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Dermatologists speak up: the truth about cleansing wipes

Cleansing wipes seem extremely useful, particularly for removing makeup and cleansing the face quickly, but they may be stripping your face of vital oils, while leaving a film of chemical on your skin. 

Having a wet, cleansing towelette in your handbag or bathroom is convenient, since plain water alone will not get rid of most make-up; having a little help from a cleansing wipe can be a fast, effective, inexpensive way of removing makeup anywhere. No more cotton wool, no creams, no foam and no water. But, it’s coming at a cost.

While sales of cleansing wipes increase, Melbourne dermatologist Dr Michael Rich is warning that our makeup wipes may be contributing to wrinkles, pimples and skin damage. The suspicion that some dermatologists have is that wipes aren’t actually very effective at cleaning the skin, but instead smear grime across it and leave a film of chemical on your skin. Wiping skin may be an issue, but so could the liquids the wipes are bathed in, dermatologists warn.

Removing eye makeup with wipes – why it’s a possible issue for skin
Eye makeup can be notoriously stubborn, mascara particularly, but some eyeshadows are very hard to get off. This means you are using more force on your skin, which can stretch out and damage the skin around your eyes. Dragging skin around is doing more damage, and while cream cleansers and cotton puffs may seem like more hard work, gentle techniques mean less damage.

Next time you use your wipes think about your technique, and when you’re shopping for wipes, opt for specially formulated eye-only wipes. The cloth and ingredients will likely be gentler. Additionally, you can leave the pad on for a few seconds longer to dissolve the makeup before smoothly wiping without stretching skin.

If you are struggling to find a good brand, a dermatologist can recommend proper cleansing products for you. Our Melbourne clinic has dermatologist Dr Rich’s own developments available.

Wipe ingredients – what’s actually in them? A dermatologist explains
Wipes can include detergents that are put into the product expressly to dissolve makeup. You know how hard makeup is to get off without water? It’s the same idea as for your dishes and clothes – detergents break up oils, but this could come at a cost to your skin. Breaking down the oily barrier that protects your skin can be a dangerous game. It might feel clean, but actually you could be leaving your face closer to the elements than ever.

Ingredients in wipes can be harsh and irritating, and because you don’t rinse the wipe residue off, the chemicals are left on your skin. You might end up with red, tight, dry skin that is prone to irritation.

Another common ingredient in wipes is alcohol, which is notoriously drying to skin. It’s great at getting tough makeup off, but this is precisely why it’s bad for your skin.

Do wipes even clean your skin properly?
Some wipes aren’t that effective at cleansing your skin, making anything you put on afterwards (like pricey moisturisers) less effective at best, but a waste of time at worst. This film can also contribute to pimples. You may end up with a barrier layer of dirt and dead skin cells. Nothing cleanses as well as a proper dermatologist-approved cleanser, particularly if you have problem skin.

If you suffer from acne or other problems (eczema, rosacea), don’t use wipes very often, if ever. Anyone who is allergy prone should also avoid wipes, because they are full of preservatives, fragrance, and chemicals.

Need a good dermatologist?
Our Melbourne clinic has several.
Contact us

2018-05-15T09:02:29+00:00

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