6 Answers About Facial Cleansers(For Beginners)


How many bacteria are there on the human face?

The number of bacteria on the human face can vary widely from person to person and change throughout the day. The human skin is home to a diverse community of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms, collectively known as the skin microbiome. These microorganisms play a crucial role in maintaining skin health.

The human face is home to millions of bacteria, with estimates ranging from hundreds of thousands to one billion bacteria per square inch. Factors such as skin type, hygiene habits, environmental factors, and individual differences can influence the composition and quantity of bacteria on the skin.

Skin Microecology Profile

What bacteria are found on people’s faces?

The human skin, including the face, is home to various bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. The specific types and proportions of microorganisms can vary from person to person and can be influenced by factors such as genetics, environment, and hygiene practices. Here are some of the common types of bacteria found on people’s faces:

1. Staphylococcus epidermidis: This bacterium is a common resident of the skin and is typically harmless. It can help protect the skin from harmful pathogens by occupying space and resources on the skin’s surface.

2. Propionibacterium acnes: This bacterium is associated with acne and is often found in hair follicles and sebaceous glands. It can contribute to the development of acne when it proliferates excessively.

3. Staphylococcus aureus: While usually present in lower numbers on healthy skin, Staphylococcus aureus can become problematic when it overgrows and may cause skin infections or other health issues.

4. Corynebacterium: Various species of Corynebacterium are found on the skin and are generally harmless. They are part of the skin’s natural microbiota.

5. Micrococcus: These bacteria are commonly found on the skin’s surface and are usually harmless.

6. Malassezia: This type of yeast is part of the normal skin flora. It can sometimes be associated with skin conditions like dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.

It’s important to note that the presence of these microorganisms is generally considered normal and can contribute to overall skin health. However, imbalances or changes in the skin microbiome can lead to skin conditions or issues.

Can facial cleansers kill bacteria on the face?

A cartoon woman makes a lot of foam when she washes her face.

Facial cleansers can help remove excess oil, dirt, sweat, and makeup from your skin, which can reduce the amount of bacteria on your face. However, most regular facial cleansers are not specifically designed to kill bacteria. They mainly work by washing away substances on the skin that bacteria feed on.

Some facial cleansers are formulated to maintain the skin’s natural pH balance. A balanced pH can create an environment less favorable for harmful bacteria growth while supporting beneficial bacteria growth.

However, it’s important to note that facial cleansers are not designed to sterilize the skin or eliminate all bacteria, nor would it be advisable to do so. The skin has a diverse microbiome that includes both beneficial and harmless bacteria, and disrupting this balance can lead to skin issues.

Antibacterial soaps and cleansers do exist and these can kill bacteria, but they are usually not necessary for most people and can even be harmful if used excessively. Overusing harsh or antibacterial cleansers can strip the skin of its natural oils and disrupt the skin microbiome, potentially leading to dryness, irritation, and imbalances.

Can facial cleanser remove mascara

Eyelash sticking principle

Mascara is a cosmetic product designed to enhance the eyelashes. It works by coating the lashes to make them appear longer, thicker, and darker. The ability of mascara to stick to the eyelashes and stay on throughout the day is due to its specific formulation and the physical interactions between the mascara and the eyelashes.

The main ingredients of mascara are wax, oil, polymer, pigment, etc.

When you apply mascara with the wand, you’re essentially brushing a suspension of waxes, oils, and pigments onto your lashes. The brush helps to separate the lashes and ensure that each one gets coated with the product. As the mascara dries, the waxes and polymers harden, and the oils prevent the product from becoming too brittle. This results in a flexible coating that adheres to your lashes until you decide to remove it.

It’s important to note that while the mascara is designed to stick to your lashes, it’s not permanent and can be removed with makeup remover or cleanser. This is because the way mascara forms with lashes is physical, not chemically, and can be broken down by oils or surfactants.

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Can facial cleanser remove mascara?

Certain types of facial cleansers can effectively remove mascara, but it largely depends on the type of mascara and the specific ingredients in the cleanser.

Mascara comes in different forms, including washable (regular) and waterproof versions. Washable mascara is designed to be easily removed with warm water and gentle cleansing. Waterproof mascara, on the other hand, is specifically formulated to resist water and smudging, which makes it more challenging to remove.

Facial cleansers also vary in their formulation. Some are water-based, while others are oil-based or contain surfactants.

Water-based cleansers can effectively remove washable mascara. They work by mixing with the mascara, breaking down the bonds between the mascara and your lashes, and allowing it to be rinsed away. However, they may not be as effective at removing waterproof mascara, which is designed to resist water.

Oil-based cleansers, on the other hand, can be very effective at removing both washable and waterproof mascara. Oils can dissolve the waxes and oils in the mascara, breaking it down so it can be easily wiped or rinsed away. This is why many makeup removers are oil-based.

Cleansers that contain surfactants (surface active agents) can also be effective at removing mascara. Surfactants work by reducing the surface tension between the mascara and your lashes, allowing the mascara to be washed away. They can be found in both water-based and oil-based cleansers.

When using a facial cleanser to remove mascara, it’s important to be gentle to avoid irritating your eyes or damaging your lashes. Apply the cleanser to a cotton pad or use your fingertips to gently massage it over your lashes. Then rinse with warm water or wipe away with a soft cloth.

However, if a facial cleanser alone doesn’t completely remove your mascara, especially if it’s waterproof, you may need to use a dedicated eye makeup remover or an oil-based cleanser. Always follow up with a gentle rinse and pat your face dry.

Remember, leaving mascara on your lashes overnight can lead to lash breakage and potential eye irritation, so it’s important to remove it before going to bed.

Does facial cleanser remove acne?

Facial cleansers can help manage acne by removing excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells that can clog pores and lead to breakouts. However, a cleanser alone may not be enough to completely clear up acne, especially if it’s moderate to severe.

Acne is often caused by a combination of factors, including overactive oil glands, hormones, and bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes). Therefore, a comprehensive skincare routine and, in some cases, medication may be necessary to effectively treat acne.

If you’re dealing with acne, it’s important to choose a cleanser that’s suitable for your skin type and doesn’t overly dry or irritate your skin. Non-comedogenic products, which don’t clog pores, are generally recommended.

Does facial cleanser remove blackheads

Causes of blackheads

Blackheads, also known as open comedones, are a type of acne lesion that occurs when hair follicles become clogged with a combination of excess sebum (skin oil) and dead skin cells. Here are the key factors that contribute to the formation of blackheads:

1. Excess Sebum Production: Sebaceous glands in the skin produce an oily substance called sebum. When these glands produce too much sebum, it can mix with dead skin cells and become sticky, creating a plug in the hair follicle.

2. Dead Skin Cell Accumulation: The outer layer of our skin sheds dead skin cells regularly. In some cases, these cells don’t shed properly and can accumulate in the hair follicles. When these dead skin cells mix with sebum, they can contribute to clogged pores.

3. Bacterial Activity: The presence of bacteria on the skin, particularly Propionibacterium acnes, can contribute to the development of blackheads. These bacteria feed on sebum and create an environment where inflammation and clogged pores can occur.

4. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during puberty, menstrual cycles, and pregnancy, can increase sebum production, making individuals more susceptible to blackheads and acne in general.

5. Cosmetics and Skincare Products: The use of certain cosmetics or skincare products that are heavy or comedogenic (tend to clog pores) can contribute to the formation of blackheads, especially if they are not properly removed during cleansing.

There was a lot of oil and the nose was covered with blackheads.

Can facial cleanser remove blackheads?

A good facial cleanser can help in the removal and prevention of blackheads. Cleansers that contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or benzoyl peroxide can be particularly effective as these ingredients help to unclog pores, remove excess oil, and exfoliate dead skin cells.

However, it’s important to note that a cleanser alone may not completely get rid of blackheads, especially if they are deep or severe.  Additional professional treatments may also be needed, and these professional treatments must be performed in professional medical institutions.

Exfoliation, for instance, can help remove the layer of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, reducing the likelihood of them clogging your pores. Facial steaming can help open up your pores, making it easier to remove the blackheads. Pore strips can physically remove blackheads, and professional extraction performed by a dermatologist or a trained esthetician can be an effective way to remove stubborn blackheads.

It’s important to note, however, that over-cleansing or scrubbing your face too hard can irritate the skin and stimulate more oil production, which can lead to more blackheads. Therefore, it’s crucial to use a gentle hand when cleansing and to not overdo it.

Does facial cleanser expire

Yes, facial cleansers do expire. Most skincare products, including facial cleansers, have a shelf life and can go bad over time.

While these products don’t typically “expire” in the way that food does, their effectiveness and safety can be compromised over time.

To judge whether a facial cleanser is bad, you need to distinguish between the expiration date and the period after opening.

Expiration date

The expiration date of most facial cleansers is about 3 years. Skin care product companies will mark the expiration date or use date on the product packaging.

For example, the Paula’s Choice facial cleanser below is valid until July 31, 2025.

Period After Opening

The period after opening refers to the period after the first use of a facial cleanser that you can continue to use.

Under normal circumstances, the period after opening will be marked on the packaging after opening the lid. As shown below, an open lid and the corresponding number represent the months. This marking can be found on the packaging of most international brands.

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The period after opening is generally much shorter than the expiration date because the cleanser greatly increases the likelihood of contact with air and bacteria after use.

Is an expired facial wash safe to use?

Using expired facial wash or any skincare product is generally not recommended. While it may not always cause harm, there are several potential risks associated with using expired products.

1. Loss of Effectiveness: Over time, the active ingredients in skincare products can break down and become less effective. This means that an expired facial wash may not cleanse your skin as effectively as it should, leaving behind dirt, oil, and makeup.

2. Bacterial Growth: Skincare products contain preservatives that help prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. However, these preservatives can break down over time, especially once the product has been opened. This can allow bacteria and fungi to grow in the product, which could potentially lead to skin infections or irritations.

3. Changes in pH: The pH of skincare products can change over time, which can affect their effectiveness and potentially irritate the skin.

4. Skin Irritation: Expired products can sometimes change color, texture, or smell, and these changes can indicate that the product is no longer safe to use. Using such products can lead to skin irritation, rashes, or allergic reactions.

5. While these risks are generally low, they can be higher for people with sensitive skin or skin conditions like eczema or rosacea. Therefore, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and avoid using expired skincare products.

In conclusion, while an expired facial wash might not necessarily be harmful, it’s best to use products that are within their shelf life to ensure they’re effective and safe for your skin.

What should I do if I can’t bear to throw away expired facial cleanser?

If you find it difficult to throw away expired facial cleansers, there are a few options you might consider. However, it’s important to remember that using expired facial cleanser on your face is not recommended due to potential skin irritation, ineffectiveness, and bacterial contamination. Here are some alternatives:

1. Repurpose: You can repurpose the expired facial cleanser for cleaning makeup brushes or sponges. These tools don’t require the same level of care as your skin, and using the cleanser this way can help ensure they’re clean and free of old makeup.

2. Use on Other Body Parts: If your skin isn’t generally sensitive, you might consider using the expired cleanser on less sensitive areas of your body, such as your feet or elbows. However, avoid using it on broken or irritated skin.

3. Recycle: If you can’t find a use for the expired cleanser, consider recycling the container. Many skincare brands use recyclable packaging, and some even have return programs for their containers.

4. Learn from It: If you often find yourself with expired products, it might be a sign that you’re buying more than you can use. In the future, consider buying smaller sizes, or only buying new products when you’ve finished the old ones.

5. Donate: If the product is unopened and only slightly past its expiration date, some organizations may accept it for donation. However, always check with the organization first, as guidelines can vary.