Creamy Facial Cleansers vs. Lather Cleansers: Which is Better for Your Skin?

Learn why surfactants can irritate thin and sensitive skin


 By Womaness Editors     3-Minute Read

Why surfactants can irritate thin and sensitive skin

When it comes to facial cleansers, two popular options are creamy cleansers and lathering cleansers. Both have their advantages, but understanding the benefits of a creamy facial cleanser can help you make an informed decision for your skincare routine.

1. Gentle and Nourishing

A creamy facial cleanser is typically formulated with moisturizing ingredients like oils or butters. These ingredients help to hydrate and nourish the skin while cleansing, making it a great choice for those with dry or sensitive skin. The creamy texture also provides a gentle cleansing experience without stripping away natural oils. 

2. Effective Makeup Removal

The rich and emollient nature of a creamy cleanser allows it to effectively remove makeup, including stubborn products like waterproof mascara or long-lasting foundation. The creamy texture helps to dissolve and lift away makeup without the need for harsh scrubbing, minimizing the risk of irritation or redness.

3. Soothing and Calming

If you have skin that is easily irritated or prone to redness, a creamy facial cleanser can provide a soothing and calming effect. The smooth texture and moisturizing properties help to reduce inflammation and redness, leaving your skin feeling refreshed and balanced after cleansing.

4. Retains Skin's Moisture

Unlike lathering cleansers that can leave the skin feeling dry and tight, creamy cleansers help maintain the skin's natural moisture balance. The creamy texture creates a protective barrier on the skin, preventing excessive moisture loss and leaving your complexion soft and supple.

5. Suitable for All Skin Types

While creamy cleansers are particularly beneficial for dry or sensitive skin, they are also suitable for all skin types. The gentle and nourishing formula can be used by those with normal, combination, or oily skin to cleanse without causing excess dryness or oiliness.

6. Adds a Luxurious Feel to Your Routine

Using a creamy facial cleanser can elevate your skincare routine and make it feel more luxurious. The smooth and velvety texture provides a pampering experience, turning your daily cleanse into a self-care ritual.

7. Works Well with Other Skincare Products

Another advantage of creamy facial cleansers is their compatibility with other skincare products. The creamy texture allows for easy blending and absorption of serums, moisturizers, and other treatments that follow cleansing. This ensures that your subsequent skincare steps can penetrate effectively and provide maximum benefits.

What about surfactants and cleansers that lather? 

Lathering cleansers can irritate the skin due to several reasons. Firstly, the foaming action of lathering cleansers is often achieved by using surfactants, which are ingredients that can strip the skin of its natural oils. This can lead to dryness and sensitivity, especially for those with already dry or sensitive skin types. Additionally, some lathering cleansers may contain harsh ingredients, such as sulfates, that can further irritate the skin and disrupt its natural barrier function. 

Moreover, the physical motion required to create a lather can also contribute to skin irritation. The rubbing or scrubbing action needed to generate foam can be too harsh for certain skin types, causing redness, inflammation, and even micro-tears on the skin's surface. These tiny abrasions can make the skin more vulnerable to environmental stressors, bacteria, and other irritants. Lastly, lathering cleansers often have a high pH level, which can disrupt the skin's natural acidic pH balance. This imbalance can strip away the protective layer of the skin and disrupt its microbiome, leading to increased sensitivity and irritation. Overall, while lathering cleansers may provide a satisfying cleansing experience, they can be more harsh and irritating to the skin compared to creamy facial cleansers.

Check out Clean Slate from Womaness for an Oprah Daily award winning Creamy Cleanser formulated for you