Facial Cleansers: Can You Really Strip the Skin of Moisture?

You have to be really careful when you read marketing materials for skincare products. As just one example, consider a natural facial cleanser marketed as a solution for deep cleaning the skin without stripping away natural moisture. It all sounds good, but there is an underlying question that needs to be answered: can you really strip the skin of moisture?

Before answering, let us discuss why the answer so important. When it comes to buying products at retail, you and I are motivated to make decisions based on what we believe those products will do. As such, we have to rely on manufacturer claims. Untrue claims may be just the result of ignorance. But they also might be purposeful deception. Either way, how can we trust a product if we cannot trust the manufacturer’s claims?

The fact is that words mean things. If a skincare manufacturer claims that its product can prevent stripping the skin of moisture, that means something to consumers. So now those consumers need to know if the claim is accurate. So let’s get to it.

How the Skin Is Moisturized

Did you know that the absolute best thing you can do to maintain a healthy level of moisture in the skin is to drink plenty of water? It’s true. You see, the skin is not moisturized externally. It is moisturized internally. Let’s stop and think about this from a physiological perspective.

Have you ever wondered why your internal organs do not get soaking wet while you shower or swim? Why is it that your muscles and tendons stay dry when you are standing in the pouring rain? It’s all due to the sebaceous glands, glands that produce a natural oil that lubricates and protects your skin. Your skin is essentially waterproof because of that oil. Therefore, it is not possible for your skin to be externally moisturized.

The water you drink serves a lot of purposes, among them being skin moisturizing. Your skin gets water from its internal systems. Moreover, the same oil that keeps water out also keeps water in. That’s why people with oily skin do not simultaneously experience dry skin. The oil on their skin locks moisture in.

So the first lesson here is this: a natural facial cleanser does not prevent you from stripping your skin of moisture. You cannot strip your skin of moisture because the moisture is internal.

Why We Use Moisturizer

The second lesson is made clear when you understand why we use moisturizer. Let’s say you use a plant-based facial cleanser at the end of the day. While that cleanser will not strip away all the sebum (natural oil produced by the sebaceous glands), it will remove some of it. The point of using moisturizer is to make up for whatever amount of oil was removed.

The moisturizer helps to lock in moisture while your body makes more sebum. The combination of moisturizer and sebum protect the skin, keep it lubricated, and lock-in that much coveted moisture.

By the way, a plant based facial cleanser is less effective at stripping away sebum than harsh, chemical products. That’s why all-natural skincare companies like Massachusetts-based Poéthique recommend staying away from chemical skincare products. A natural facial cleanser leaves more sebum intact. That is actually a good thing, as this article has explained.

Rest easy in the knowledge that you cannot strip your skin of moisture. By the same token though, understand that you can strip your skin of sebum. Without enough sebum, your skin will dehydrate. What’s the solution? A natural facial cleanser and complementary moisturizer.