What’s In My Cleanser

Dermatologist formulated and tested skin cleansers for sensitive skin

Forget makeup wipes, get on the trend of double-cleansing. If your vice is sleeping with makeup on, you are basically increasing your exposure to free radicals and bacteria, contributing to wrinkles and eye infections in the long run. Removing your makeup properly before you sleep is pertinent in maintaining youthful and healthy skin. That doesn’t mean tugging at your skin until it feels squeaky clean or drying your skin out with commercial makeup removers.

Double cleansing works in a way that moisturises your skin while effectively removing even heavy makeup and often are come in the form of oil or milk cleansers. Dermatologically formulated for sensitive skin, the Le Lait Milk™ Cleanser from Dr TWL Dermaceuticals is an emulsified combination of water and oil particles. It is able to double cleanse your face by precisely targeting and dissolving heavy makeup and dirt, while maintaining the natural moisture in your skin. Encompassing bioactive ingredients such as Larecea™, this sensitive skin cleanser accelerates collagen formation for skin regeneration, making it perfect for post-laser treatments and for mature skin types.

What do Cleansing milks contain?

Milk cleansers are not made of “milk” per se but rather due to its milky texture, allowing it to be named as such. Milk cleansers contain water and lightweight oils (eg sunflower oil, jojoba oil, sesame seed oil) and emollients, such as glycerin. Emollients are included in cleansers to reduce the drying effect. As these oils are lightweight instead of the viscous waxes present in cleansing creams, they are less likely to leave a facial residue. They are also more effective in dissolving grime and pigments in makeup.

Especially for those with sensitive skin or skin disorders, cleansing may lead to a weakening of the skin barrier. The skin barrier protects against water loss, chemical pollutants or foreign agents. It also preserves moisture content and maintains smoothness and flexibility of skin. Standard alkaline surfactants in certain cleansers such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate that work to remove dirt and produce lather can impair the skin barrier function and cause skin irritation.

Prolonged daily use of cleansers that cause such short-term damage may lead to scaling, flaking, erythema (redness), dry skin or itching in the longer term. For individuals with acne, rosacea, atopic dermatitis or photodamage skin conditions, it is recommended to opt for gentle cleansing.

Should I use a Milk or Micellar Cleanser?

Dermatologists advocate cream and milk cleansing for dry, sensitive or reactive skin types, as well as diseased skin (acne, rosacea, dermatitis) while on treatment. The reason for this is because it effectively removes skin soils while respecting very well the natural skin moisture barrier. It also does not strip the skin of its natural oils.

Foundations, concealers, eye and lip makeup are typically made up of oil-soluble pigments. It is still possible to remove it with micellar water, albeit less easily and more rounds of cleansing would be required to remove the pigment as compared to a ‘milk’ cleanser. Rubbing the skin excessively with cotton pads or with one’s fingers will damage the epidermis and can lead to dermatitis, besides worsening cystic acne and rosacea.

Is milk or micellar water cleanser better?

According to Dr Teo Wan Lin, an accredited dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre, she says: “I would recommend a “milk cleanser” as these are more efficient at removing makeup pigments. This means that fewer rounds/product are used during cleansing. This also respects the skin barrier (without dehydrating skin). Milk cleansers are best for removal of eye makeup such as mascaras, eyeliners and eyeshadow. Look out for labels “dermatologist-developed” or “dermatologist-approved”, as such cleansers will be non-irritating to the skin. It also does not readily blur vision with an oily residue.

What is a “micelle”?

A micelle is best imagined as a molecular cluster with a hydrophilic (water-loving) and a hydrophobic (water repelling) end. As tiny oil molecules suspended in soft water, the hydrophobic part picks up dirt, grime, foundation and makeup, and is dissolved by the hydrophilic part. The final step of water rinsing then cleanses the face. Micellar water is efficient at removing certain cosmetics which are water-soluble.

Water alone can actually remove about 65 per cent of oil and dirt from the skin, but it may not be effective when removing oils from cosmetics or environmental pollutants.


Cleansing is arguably one of the most important steps in our skincare routine. The surfeit of products on the market may make it difficult to select an appropriate cleanser. Be clear on your skin type and narrow down your selection accordingly. A gentle cleanser like Le Lait Milk™ Cleanser and Miel Honey Cleanser is suitable for all skin types. Dermatologist-formulated, these cleansers are free of agents that disrupts your natural skin barrier whilst effectively cleansing the skin at the same time. With anti-inflammatory properties, these cleansers also keep the skin calm, well-moisturized and rejuvenated.

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