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  • Writer's pictureDr. Leslie Baumann

How to Recommend Cleansers to Your Patients

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

Cleansers play a major role in your patients’ skin care regimens, as they are responsible for a wide range of actions, including changing the skin’s pH, removing excess lipids, depositing lipids onto the skin, accelerating the desquamation process, and affecting the absorption rate of subsequent products. For this reason, recommending the most effective cleanser to your patients can have a large impact on the effectiveness of their prescribed skin care routine and therefore help them see optimal results.

Ideally, you will first assess your patients’ Baumann Skin Type to determine the best course of action when recommending cleansers and other topical medications and products. One his or her skin type has been determined, choose cleansers for patients keeping these guidelines in mind.

Cleansers for Oily vs. Dry Skin

Many patients have trouble assessing oily vs. dry skin on their own. Therefore, it is extremely helpful to administer the validated Baumann Skin Type Questionnaire before providing skin care advice. Not only does this system help to save you time when creating a customized skin care regimen for your patients, but it also helps to educate your patients about the unique characteristics of their skin and how to best care for it.

For patients who have oily skin types, foaming cleansers can help to remove excess lipids from the surface of their skin, as well as decrease barrier function and increase the permeability of subsequent topical ingredients. If an oily skin type is also struggling with acne, try recommending a salicylic acid cleanser in the morning to help clear pores and reduce inflammation, and a foaming cleanser in the evening. Some patients may find that using salicylic acid twice daily is too drying, even for oily skin types.

Dry skin types should avoid using both foaming cleansers and salicylic acid, as these can cause even more dryness. Instead, recommend a creamy cleanser to help seal moisture into the skin. If your patient has dry, acne-prone skin, recommend using a glycolic acid cleanser. A type of alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid has humectant properties, so it is able to draw and hold moisture into the skin, as well as lower the skin’s pH in order to create an inhospitable environment for the bacteria that causes acne.

Cleansers for Aging Skin

Alpha hydroxy acid cleansers are also appropriate to recommend to patients looking to diminish lines and wrinkles and achieve an overall more youthful and vibrant complexion. By loosening the attachments between cells, AHAs allow old skin cells to flake off so that new, healthier-looking cells can take their place.

Retinoids are another excellent skin care ingredient to recommend to patients with wrinkle-prone skin. However, alpha hydroxy acids inactivate retinoids, so these two ingredients should never be paired together. To avoid this, you can recommend an AHA cleanser in the morning and a foaming or moisturizing cleanser (dependent on your patient’s skin type) at night in conjunction with the retinoid.

Cleansers for Rosacea

Rosacea is a subtype of sensitive skin and is most often characterized by red flushing of the skin. If a patient has trouble washing his or her face without becoming red, recommend that he or she skip cleansing in the morning. However, everyone should be given guidelines to wash their face in the evening before going to bed to remove sunscreen, makeup, dirt, and other debris from the surface. For rosacea patients, choose a gentle cleanser with anti-inflammatory ingredients to help with redness. These include green tea, argan oil, feverfew, aloe, and chamomile.

All rosacea patients should also be instructed to avoid abrasive bath loofahs, washcloths, and cleansing scrubs, as well as chemical exfoliants.

In Summary

Patients often have a difficult time choosing the right skin care products for their skin, especially with the growing number of options available to them. Whether or not you sell skin care in your practice, providing patients with detailed guidelines explaining both which products and ingredients to look for and how to use them is a crucial step in keep in them on board with their prescribed regimen. With the right cleanser, patients can see enhanced effects from other topical medications and, ultimately, enhanced outcomes.

For more skin care advice, connect with me (Leslie Baumann) on LinkedIn, where I post more informative articles.


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