Double cleansing: Do we need to do it?

Alice Sholl
Good for our skin, or a bit of a beauty myth? [Photo: Pexels]

Whenever skincare companies tell us to ‘double cleanse’, we have good reason to be a little bit sceptical.

Beauty companies’ priorities are to sell skincare products, after all, and double cleansing – using two different cleansers, one oil based and one water, to clean your face – could all be a bit of a myth invented to make us use up our products faster so that we have to buy more.

But is there an element of truth to it? Pollution is clogging us with city grime, after all, and it can be hard to tell when we’ve washed our skin thoroughly enough.

We asked cosmetic dermatologist, Dr Sam Bunting, who says that while we mustn’t underestimate the importance of a daily skincare routine, she’s “not a fan” of the double cleansing trend:

Water should be warm, but not hot [Photo: Pexels]

“It’s essential we remove make-up, sunscreen, sweat, oil and grime – all of these can clog pores, impede absorption of leave-on products (limiting their value) and may even trigger issues like impaired barrier function,” she explains.

But double cleansing? “I see women every day who complain of skin sensitivity and have dull, lackluster, bumpy skin through making poor product choices and doing too much to their skin.”

Bunting believes that the ritual has come about as a consequence of other beauty trends such as long-wear foundations – “which are often incredibly difficult to budge”.

Sometimes cleansing twice is one time too many [Photo: Pexels]

“Double cleansing frequently utilises a ‘big-picture’ oil-based cleanser to remove what is layered on the skin – typically cosmetics and sunscreen – and then a second cleanser to remove dead skin cells and other ‘micro’ matter, like particles of pollution that might cause problems like hyperpigmentation – so this is typically an exfoliating step.”

But regardless, she believes that one cleanse – “done properly” – is sufficient.

“I honestly believe that, for the vast majority of women, a gentle, non-clogging wash-off cleanser does the trick,” she advises.

Don’t do ‘too much’ to your skin [Photo: Pexels]

“Take your time, apply to damp skin, massage in plenty of product and give it a full minute.

“Then rinse clear with lots of tepid (not hot) water.”

Instead of using make up as a barrier to hide bad skin behind, she suggests focusing on improving your skin condition first – which will consequentially mean you’ll be wearing less product to wash off at the end of the day.

And avoid thinking that in order for your skin to be properly cleansed, it needs to be “squeaky clean”:

Perhaps it’s time to rethink your make up routine too [Photo: Pexels]

“The problem with multiple cleansing steps is that this disturbs skin barrier function – and this is not good. It’s important to realise that ‘squeaky clean’ skin means you’ve gone too far,” she warns.

“So my advice to patients – many of whom suffer from acne and rosacea, so are very dependent on cosmetics – is that if you need to double cleanse you need to re-examine your make up practices.”

For more information, check out Dr Sam Bunting’s YouTube channel Dr Sam in the City.

Do you think double cleansing is beneficial for your skin? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK.

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