I recently heard a young woman enthusiastically describe a new cleansing routine involving the application of cooking oil followed by hot water to clean her skin. She informed me that her skin was softer and pimple free because of this new ‘natural’ regimen.
In an effort to forestall a possible skin disaster I explained that it is quite likely that this new routine might result in a condition call ‘cosmetically induced seborrhea.’ The purpose of cleansing the skin is to remove cosmetics, dirt and grime, and dead skin cells. The oil routine might successfully remove make up, however is unlikely to get at all the dirt and grime and will probably not remove the dead skin cells. If these cells are not removed they become matted to the skin. The build up causes flakiness and inflamed oil glands leaving a scaly, red rash that is sometimes itchy (seborrhea). People often interpret the flakiness as dry skin and apply more occlusive moisturizing creams or lotions to the skin. A vicious cycle begins which often results in a visit to the dermatologist.
The best cleansing routine is:
- Remove make up with a makeup remover.
- Wash the skin with warm water and a cleanser – mild soaps are better than cream cleansers. Glycerine soaps such as Pears and Neutrogena or Cetaphil Lotion are recommended.
- Wait 30 minutes after cleansing to give your skin time to replenish its natural oils. If your skin is tight and dry then a light moisturizer may be necessary. Use a moisturizer with sunscreen protection.