Using face wipes is officially one of the biggest skin sins you can commit.
Face wipes have been beloved the world over by many a woman who craves ease of use, something they can whip across their face and feel they have done some good with. We understand what it is that people love about wipes – they’re minimum effort and portable. You can keep them on your bedside so you don’t have to even get out of bed to “remove your makeup” (more on the need for inverted commas later on).
However, face wipes are not skincare. To have a mode of comparison, face wipes are to skincare as fast food is to a healthy, well-balanced meal. Wipes can often do much more harm than good for the following reasons:
As a no-rinse technique, makeup or face wipes leave you with a film of the oils, makeup and debris that were on your face and it will sit there all night long. All. Night. Long. This film combines with the ingredients of the wipes which are often known skin irritants.
In terms of ingredients, it isn’t completely fair to paint them all with the same brush. However, many wipes are packed full of drying alcohols (listed as alcohol denat., denatured alcohol, SD alcohol) as well as high amounts of sensitising fragrances (often listed as parfum or perfume). These ingredients can strip the skin of its barrier function. The skin is an organ and as an organ, it protects itself using its barrier which is made up of the dead skin cells and lipids (oils) on the surface of the epidermis.
It doesn’t sound the most appetising but this barrier is your skin’s raincoat, shielding it from the elements. It additionally serves the purpose of preventing TEWL or trans-epidermal water loss. TEWL is the term used to explain the loss of moisture contained in the epidermis. Your skin’s barrier is like a Tupperware lid, ensuring that none of the good stuff spills out whilst keeping baddies on the outside.
Drying alcohols can strip your skin of the oils that help to make up the skin’s barrier. This means that you are more susceptible to irritation from other ingredients, your skin may feel dehydrated, dry or tight and you may experience more breakouts as your skin will overproduce oil to make up for the lack of it. Your skin will also age faster as a result and you will immediately have “drinkles” aka dehydrated wrinkles, fine lines that occur when the skin is dehydrated. Think of a raisin versus a grape. We all want to be the juicy, line-free grape.
Even if you just use wipes for eye makeup, this ain’t good – your eyes are MORE sensitive than your skin, as is the delicate under eye area.
Air pollution is becoming increasingly more of a worry in the skindustry. We’re only learning about the effects that airborne pollutants can have on our skin now. Removing the physical debris left from pollution may be beneficial towards helping your skin to escape its effects and as wipes can’t “lift” anything from the skin, they aren’t a weapon in that battle.
So the next time you feel too tired to remove your makeup, after a long heavy, consider how much effort will go into fixing your skincare from the damage ‘easy’ wipes have done to your skin.