Guest Post by Allie Cooper, freelance blogger
No skincare routine is complete without cleansing your skin. If you skip this first crucial step, there’s no proper way for you to completely rid your pores of bacteria, grime, and makeup — leading to irritation and other problematic skin conditions.
And if you’re a woman of color, skin issues like acne and hyper-pigmentation can make finding the right cleanser for you even more difficult.
That’s why it is crucial to make sure you know how to choose the right cleanser for your skin type. However, you can’t just use a bar of soap or body wash to cleanse your face.
That’s because the skin on your face is extra sensitive, and what you use for your body usually isn’t beneficial for your face (all those extra chemicals and perfumes!).
If you’re not sure what to use for your skin type and also suffer from any of these issues, I’ve drafted this quick guide to help you find the right cleanser for your skin type!
What Sets Darker Skin Tones Apart?
While it’s true that the main basis when choosing skincare products should be your skin type, you should also consider the amount of melanin in your skin.
Fortunately, dark skin tones are more protected against UV rays, compared to lighter skin tones. This serves as an extra barrier for cells, so less cell damage means less wrinkles, and brighter skin.
However, many women of color struggle with skin conditions like hyper-pigmentation and uneven skin tone, that affect them more disproportionately than women with fair skin.
Hyper-pigmentation is triggered by acne and inflammation, which can leave dark marks due to the extra boost in melanin.
Furthermore, Allure notes that melasma — blotchy, patches on your face caused by UV rays and hormones — can further complicate skin issues. So it’s important that women of color should be extra careful when choosing skincare products that meet their needs.
Choosing A Cleanser Based on Your Skin Type
Below I’ve listed the most common skin types and cleansers to keep your skin healthy and balanced. But more even better, also combat uneven tone and hyper-pigmentation.
Normal skin tone is characterized by even skin with minimal redness, sheen, or flaking. Almost any cleanser will work best for normal skin tone, but it’s best to check the ingredient list. Be on the lookout for any potential allergens or even too many alcohols that can be drying even for normal skin.
Furthermore, be sure to choose cleansers that are formulated with added beneficial ingredients — whether it’s anti-aging, hydrating, or toning. Because when your skin is cleansed and well-moisturized, you’re less likely to suffer from acne, and therefore hyper-pigmentation.
You know you have dry skin when your skin often feels tight, itchy and has flaky areas. And for darker skin tones, having dry skin can often make hyper-pigmentation and uneven skin tone worse!
For this skin type, steer clear of cleansers full of alcohols and chemicals that strip your skin of its natural oils.
Lavender Lilac Dream’s review of the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser notes that ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid can help effectively cleanse the skin while gently washing away dirt and oil, and not be too drying.
This is also a great choice if you have sensitive, acne-prone skin. So, try to look for these active ingredients when looking for the right cleanser for your skin type.
Unlike dry skin, oily skin usually has a sheen and larger, more visible pores. Because of this, people with oily skin can usually handle stronger face washes. However, what works best for oily skin are cleansers that mainly help control the oil and purify pores.
Also, cleansers that are formulated with niacinamide like e.l.f.’s Superclarify Cleanser are perfect for oily skin types as it helps to hold in moisture and keeps your complexion balanced.
Acne and other skin issues are tend to be more apparent in people with sensitive skin. This is why it’s important to choose cleansers with gentle and moisturizing ingredients. Natural ingredients like aloe vera, tea tree oil, and jojoba oil can help nourish your skin.
They also work to fight against inflammation and hyper-pigmentation. Other hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid can also soothe your skin and help it keep plump and healthy. So, if you have sensitive skin, keep these ingredients in mind the next time you find yourself looking for a cleanser.
If you want to take better care of your skin, you should start with the first step: finding the right cleanser for your skin type! Learn more about taking care of your skin — and yourself — be sure to check this out the 5 Types of Self Care Essential Guide!