Is Your Face Wash Aging Your Skin?

Does your skin feel dry and tight no matter how much you moisturise?

Maybe your plumping serums and sheet masks aren't making your skin glow like the 'skinfluencers' plugging them on YouTube..

If so, there's a good chance that your face wash is damaging your skin. Fun fact: a lot of face washes that claim to be hydrating for your skin are actually filled with harsh detergents and alcohols that strip your skin of its natural oils. Everyday use of these products will eventually weaken your skin barrier, leading to dehydration.

When your skin is dehydrated it is highly susceptible to environmental damage that causes premature aging.

So, what's the solution?

Only use a non drying face wash! No matter what your skin type is. Here's my tips on how to avoid "bad" face washes and cleansers, plus as usual I've sifted through the ingredients list to bring you my top ten clean beauty picks

Here's how what you need to know about "bad" face wash:


The two main ingredients to look for (and avoid) in a face wash are "bad" alcohols and harsh surfactants. Unfortunately, lots of facial wash and cleansing products have a really high content of both of them. Over time, daily use of these products have shown in studies to damage your skin barrier.

The skin barrier's main function is to keep moisture in your skin to prevent dehydration. And to also keep environmental hazards like free radicals, UV rays, and bacteria out preventing skin reactions and premature aging.

A healthy, strong skin barrier —or lack thereof, is the difference between glowing skin or dull skin.

"Bad" Alcohols: How to spot them

Alcohols are used in beauty products as either a preservative, to make formulas lighter, improve the texture, or to help other ingredients penetrate the skin. But, there are good alcohols and bad alcohols.

Bad alcohols like "SD" and "denatured" have traditionally been recommended for oily and acne-prone skin types —think astringent. This is because, initially alcohol strips the skin of it's natural oils. A temporary solution for oily skin.

As the skin continues to dry out the skin barrier becomes weakened, and the body goes into overdrive to produce more oil. This excess oil production can block pores leading to acne.

For dry, sensitive and especially mature skin types, these alcohols are just as damaging. By stripping the skin of its natural oils the skin barrier is left weakened. Vulnerable to dehydration and environmental pollutants that age the skin.

Bad alcohols to avoid;

  • benzyl alcohol

  • SD alcohol

  • denatured alcohol (alcohol denat.)

  • ethyl alcohol

  • isopropyl alcohol

Good alcohols, also known as fatty alcohols;

  • cetyl alcohol

  • stearyl alcohol

  • cetearyl alcohol

Surfactants: What are they?

Surfactants are common ingredients used in shower gel, bubble bath, shampoo, and also facial skincare products like cleanser and face wash for their cleansing, foaming, thickening and antimicrobial effects. There are different types of surfactants, but the most common ones used in beauty products are anionic and amphoteric.

Anionic detergents

Over time, daily use of skincare products containing anionic detergents will leave skin feeling 'dry' and 'tight'. They are known to disrupt and damage the wall-like structure of the skin barrier, leaving your skin vulnerable to environmental damage and dehydration.

Harsh surfactants to avoid;

  • sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)

  • sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)

  • ammonium laureth sulfate

  • disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate

Examples of amphoteric detergents considered milder and less irritating;

  • cocamide mea

  • cocoamidopropyl betaine (CAPB)

  • sodium cocoamphoacetate

Cocoamidopropyl betaine is created by mixing raw coconut and dimethylaminopropylamine (try saying that after a few wines!). It can be found in many natural and organic personal care products. Brands will often use the words "coconut-based cleanser".

10 Best "Clean Beauty" Alcohol And Sulfate Free Cleansers

All Skin Types

Whamisa Organic Flowers Foaming Gel (£35)

Buy from Amazon

Face wash or dry, sensitive skin

Neal's Yard Remedies Rose Facial Wash (£14)

Buy from Amazon

Face wash for normal skin

Drunk Elephant Jelly Cleanser (£36)

Buy from Amazon

Face wash for dry, sensitive skin

Fushi Enzyme Face Wash (£15)

Buy from Amazon

Best face cleanser for oily skin and large pores

100% Pure Charcoal Cleanser (£30)

Buy from Naturisimo

Dry skin face wash

Lixirskin Electrogel Cleanser (£30)

Buy from Amazon

Best cleanser for combination skin

Antipodes Juliet Skin Brightening Gel Cleanser (£25)

Buy from Amazon

Face wash for dry, sensitive skin

Tata Harper Refreshing Cleanser (£73)

Buy from Amazon

Natural face wash for oily skin

Evolve Beauty Daily Detox Facial Wash (£16)

Buy from Glow Organic

Best cleanser for combination skin

Grown Alchemist Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser (£31)

Buy from Amazon

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