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Is Cleanser Just A Fancy Word For Face Wash?

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Did you know there is a big difference between a face wash and a cleanser? One purifies the skin, whilst the other adds nourishment, so making sure you have the right one for your skin is essential for optimal skin health.

Face washes and cleansers are often confused and thought of as the same thing, so we’re here to uncover all the truths and outline which one you need for your skin.


What is a cleanser?

A cleanser will help to cleanse your skin of oil, congestion, make up and dirt, it functions by dissolving away any oil-soluble impurities, whilst also adding nourishment and hydration back into the skin. Cleansers are a great choice for those with dry, sensitive skin, as well as those who regularly use makeup and are exposed to environmental pollutants.

Cleansers can be easily recognised for their gel-like, sometimes milky texture. Some cleansers don’t require you to rinse your face after application, so be sure to check the directions, as you might only need to pat your face dry with a towel. 

Dr. Dennis Gross has formulated the Hyaluronic Marine Meltaway Cleanser. This cleanser will help to remove oil and debris from the surface of the skin, whilst also soothing and hydrating. The formulation contains hyaluronic acid, marine algae and aloe vera to help reinforce the skin’s natural barrier, deeply hydrate and soothe inflammation. 


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What is a face wash?

A face wash will foam up when gently applied, working deeper into the skin to remove excess oil, makeup, debris and congestion from the lower layers of the skin, deep within the pores. If you regularly wear make up it is recommended that you use a cleanser prior to using a face wash to ensure all your makeup is removed.

When using a face wash you’ll want to be sure to rinse afterwards. Gently massage the face wash into your skin and rinse with lukewarm water, avoid over-cleansing as this can strip the skin of it’s natural oils. RInse thoroughly and pat your skin dry with a soft towel.

A face wash is not always dermatologically tested, which is why you’ll see many great deep working, pore cleaning ‘cleansers’ available to purchase via Skinstation. Although they function like a face wash, they are labelled cleansers due to their advanced dermatological testing. If you have oily or combination skin a great product to incorporate into your routine is the Obagi CLENZiderm Daily Care Foaming Cleanser. This potent product contains 2% salicylic acid to penetrate the skin, helping to remove dirt and debris from deep within the pores. This product will also remove excess oil from the surface of the skin, as well as dead skin cell build up, for a clearer, brighter complexion. 


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What’s the difference between face wash and soap?

Face wash has a lower pH than standard body soap, meaning it is ideal for use on the face and is less likely to dry out the skin. Standard face soap can leave your skin inflamed and incredibly dry.

Face washes can be a substitute for soap, as most contain sodium laureth sulfate, a well known foaming agent. This ingredient is often found in body washes, shampoos and detergents as it’ll help to create a foamy lather. Soap however cannot be substituted for face wash.


What is the difference between a cleanser and face wash?

Cleansers are generally more gentle on the skin in comparison to a face wash. A cleanser will not foam whereas a face wash will. Cleansers work to remove excess oil and debris from the surface of the skin, whilst adding nourishment back into the skin, making it great for makeup removal.

A face wash works deeper into the skin, removing oil, congestion and impurities from deep within the pores and the surface, this makes a face wash a great choice for those with oily, acne prone, combination skin, whereas a cleanser is more appropriate for those with dry and normal skin.

Latest update: 20/09/2021
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