

Without getting too science-y, our skin is our biggest functioning organ – built to protect. Within itself it has a barrier we often refer to as its very own ecosystem, that sits on the surface making sure everything behaves the way it should.

The ecosystem consists of oils, dead skin cells, bacteria and a heap of other fancy named cells. Together they create the perfect protection barrier that enables our skin to be strong.

Our aim is to keep this barrier happy – so how do we do that?

To keep it happy and be kind it's more about what NOT to do, rather than what to do!:

  • Avoid harsh cleansers that leave the skin feeling squeaky clean after you’ve washed.
  • Avoid products that have SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfates), Phthalates, Paraffin, Mineral Oil and Isopropyl Alcohol, just a few to name. All of these ingredients either leave a nasty film on the surface that clogs or corrodes the ‘ecosystem’, or strips the healthy surface oils leaving the skin weak and over cleansed (yes, there is such a thing).
  • Don’t over exfoliate in an attempt to keep your skin feeling super smooth - so many of us over exfoliate: e.g. everyday (shock horror!). This is too much.
  • Don’t use (in excess) cleansing tools that rupture the skin's surface: e.g. deep pore cleansing brushes, rough pads and even loafer mitts. These are like exfoliating everyday – they again strip the skin's natural surface affecting the barrier function of the skin.
  • A 100% NO NO is makeup wipes. These little marketing bundles of goodness are anything but that. Stripping the skin with harsh ingredients - or worse - leaving behind a film of chemicals will most definitely destroy your skin's barrier.

So where do we go from here? We know what NOT to do, but you might ask what you CAN do: 

At The Cleansing Cloth, we like to tell you to keep it simple. Avoid using multiple serums a day that layer over the top of one another. Pick your favourite and use it daily until it's empty – that way you give your skin a good dose of great ingredients and don’t over complicate the signals for what your skin should be doing.

Think basic, good quality ingredients in a simple and effective skincare routine.

The fundamentals of healthy skin are:

  • Cleansing correctly as covered above.
  • Remembering not to use micellar water or makeup remover wipes.
  • Think about how you treat your skin. Are you kind to it? Do you make it manage a lot of ingredients in a small amount of time? Protect it from moisture loss, over do it? Stop and consider - would you tell your best friend to do exactly as you do? Or differently?
  • A Gut to Skin Axis exists so remember what you eat will have an effect on your skin in both a good and bad way.
  • Seek advice from an experienced Skin Geek! Someone who lives and breathes and knows skin: not just skincare - there is a difference.
  • Hydrate! Drink water as best you can.

A few top tips to glowing skin with your home care routine

  • Cleanse AM & PM with a gentle cleanser. If it doesn’t remove your makeup efficiently then question two things – 1. Is it the cleanser? 2. Do I need to double cleanse, or should I consider removing the makeup debris and cleanser with something such as a Cleansing Cloth to make it more efficient?
  • Continuing on from above – splash removing your makeup and cleanser will not clean your skin correctly. You must use a medium to help manoeuvre the product off the surface. (A quick example … We use a mop pad to clean our floors – not just a bucket of water splashed down and walk away...Tah-dah it's clean!). This is where WHAT we use is important.
  • Face washers, makeup remover pads and muslin all absorb the water, makeup, cleanser and skin debris into the fibres of the fabric allowing for slow growth of bacteria and mould to form. They also all have fibres which are rough and abrasive to the skin's surface.

We here at Skin Geek and The Cleansing Cloth recommend The Cleansing Cloth because it’s a smooth material that glides over your skin, absorbent to water but deters makeup and debris from absorbing into itself. Easily washed to rinse clean and reusable time and time again - the perfect addition to any skin care routine and a solid step in the right direction to fundamental health of the skin.

A hot tip from a skin expert – cream or oil based cleansers work best to break down makeup, leaving the skin protected at the same time. A huge number of people use the wrong type of cleanser for their skin based on the opinion it should leave your skin feeling “clean”, tight and fresh. This in fact is stripping the ecosystem we mentioned above.

Gel and foam cleansers should really be kept for the oiliest of skins which is really only about 10% of the population.

If you are not sure what cleanser to use - seek advice, or send a chat link (via Skin Geek or The Cleansing Cloth) to request support steer you in the right direction.

Then, complete your skin routine by:

  • Sealing in the natural oils or water content your skin creates by using a moisturiser. All skin - regardless of your oil content - should use some kind of moisturiser. These are selected based on your skin's oil producing quantity - lightweight for oily skin, and rich and nurturing for a drier skin type. (Hint… do you lack oil or water? It's important to know this before purchasing your own moisturiser).
  • Always consider a little exfoliation 1- 2 per week to refresh the skin's surface.
  • Consider a skin loving serum such as a Vitamin B or a gentle and stable Vitamin C for a nice skin glow.
  • Head to your best skin clinic in town and enjoy a regular LED session to stimulate the skin's surface. You can do these types of clinical facials or sessions 1-2 x per week or within a facial once every 6-8 weeks.


Michelle Doolan is an expert in skin health, having developed over 25 years of industry experience through both research and in-person treatment. From this, Michelle realised the need to improve education around cleansing and cleansing devices. Creating The Cleansing Cloth has been a dream come true for Michelle, with the added benefit of educating clients on skin health.

Use code RETREATYOURSELF for 15% off a yearly subscription to Cleansing Cloths, until 31/08/23.


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