I read an interesting article in yesterday's Daily Mail about the rising trend of “cleaning reduction” – basically people who wash less.
I firmly believe that cleaning the skin too often with the wrong (detergent-based) products is the cause of most people's skin problems. Simply put, it mixes your oil and pH balance, sensitizing and aging the skin prematurely.
You can read more about this in my previous article "5 tips for achieving skin balance".
Why are face and body washes bad for the skin?
Most cleaning products foam – and foam usually comes from cleaning agents. Detergents are like antibiotics – they remove everything, including all good things, namely your natural oil. They are also very alkaline, which destabilizes the skin's acid coat.
The common detergents that should be avoided on ingredient lists are sodium lauryl sulfate and cocamidopropylbetaine . These are particularly dry and irritating for sensitive skin. I am terribly allergic to both.
What do I recommend instead?
For the face I recommend using a 100% detergent-free cream cleaner and only at night. They are best used with a muslin or other washcloth.
For the body I recommend soaps with a high oil content – like Savon de Marseille – over foaming shower gels. These soaps are best used with a body kick as they help to make a really good foam out of very little.
Would I suggest washing only weekly? Yes for small babies, but no for adults! I say better to wash regularly with the right, skin-friendly products than just weekly with the wrong ones.