How To

How To Choose The Best skin Cleanser For Your Skin Type


Last month we took a closer look at building your perfect skincare regime so let’s take a closer look at how to choose the best skin cleanser for your skin type.

We most probably spend a lot of time researching which moisturiser, eye cream or antiaging serum we should use on our skins but choosing the correct cleanser is a vital step in your skincare regime. There are numerous benefits to cleansing our skin, but this is dependent on choosing the correct facial cleanser and using it correctly.

We can view our cleanser benefits as the three R’s:


Throughout the day and as we sleep our skin tends to collect dirt, bacteria, environmental pollutants, and even dead skin cells that are constantly being shed. These over time lead to changing our natural pH balance, clogging up of pores, increasing sebum production and leading to a sallow skin complexion.

Using a facial cleanser twice daily will help to remove dirt, excess sebum, unwanted dead skin cells, and provide a degree of protection against free radical damage.


When we use the correct facial cleanser for our skin types we will actually reap the benefit of increased skin hydration. Cleansers will normalise our pH levels which in turn maintains the health of the vital outer skin barrier. the skin barrier is the important outer skin mantle that regulates moisture intake and helps to prevent its loss. In turn this will also help maintain our skin pores and help reduce their size and appearance.


Environmental assaults through free radical damage (pollution) and visible light from screens, monitors and TV’s all pay a role in ageing the skin. Cleansers contain antioxidants that will start the process of removing these free radicals.

Following the above it is vital to choose the correct facial cleanser, and this is very simply achieved by using one specific for your skin type:

Normal to Combination Skin:

Here I would recommend an exfoliating skin wash that contains alphahydroxy or betahydroxy acids. Considering your skin type the concentration of the acids do not have to be high so look for a 5% glycolic acid or a 2% salicylic acid concentration.

Oily to Acne Skin:

Here we want to choose a facial cleanser that not only exfoliates but also has the ability to clean deep within pores, reduce sebum production, and remove unwanted bacteria and porphyrins. Exfoliating cleansers with higher glycolic acid and salicylic acid concentrations should be used. It is vital to choose a cleanser that does not strip or overly dry your skin and even if you are tempted do not cleanse the skin more than twice daily. Overcleaning will damage the skin barrier and this will lead to rebound sebum production, breakouts and blockage of pores.

Sensitive and Dry Skin:

If we suffer from either sensitive or dry skin it is best to consider cream cleansers that not only gently cleanse the skin but also hydrate the skin at the same time. These cleansers have been formulated specifically to not overly strip the skin barrier or to dehydrate. Furthermore, these cleansers typically do not foam when added with water and feel more like a moisturiser when applied to the skin.

Quick Breakdown


Use your cleanser only twice daily.


Choose the correct cleanser for your skin type.


Oily and acne skin need a cleanser that cleans deep within the pores.


Dry and sensitive skin need creamy cleansers that calm, soothe and hydrate.


Normal and combination skin need a mildly exfoliating cleanser.



Cleansers are responsible for the three R’s: Remove, Replenish, and Rejuvenate.

I hope that I have given you some insight in how to choose the best facial cleanser for your skin type. For an in depth look at different skin types please follow this link: Skin Types or for more information on how to build the perfect skin regime follow this link: perfect skin regime

Yours in skin

Dr Alek Nikolic

About Dr Alek Nikolic

Dr Alek Nikolic was born in South Africa and received his MBBCh (Wits) in 1992 and in 2000 he received his MBA (UCT). He has been in private practice for 20 years and is the owner of Aesthetic Facial Enhancement, which has offices in Cape Town. Dr Nikolic specialises in aesthetic medicine and is at the forefront of the latest developments in his field. He is very driven and has lectured extensively lecturing and done live demonstrations throughout South Africa and abroad. Dr Nikolic’s focus is on skin care and skin ingredients and cosmetic dermatology treatments. He has performed over 20 000 procedures to date and as such is responsible for training numerous medical practitioners both in South Africa and internationally. Dr Nikolic is one of the founding members of the South African Allergan Medical Aesthetic Academy and chaired its inaugural launch in 2012. The Allergan Academy provides essential training to keep up with the latest technology in aesthetics. Dr Nikolic holds the advisory position of Allergan Local Country Mentor in Facial Aesthetics and is the Allergan Advanced Botox and Dermal Filler Trainer. He is chairman of the Western Cape Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Medicine Society of South Africa and of the Western Cape Aesthetic Review group.

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