The sensitive skin epidemic is upon us. Over 60% of people now suffer from prickling, itching and stinging on a regular basis. And urban life only exacerbates the issue: every day, pollution and city residues adhere to skin and induce micro-inflammation, accentuating its sensitivity.
The natural reaction is of course to purify, ridding skin of irritant impurities. But when it comes to cleansing, "thorough" is often synonymous with "harsh"; and harsh cleansing can strip the skin, leaving it all the more vulnerable.
We sat down with Dr. Philippe Beaulieu to sound out his expert insights on facial cleansers that purify skin without stressing it out.
Questions to an expert: Dr. Philippe Beaulieu, some facial cleansers seem to strip skin of its defenses, leaving it dry, tight and uncomfortable.
Many rinse-off facial cleansers are packed with harsh surfactants that strip absolutely everything off skin's surface. And the hard water in many cities compounds the issue with further irritation.
Are non-rinse cleansers a safer option than traditional face washes?
Yes, the face cleansers I recommend are skintype-specific micellar waters. First of all, they are non-rinse, so you don't have to worry about putting skin in contact with tap water contaminants. Second, micelles are a gentle way of lifting off make-up, dirt and pollution while leaving skin's own lipids - sebum, squalene, etc. - intact. This means you can avoid that tight feeling, while still effectively purifying the skin. They really do strike just the right balance.
How do I know a micellar water is safe for skin?
Not all micellar waters are created equal. For a start, have a good look at the bottle and check it's tested on sensitive skin. To ensure tolerance, you want as pure a formula as possible, particularly for sensitive skin as well as all reactive skin types. Click here for a specific guide to cleansing reactive skin (link to "cleansing reactive skin" article).
What makes a micellar water gentle yet effective?
Effective facial cleansers should contain micelles, which lift off every trace of dirt and make-up - including microscopic pollution particles - but leave skin's defenses intact.
Another top ingredient for a dermatologist-approved cleansing water is glycerine. It is a truly multi-talented ingredient that enhances the cleanser's action on impurities, as well as hydrating skin as you cleanse and smoothing the cotton pad's glide over skin.
All in all, combining absolute safety with strong efficacy on pollution and impurities has to be our number 1 goal when it comes to facial cleansing. Click here to find out more about the importance of cleansing away even invisible pollution
Discover micellar waters that work in harmony with sensitive and reactive skin
Making the most of micellar waters' properties thanks to thermal water
Some micellar waters contain natural thermal spa waters, proven to calm inflammation within the skin and soothe symptoms of sensitivity. For example, La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water is sourced on unspoilt land and recognized in the medical community for its therapeutic effects on many different skin pathologies. It's even approved for use on small children, so ingredients don't come much safer.