How to choose the right facial cleanser

Facial cleansing has become more than just a practice of hygiene. It has become a relaxing ritual for many people with the goal to improve health and appearance.

Why do we cleanse?

Many of the pollution and cosmetic products are not water-soluble so water is not enough. Ingredients in cleansers are capable of turning fat soluble impurities to water soluble. Facial cleansers have substances that are active on the skin’s surface that lifts and removes dirt, sebum, oil from cosmetic products, bacteria, and dead skin cells. In contrast, a good cleanser should also keep the skin surface hydrated to prevent skin barrier damage.

What happens if we stop cleansing?

Our pores will become clogged which may turn to serious acne. Without cleansing, our face will look greasy and aged. Some people may not experience it at the moment, however, inadequate attention can result to cumulative long-term effects.

Skin care products are ubiquitous and most of them advertise promising results. While there is plenty to choose from, there is no denying that choosing the right product for your skin type has become a difficult conundrum especially that not only our skin, but also our budget is on the line.

Do you know?
In order for the skin surface to maintain a healthy barrier, it has to maintain a physiological pH of 4-6.5. The naturally acidic environment protects the skin from harmful bacteria invasion such as Propionibacterium acnes.

How to spot a harsh cleanser?

  1. “Squeaky-clean feeling” or sensation of tightness after wash. This happens because of TEWL (trans epidermal water loss) which is the rapid evaporation of water from the skin surface. This can eventually lead to dryness, scaling, and/or flaking skin.
  2. Irritation as evidenced by redness and itching after use of cleanser – an indicator of damaged skin barrier.
  3. Cleansers with fragrance, dyes, and preservatives can cause allergic contact dermatitis
  4. Cleansers that are not easily rinsed – the potential for a product to cause irritation is if the residual cleansing agent is left on the skin for a long period of time.

How to choose a cleanser?

  1. Know your current skin concerns. While there are different skin types (dry, oily, sensitive, combination), I would like to keep it simple and broke it down into two:
    1. Acne-prone skin a.k.a. oily skin – keep routine simple, use medicated cleansers with salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that deeply penetrates into the pores of skin. It is a potent ingredient that targets clogged pores by dissolving “glued” skin debris. But be warned. Salicylic acid can cause side effects such as redness, irritation, and dryness. According to studies, experiencing these side effects is a common reason for noncompliance. It is recommended to start with the lowest potency (2%).
    2. Sensitive skin – avoid irritants or ingredients that are known to cause sensitization in the skin: fragrances (natural in the form of essential oils or synthetic) and dyes are often sensitizing substances.
  2. Whatever your skin type is, choose a simple cleanser that:
    1. Targets clogged pores.
    2. Reduces oil production.
    3. Keeps the skin hydrated – read product ingredient list and be on the look out for: sodium hyaluronate (also known as hyaluronic acid), glycerin, dimethicone. These substances help to retain moisture after cleansing.
    4. Does not irritate the skin.

Please share your favorite cleansers on the comment section down below and which product helped with your skin troubles.

Send me an email at for feedbacks, suggestions, and queries.


To everyone reading my blog posts:

I do appreciate the fact that strangers from different parts of the world take time to read my posts. I am truly grateful.

And to several few people subscribed, I am indebted.

And because of that I would like to let everyone know that I am turning my site from a personal blog to a skin care site.

Cosmetic science/skin care has become my passion and I intensely grew a liking on it.

It’s baffling to know that there are so many people out there needing transparent information about skin care products and I am holding that as my lifetime mission.

I am neither a dermatologist nor a licensed esthetician. However, this is something I am immensely passionate about as I have been through the same skin troubles just like some of us have.

We have plentiful of information that may either help us or misguide us and there’s got to be someone who is willing to deliver transparency to consumers to aid them with making an informed decision of their purchases.

If you have made it this far, again, thank you.

Please stay tuned.

My journey with acne

Warning: This blog contains sensitive photos. Read at your own risk.

I’ve been dealing with acne since after high school. Sad to say but it still haunts me up to this day. Having acne on my teenage years did not really bother me that much however I do remember people from the past give me tips on how to clear it up. There were girls my age back then that started using makeup likely because they wanted to cover any acne scarring. At that time, I hated using makeup. I thought I will just let it run through it’s course since I was still a teen.

My self esteem hit an all time low by the time I was on my early 20’s. More people were butting in. I thought, if it does not bother me, maybe the sight of me bothers them. I started using Proactiv and it seemed to have worked for a few months. The product did give me irritation so I stopped using it. I was back to nothing.

January 2015. I just passed my NCLEX-RN. Before that I was very stressed from all the studying and family problems. I still did not use makeup. When I saw this picture today, I just said OMG.

I did not research to make my face look better. Although I remember applying a BB cream, which was from Korea, to my face and that was all I had to put whenever I needed to go out.

January 2016. Looking a lot better. Still without makeup. I was also dating my then boyfriend, now husband, on this period.

I was feeling a little better with my face but I did have bad relapses.

April 2016, one month after my wedding. Some acne scars on the jaw and cheeks. New acne on the forehead.

And let’s say my best appearance was when I was pregnant to my first child. How ironical.

Pretty confident in here as you can tell. My pores were smaller, face was brighter, lesser acne.

I did not have any special routine at that time. I may thank my pregnancy hormones though because I stayed radiant for the whole period of my pregnancy until 5 months postpartum.

No makeup and acne free for the first time in my life. I guess you can say this was one of my happiest moments. I am sure stress is a big part of acne.

Sure enough, my confidence was short lived. Before my son turned one, more acne showed up unwanted. That’s when I started to use a cleanser and make-up.

I used the Shiseido Pureness Deep Cleansing Foam as well as the Shiseido Pureness Oil-free moisturizer. My skin did pretty good with just these products along with minimal make-up to cover the acne scars.

I started to spend more money than ever to buy make-up. I was not obsessed with it but I did enjoy trying out different brands other than Laura Mercier such as NARS, Bare Minerals, and Too Faced. Because of that, I probably did more damage even though I was cleansing and moisturizing my face. My acne got worse late 2018 until early 2019.

January 2019. My worst nightmare.

I was in deep distress. I was emotional, panicking, depressed, and moody because of my appearance. I was lost. I was using countless different products every week. I tapped into Korean products such as Laneige, Sulwhasoo, Dr. Jart as well as hyped skin care solutions like Drunk Elephant and Fresh Beauty. I felt like my money was flying away.

I turned into YouTube and searched for creators that provide educational insights about my huge dilemma. I found Liah Yoo, founder of Krave Beauty, and Dr. Dray, a dermatologist and followed most of their tips.

April 2019. Convinced that I could do without makeup, I tried a Korean BB cushion to cover my scars. I also used Differin as recommended by Dr. Dray.
Differin at night, sunscreen and BB cream by day.

As stubborn as I was, I finally let go of control, and set up an appointment with a dermatologist in my area. He gave me antibiotics to take every day and a topical gel to apply before I go to sleep.

I did that religiously and I was starting to see good results. He did mention that it’s going to be worse before it becomes better. But how, I asked. He said that acne is deep under the skin and the topical gel will help bring the acne to the surface. Until the acne’s clear, we can take care of the hyperpigmentation. He advised that I need to be stubbornly persistent with the routine he mentioned. It sounded promising.

July 2019.

I am glad I sought for professional advice to help me with my long-time problem. Although I still have acne here and there, I try to remind myself of his tips until it all becomes better. For lack of better word, just don’t give up easily.

Currently, I do the following skin care routine.

Night time:

  1. Cleanse face with HADA LABO Goku-jyun Super Hyaluronic Face Wash. Rinse and pat face dry.
  2. Apply Fresh Rose Floral Toner to face and neck.
  3. (Optional) Let toner sink into face and neck and follow with Sulwhasoo First Care Activating serum.
  4. Put on CeraVe Moisturizing Cream evenly to face and neck. The toner and the serum helps my face extra moisturized. Let the cream sit for 20 minutes.
  5. Using a pea-sized product, apply Adapalene/Benzoyl Peroxide medication all over the face especially on areas of concern.


  1. (Optional) Cleanse face with Laroche Possay Salycylic Acid Gel Cleanser. Rinse, pat dry.
  2. Apply Neutrogena Oil Free Moisturizer with SPF liberally unto face and neck.
  3. Put on minimal make up after letting sunscreen sit in the face for approximately 10 minutes.

I hope this helps, please let me know if you have comments or feedbacks. Send me an e-mail at or go to my Instagram page 🙂

P.S. I am still on the quest to hunt minimal, affordable, and effective skin care products.

Products I mentioned.