Which is Better for You- Oil-Based or Water-Based Cleansers?

You've internalized one of the fundamental truths of good skin since your first teen breakout: how you clean your skin matters.

Seema Rai
Seema Rai

Overdoing cleansing and cleansers, it will strip your skin of natural oils, leaving your face dry, sensitive, and possibly even greasier as your skin begins to overproduce oil to compensate. On the other hand, not cleansing your skin thoroughly enough can allow acne-causing gunk to accumulate in your pores.

What Is the Difference Between Cleansers?

Cleaners that are based on water

Water-based cleansers — think foaming washes, exfoliating lathers or hydrating creams — work by rinsing away particles from the outermost layer of skin.

Water-soluble particles, such as dirt and pollution, emulsify in the surfactant lather and wash off the skin. This, however, removes the natural oils, so water-based cleansers are preferable for oily or acne-prone skin.
Water cleansers are simply soap that has been specially formulated for your skin. Also read Is Natural Deodorant Actually Better for Your Health?

Cleansers of this type range from harsh to gentle. Water-based products, on the other hand, can contain sulfates, which are considered the big guns of facial cleansing. While they are powerful, they can easily cross the line into being too annoying.

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Micellar water

Micellar water, on the other hand, is a kinder water-based cleanser. It is a non-lathering emulsion that collects dirt, bacteria, and makeup on the skin and gently removes it without drying it out.

Cleaner based on oil

Using an oil to degrease your skin at the end of the day seems counterintuitive. After all, you’re attempting to remove excess oil. Oil cleansers work on the premise that oil attracts oil.

Oil cleansers dissolve make-up and sebum while lifting impurities and allowing you to wipe them away. Oil-based cleansers are also gentler on the skin because they leave the natural oil layer on top of the skin, causing minimal irritation in sensitive and rosacea-prone skin.

However, just because oil-based formulas are gentle does not mean they are not effective cleaners. Because oil-based cleansers are excellent at removing makeup, if you wear foundation or heavy makeup, using an oil-based cleanser can help you get the best clean. Also read What Exactly Is “Skin Cycling,” and Should You Try It?

What is the best cleanser for your skin?

Choosing between different types of cleansers is heavily influenced by your skin type.
Start with a water-based cleanser if you have acne-prone skin. If you are extremely oily or can’t seem to control breakouts, you may require a stronger surfactant.
To wash with a water-based cleanser, wet your skin first, then massage one to two pumps of foaming cleanser or a small dollop of cream cleanser over your face with your fingers. To prevent your skin from drying out, rinse it off and apply a non-comedogenic (aka non-pore clogging) moisturizer.

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