Double Cleansing: Dermatologist’s Complete Guide

Should I double cleanse? Is there an ideal double cleansing regimen I should follow? In this article written in conjunction with our founder Singapore dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin, we explain the top myths and facts surrounding double cleansing.

Is there a best way to cleanse your skin?

Yes! The skin microbiome is an entire ecosystem of healthy bacteria that prevents bad bacteria from taking hold. We recommend using the ideal tools for a perfect skin cleanse.

Makeup removal:

  1. Incorporate effective cleansing materials that can attract makeup particles effectively to avoid excessive rubbing or friction 

DO: Use micellar makeup remover pad; DON’T: Use a face towel or cotton pad that requires excessive rubbing. 

Double Cleansing with Reusable Micellar Pad
Micellar textile technology uses concept of hydrophobic hydrophilic interactions to remove makeup with a swipe. Reusable SKINSENSE sustainable beauty range by Dr.TWL designed for universal skin types including sensitive skin. 
  1. For sensitive/combination skin- use a oil soluble makeup remover or a water based cleanser 
  2. Oily acne prone skin- always follow with a double cleanse with our Miel Honey Cleanser for a thorough removal of excess oil dirt and grime. 

What is double cleansing?

Do you have to double cleanse? If you have oily/acne prone skin, it is advisable to.

Double cleansing refers to using 2 distinct cleansers. These cleansers work in separate steps. It is believed to be a more effective method of skin cleansing. According to Dr Teo, “While individuals with sensitive dry skin conditions may get away with just a single cleanse, if you wear makeup, sunscreen especially living in a humid climate like Singapore, double cleansing is more effective. This is because makeup, excess facial oil and grime, even sunscreen are oil soluble – meaning that they are not easily removable with just a single lathering cleanser. Singapore’s heat and humidity means that it is easier for harmful bacteria to proliferate-hence the importance of proper skin cleansing.”

Gentle Milk Cleanser
Le Lait Milk Cleanser for removing make-up, including eye & lip. Provides gentle & effective cleansing for sensitive / eczema skin, post-laser treatment & mature skin types.

What is step one of double cleansing for?

If you are into single step cleansing, this may be the most important step. An effective makeup remover forms the basis of the first cleanse, even if you do not wear makeup. In double cleansing, oil-soluble particles in makeup can only be thoroughly dissolved with a solvent. This can be a an emulsion, like the Le Lait Cleansing Milk, or a water based micellar cleanser. On the other hand, if you have greasy skin and only want to do one step cleansing, use the Cleansing Essence. The Micellar Makeup Remover Pad synergises with the water cleanser to effectively remove all particles quickly without harming the skin barrier. 

I have oily combination skin. Can I cleanse in just 1 step?

Yes you may. Use the water based cleansing essence if you are busy, with the micellar makeup remover pad. This is because the micellar pad works well to remove all dirt and makeup without the full double cleansing ritual.

Double Cleansing Essence
The best double cleansing alternative in a single step: Customised Cleansing Essence. This 2-in-1 method of double cleansing works for on-the go skin cleansing for busy individuals. Effective even for those with oily acne prone skin. 

What is the unique oil free  2-in-1 double cleansing method by Dr.TWL Pharmacy?

Double cleansing traditionally requires 2 separate cleansers. One marketed as a cleansing milk or emulsion, and a second paired with it for a thorough cleanse. This is especially popular in humid countries like Singapore where skin gets oily and grimy at the end of the day. However, it is inconvenient to cleanse on the go and may not be practical for busy individuals or students. Hence this 2-in-1 double cleansing regimen is a practical and effective alternative to popular cleansing wipes. Cleansing wipes are detrimental to the skin barrier because of the harsh surfactants that are used to dissolve tough makeup stains. These inadvertently cause skin sensitivity with prolonged use.

How does the double cleansing method work with the Cleansing Essence?

The cleansing essence is the ideal water based cleanser formulated by our pharmacy for quick and effective cleansing in tropical weather like Singapore. It contains at least 17 different botanical antioxidants and emulsifiers that work alternatively to cleanse skin without drying surfactant chemicals like sodium laureth sulfates. This method effectively functions as a double cleanse because we incorporate the first step in the micellar textile makeup remover pad, which uses materials to attract dirt and makeup particles. 

I need my skin to feel squeaky clean. Dermatologist recommended drugstore cleansers usually make me feel sticky and dirty 

First of all, this is understandable! You may also have heard that cleansers that leave your skin squeaky clean are bad for your skin. This is true as well. What happens is a case of paradoxical reactive seborrhoea. This means that over-cleansed skin produces even more oil because it is excessively dried out at the surface. As a result, the skin has lost its natural moisture barrier important for protection of the skin against harmful environmental allergens. The cleansing essence by our pharmacy is designed to leave skin feeling clean despite a very gentle method of cleansing that actually even moisturises your skin!

Is there such a thing as overcleansing?

Yes. For skincare aficionados, do not overdo cleansing. In fact, cleanse only a maximum of twice a day with your lathering cleanser. The Miel Honey Cleanser is an effective single cleanse option that helps to stabilise the skin microbiome. If you do sports, cleansing right after your sporting activity is essential. However, if it does not coincide with your day/night cleansing regimen. You should use a gentle method of quick cleansing such as the Cleansing Essence. In traditional double cleansing, the final cleanse lathers up effectively to remove residual particles. Doing so more than twice a day will harm the skin barrier as it gets too dehydrated.

Anti-bacterial Honey Cleanser
Honey Cleanser provides thorough cleansing of skin with botanical emulsifiers leaving a clean yet moisturised feel. In addition, Arnica Montana Extract stabilizes skin and reduces flaking.

What are the benefits of double cleansing?

Double cleansing is good practice for thorough cleansing, although it is not necessarily the holy grail as many claim it to be. The key here isn’t about single or double or triple step cleansing, but what is effective cleansing for the individual. One has to remember that climate also plays a role in this. Hot and humid weather necessitates thorough cleansing with a lathering cleanser for those with oily skin. This is because of the accumulation of sweat and dirt, especially when one is wearing a mask in the era of COVID-19.

Are cleansing devices worth it? Can I add that to my double cleansing regimen?

Complete Cleansing Kit
For the best of all worlds, our pharmacy gifts you with our classic sonic cleanser with every purchase of our cleansing kit.

Facial scrubbers are popularised by clinic medifacials. In addition, the added benefit of sonic cleansing devices is that they are able to target particulate matter known as PM2.5 pollutants. Latest dermatology research demonstrates that airborne pollutants on the skin surface accelerates skin aging. 

What is the importance of clean skin? Can I just wash my face with water alone?

At least from a dermatologist’s perspective, it is essential to use a cleanser. The accumulation of dirt oil grime and bacteria in a humid climate causes an imbalanced skin microbiome with time. This is worsened in those with existing acne, rosacea and eczema. Clean skin helps to regulate timely skin cell renewal. It is also important to ensure skincare like serums are properly absorbed.

Double cleansing Tips by Dr.TWL Pharmacy

  1. Determine your skin type and adjust your cleansing routine accordingly 
  2. Your skin can behave differently in different weather conditions
  3. Try to not use air conditioning as it increases transepidermal water loss. Try alternative methods of keeping cool 
  4. Cleanse your skin twice a day, not more or less
  5. Use a one step gentle cleanser if you have dry and sensitive skin 
  6. Visit a dermatologist if your skin is irritated easily by water or various cleansers. You may have a rare condition known as cosmetic intolerance syndrome 
  7. If you have oily skin or combination skin, freshen your skin during the day with our 2-in-1 gentle cleansing essence on the go. No water or rinsing off required
  8. Add a home chemical peel to your weekly regimen, such as with our anti inflammatory papain enzyme peel to reduce greasiness, improve skin renewal and radiance.
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