face wash
Removing sweat, dirt and make-up with a face wash is the first step in any skincare routine. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Washing your face is the first step in any skincare routine and it’s as simple as it gets: lather on the cleanser, rinse, dry and go about your day.

But which cleanser should you use? That’s a little more complicated, so we asked an expert to break it down for us.

Is cleansing the face important?

We spoke with Dr Anna Zakhozha, specialist dermatologist at Hortman Clinic Dubai, who said the benefits of a clean face cannot be understated: “Washing the face is an important part of skincare. It might seem simple, but it takes time and attention. Removing sweat, dirt and make-up will help to prepare you for your skin care regimen, as well as support your skin in its overnight regeneration and renewal process. [Face cleansing] also helps exfoliate and remove impurities, but won’t strip the skin of its natural oils.”

Which type of cleanser should I use?

Dr Zakhozha advised using a facial cleanser twice daily, for oily and combination skin types, and once a day for dry skin types. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Walk into any pharmacy or beauty store, and you’ll find a whole aisle of facial cleansers, each claiming to be better than the next. But the kind of face wash that suits you best depends on your skin type.

Those with dry, often irritated skin, should look for ingredients like ceramide, glycerin, squalene and hyaluronic acid, advised Dr Zakhozha. She said: “Many people who have dry, irritated skin would be surprised to learn that they need cleaning oils or face washes with a foam texture. But these are very effective for removing dirt, and at the same time, are gentle and hydrating.” She recommends that you use the facial cleanser once daily at night, if you have dry or sensitive skin.

Those with oily or combination skin should look for face washes with gel-like texture, comprising ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic and glycolic acid. While the former reduces the amount of acne-causing bacteria on the skin, the latter ingredients dissolve dead skin cells to treat and prevent clogged pores and acne.

Dr Zakhozha advised using a facial cleanser twice daily, for oily and combination skin types. She cautioned: “Remember to make sure you are not over-cleansing your skin, because you can damage your skin’s protective barrier.” However, if you are exercising regularly, you might require an extra wash to remove sweat and dirt effectively.

Editor's tip
If you’re a Prime member, you can save 15 per cent on select items during Super Saver Week. Just use the coupon code ‘SAVE15’ to snag discounts on home essentials like laundry detergent and tissue boxes, baby diapers, personal care products like shampoos and conditioners, cleaning solutions and lots more.

Based on our expert’s recommendations and top-rated user reviews on Amazon, we curated a list of the best face washes. Buy the one that suits you best during Super Saver Week with Prime, and get it as early as tomorrow.

1. Best Overall: CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser 

There’s a reason why CeraVe’s salicylic acid facial cleanser has over 55,000 4.5-star reviews on Amazon. A foaming gel cleanser that’s suitable for use on both the face and body, it exfoliates and detoxifies to remove dirt and oil, while softening and smoothening the skin. There are no harsh beads or grains involved – the formula combines salicylic and hyaluronic acid with various ceramides to draw hydration to the skin’s surface, and help restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier. Fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, the cleanser has shown to have a positive result on acne-prone skin as well, according to the reviews.

Bonus: Redeem an extra 15 per cent off with ADCB X MasterCard by entering the code ‘ADCB15’ at checkout. You can also get a 10 per cent extra discount with Citibank by entering the code ‘CB10SEP’ at checkout.

2. Best for Dry Skin: Skinceuticals Gentle Cleanser Cream 

This gentle cleanser is Dr Zakhozha’s top pick for dry skin. Formulated with soothing ingredients like orange oil, and emollients that minimise the risk of intolerance, the cleanser is mild enough to use more than once a day. It even effectively removes long-wear eye and face make-up. The creamy formula has a rich, gentle texture, and feels similar to a moisturiser. Reviewers say it smells pleasant, is not at all greasy and rinses off easily, with the large, 200ml bottle lasting for over four months and offering great value.

3. Best Cleansing Oil: Avene Xeracalm AD Cleansing Oil 

Ideal for people who have skin that’s prone to atopic eczema and itching, this cleansing oil by Avene protects the skin against the drying effects of water. Its intense, lipid-replenishing formula helps balance the skin’s microbiome while soothing and hydrating dry, itchy skin. Just pour five pumps onto your hands and work into a lather before applying. Then rise, and gently pat dry. The non-comedogenic, fragrance-free cleansing oil is so gentle, it can even be used for newborns.

4. Best for Sensitive Skin: Dermalogica Ultra Calming Cleanser 

Dr Zakhozha recommends Dermalogica’s Ultra Calming Cleanser for sensitive skin types. The facial wash is formulated with natural anti-inflammatory and calming ingredients like lavender, echinacea, cucumber and raspberry extracts, along with panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), which is known to heal irritated skin. Effective enough to remove eye make-up, this cleanser leaves no irritating residue, and has no artificial ingredients or colours. Apply a small amount to your damp face, and work the product into a gentle lather. Use warm water to rinse.

5. Best for Oily Skin: Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser 

By targeting surface oil, Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser’s ingredients work to provide free-radical protection, hydrate the skin and remove impurities. Jojoba beads in the cleanser help exfoliate dead skin cells and boost hydration, so the skin is cleaned without feeling stripped dry. Salicylic acid penetrates deep into pores to clear debris, and vitamin E beads provide nourishing antioxidant benefits. Reviewers who are prone to breakouts say the product has been effective in minimising its frequency.

Bonus: Redeem an extra 15 per cent off with ADCB X MasterCard by entering the code ‘ADCB15’ at checkout. You can also get a 10 per cent extra discount with Citibank by entering the code ‘CB10SEP’ at checkout.

6. Best for Acne-Prone Skin: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Facial Cleanser 

A gentle cleanser that works wonders on acne-prone and oily skin, reviewers love La Roche-Posay Effaclar for its ability to rebalance the skin and remove impurities without over drying or causing irritation. It’s a lightweight, oil-free cleanser with a clear gel formula that foams up easily and leaves your skin feeling refreshed. Key ingredients are zinc pidolate, which is known for its purifying properties and helps remove excess oil, and thermal water, which calms and reduces skin irritation.

Bonus: Redeem an extra 15 per cent off with ADCB X MasterCard by entering the code ‘ADCB15’ at checkout. You can also get a 10 per cent extra discount with Citibank by entering the code ‘CB10SEP’ at checkout.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.