Christine Varney, regional training manager for Clinique, toured Robinson's stores recently to explain current thinking about the importance of washing your face with soap and water. Here are some of the questions she answered for consumers:
Question: If Clinique believes in soap and water, why does the firm still make cleansing creams and alternatives to soap?
Answer: Cleansing oil and cleansing cream should be used as solvents to remove makeup.
Q: In other words, you're recommending that women remove makeup with either the cleansing oil or cream and then follow with the more complete action of soap and water?
A: Yes. Most dermatologists recommend soap for cleansing the skin. Cleansing cream is not a complete cleanser in and of itself. Basically, it's there to dissolve makeup, whereas soap is designed to clean away soil and surface oils from the skin.
Q: Many women think that if they use a cleansing cream or oil and then follow it with an astringent or some sort of skin freshener, there is no need for soap. Are you saying that a cream or oil, followed by astringent, does not cleanse the skin?
A: Dermatologists feel that soap is the best cleanser for truly clean skin, and we agree that women should use a good soap.
Q: Why do you believe that your soaps are better than others?
A: Ours are clinically formulated by dermatologists for use on their patients. What is not in the soap is more important than what is in the soap. What is not in our soap is fragrance. No perfume at all. That makes the product safe for someone with sensitive skin. Our products are hard milled, which is a manufacturing process. With hard-milled soap, there is no air to bloat the soap, and there are no wax fillers. The benefit to the customer is that it lasts longer--an average of six months. A second benefit is that the skin rinses clean because the hard-milling process removes byproducts that were necessary to formulate the soap but are not necessary in the final product. This leaves a purer product.
Q: Many women with mature skin or very dry skin think that a cleansing cream or lotion is more beneficial and leaves their skin looking softer and smoother than soap does. Is this correct?
A: The first thing to keep in mind is that older skin need not be babied. The key to good skin at any age is thorough cleansing with the right soap followed by exfoliation. Mature skin especially needs exfoliation, and that is what brings the most visible rewards.
Q: What is exfoliation?
A: Simply removing dead cells from skin.
Q: How does one do that?
A: We recommend use of clarifying lotions after the soap. The soap removes the soil or oil; the clarifying lotion removes the dead cells.
Q: Don't clarifying lotions contain alcohol, which might be bad for the skin?
A: If the lotion has the right type of alcohol in the right formulation, then alcohol is not bad for the skin.