I have developed an extreme respect for cleansers over the years. At the beginning, I was advising my patients that they should focus most of their skincare budget on superior quality medical grade antioxidants during the day and a non-irritating retinoid at night. I told patients to buy the SPF they will use and a cheap gentle cleanser. It was not until I started doing full face rejuvenation with injectable fillers that I changed my mind on the importance of a good cleanser. I noticed when I used my prep pads on my clients' skin immediately before injecting there was still dirt, grime and leftover makeup left on the prep pad. I noticed it repeatedly and it was unsettling. Gentle cleansers were not removing all the makeup, dirt and grime properly.
Cut to 15 years later, double cleansing with an oily cleanser or balm followed by a cleanser is all the rage. I love this idea in theory but that was honestly only part of my extended skincare repertoire when I had extra time on the weekend. Frankly, when I first dove into the cleanser formulation, I truly had NO IDEA how complicated it would be! My quest to create the perfect cleanser became my passion and my purpose was to make one that could do EVERYTHING... dissolve stubborn makeup and water-resistant SPF products AND gently, thoroughly, respectfully clean the skin. Our philosophy at THE ROUTE is to create innovative multitasking products that are best in class and make your life easier and your skin better at the same time!
"Good Skin" starts with a healthy epidermal barrier (the top layer of the skin) which is also known as the lipid bilayer, the acid mantle or simply the skin barrier. I like the analogy of the skin as a brick-and-mortar system. The skin cells are the bricks, and the mortar is the combo of natural skin oils (cholesterol, fatty-acids and ceramides) that must be present for the skin to function properly and stay healthy. Every known skin disorder or disease starts with (or does it end up with?) a compromised skin barrier. I am not saying that abusing your barrier is going to result in a disease state, but I am suggesting that it could cause some havoc in your skin quality and so-called sensitivity. We are taught that over 70%, yes SEVENTY PERCENT, of the population claims they have "sensitive skin." That is a whole lot of people and I believe that a lot of them have self-made sensitivity based on their choice of products and lifestyle. There are some true cases of sensitivity - my co-founder Courtney truly does have sensitive skin possibly because of her gut disorder, celiac disease, and the fact that she used to scrub the hell out of her skin. To her, squeaky clean tight shiny skin was good skin, but she did not notice that red spots, rashes, and inability to tolerate even the mildest of medical grade skincare products I recommended to her were a result of her over cleansing, stripping her skin of its natural protective lubricating oils. This resulted in a barrier that no longer served her. It was not until I convinced her of this new way to cleanse with a cleansing agent that not only did not bubble a lot, "but did not bubble AT ALL," that we could heal her skin. Then and only then could we treat her skin with products that would make a difference in the aging of her skin.
So many of us grew up in an era when we washed our face and bodies with the same bar of soap, applied witch hazel to our acneic skin to rid it of the abundance of face oils we believed to be the major contributor to the blemishes. But what we did not realize was that the bubbles in soap have harsh surfactants that would over clean the skin, strip it of its natural oils and then stick around clinging to the skin cells causing more damage due to inflammation. We got used to that tight dry feeling that some of us carried into our adulthood and people like Courtney thought this was ok and continued to clean her skin that way.
What makes a perfect cleanser? My perfect cleanser hits a triple every time! It melts makeup, grit and grime from the face, cleans the skin gently and thoroughly to pass the white towel test AND it leaves the skin hydrated, the microbiome and the barrier undisturbed. The caveat and the true wonder of this triple threat cleanser is that all that is carried out with ONE product! Enter THE TRIPLE CLEANSE™. Hyaluronic acid, skin compatible oils and ceramides combine with natural emulsifiers that cleanse the skin in a healthy, hydrating, respectful way. The skin is left clean and happy feeling!
The moral of the story is - keep the bubbles in your champagne and not in your cleanser! Bubbles are a result of a lather created by soap, detergents, and surfactants - all not skin friendly. Bubbles are necessary when we clean our hands after using the restroom and to combat the COVID-19 virus. The bubbles are a viral killing agent, but doing this repeatedly can result in dry, chapped, uncomfortable skin on your hands that you've no doubt experienced during this pandemic.
After cleansing, the skin on our face should look and feel clean. Our cream-to oil-to milk formulation is designed to be massaged into dry skin for a minimum of 30-60 seconds to melt the makeup, dirt, grime, pollution etc. that "sticks" to the skin throughout the day and needs to be removed before more free radical damage is done. This is the reason cleansing in the AM is so crucial. If left unwashed, the pollutants of modern urban life (pollution, tar, nicotine, dust, etc.) remain on the skin and leads to skin inflammation, DNA damage and free radical oxidative damage and accelerated skin aging. THE TRIPLE CLEANSE™ is applied to dry skin in cream form, easily dispensed, and when massaged will transform into an oil, melting and lifting away makeup etc. Then, with the application of water, will transform again to a milky cleanser that gently and respectfully cleans the skin. The skin feels comfortable (not dry) and acts calm (not irritated or red). Hopefully, I have shed a small light about cleansers and you now agree with me that facial cleansing just may well be the unsung hero of all skincare regimens and something to which you should pay special attention.
Raise the bubbly, and cheers to happy, healthy, beautifully cleansed skin!