Monday, March 7, 2011

Skin Care 101: What is a non-foaming cleanser?

Are there dry, flakey patches on your skin that require extra moisture? Is your skin super sensitive and easily irritated with the use of certain ingredients? There are two types of facial cleansers: foaming and non-foaming. Consider your skin’s specific needs and the desired results you want to achieve when deciding on which type of cleanser to use.

A non-foaming cleanser is ideal for dry, aging, prematurely aging and sensitive skin types. Non-foaming cleansers are characterized as being milky and mild and have the same consistency as a lotion or cream. These water-based emulsions are richer and creamier than their foaming facial cleanser counterparts because they are designed to provide extra moisture to the skin’s surface.

Estheticians prescribe clients to use non-foaming cleansers at home to help address skin conditions such as dehydration and sensitivity. Estheticians are big fans of using non-foaming cleansers in their own home skin care routine. “In the morning since the skin has no dirt, make-up, toxins, I choose to go with a creamy cleanser that restores lipids to the surface to prevent dehydration,” says Stephanie Coyle, an Esthetics Learning Leader at San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology.

Megan Linney, an esthetician and massage therapist at Tru Spa in San Francisco, prefers to use an over-the-counter, non-foaming facial cleanser at home. “I use it with my Clarisonic. It doesn't smell like anything, it lathers up well and it's inexpensive. I save my big bucks for antioxidant serums.”

Clear skin starts with clean skin. The primary function of an effective facial cleanser is to remove makeup, excess oil and pore blocking debris from the skin. Keeping skin clear of unwanted debris on the face is going to be key in achieving clear skin.  Deciding on which type of cleanser is right for your skin will depend on your desired results and your skin’s specific needs.

(Previously published on SF Skin Care Examiner)


  1. It took me a while before I figured out that I needed non-foaming cleanser for my dry skin. I didn't know how types of cleansers would suit different skin types.

    1. Same here. Before I went to school to get my estheticians license, I didn't really know of all of the different types of cleansers and why or when you would use them for different skin types. In fact, I hadn't really changed up my own personal skin care routine since high school! I was so completely clueless!! As soon as I modified my routine to include products that were formulated specially for my own skin type and skin conditions, I noticed a huge change. Knowledge IS power!