London - Cheap, effective and, most importantly, quick, it is no wonder cleansing wipes have become a hit with busy women.
They mean no more messing around with cotton wool or cream to take off make-up at the end of the day — you just wipe and go.
In fact, sales of cleansing wipes have doubled in the past year. But while this might be excellent news for beauty brands, it could be bad news for our skin, causing everything from spots to wrinkles.
Experts worry that wipes don’t effectively cleanse skin and, instead, smear dirt and make-up across it.
Worse, everything from the physical act of wiping the skin to the fluid the wipes are impregnated with can cause skin problems.
Ever found yourself using a wipe to scrub at stubborn eye shadow or waterproof mascara?
“Many women use wipes to remove eye make-up,” says cosmetic dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting. “Because the cleansing lotions can be quite mild, it may take a considerable amount of physical force to get stubborn make-up off, thus risking harming the delicate eye area.”
If you’re dragging the thin skin around your eye backwards and forwards and up and down on a regular basis, you could be prematurely ageing it.
If you must use a wipe: Opt for a product designed for the eye area, as it’s likely the cloth and the cleanser will be formulated to take more delicate skin into consideration.
Leave the pad on the eye for a few seconds before wiping.
“The cleansing fluid that wipes are soaked in contains surfactants — detergent-like chemicals that dissolve make-up and grime,” says Dr Bunting.
“If the surfactants are too harsh, they will irritate skin, especially as, without rinsing, some of those surfactants will be left on skin.”
That irritation can leave skin looking red or feeling sore and tight. It’s like lathering your face with soap and then not washing it off.
Moreover, while surfactants can irritate skin from a chemical perspective, if you get over-enthusiastic with a rough or textured wipe can cause irritation and even leave scratches.
If you must use a wipe: Choose one that’s developed specifically for sensitive skin, contains as few potent irritants as possible and has a very soft cloth.
“Alongside the surfactants, many of these wipes contain alcohol as this helps them cut through thick and tenacious make-up,” says Dr Bunting.
“However, while alcohol might clear stubborn lip-liner, it’s also effective at damaging skin.”
This is not ideal for anyone, but if you’re prone to dry skin, you have to be particularly careful about the wipes you use.
Dr Bunting advises anyone with rosacea or eczema to avoid wipes, as they can exacerbate conditions.
If you must use a wipe: Look for one that doesn’t contain alcohol but instead has moisturisers.
Even if you’re not dragging at your skin, the fact that cleansing wipes often don’t clean skin as effectively means the pricey moisturisers you slather on afterwards could be a waste of time.
Olay and L’Oreal carried out research that showed not cleansing skin thoroughly means you leave a barrier formed of dead skin and dirt. This results in less of the anti-ageing active ingredients getting to where they need to be in the skin.
In fact, one study showed 30 percent more anti-ageing ingredients made it into the skin when it was properly cleansed, meaning that even if wipes aren’t giving you more wrinkles, they’re preventing you from treating existing ones.
If you must use a wipe: Limit their use to rare occasions — no wipe will clear your skin as effectively as a proper cleanse .
If you’re using wipes regularly, you’re not getting the best from the serums and moisturisers you use afterwards.
Spots or acne acne
If you’re prone to spots or acne, a good cleansing routine should be the foundation of your regime. That means no wipes.
Not only do you run the risk of transferring bacteria around your face, rather than washing it off, but, according to Dr Bunting, if the cleansing fluid in your wipe is poorly formulated, it may clog pores and trigger breakouts.
If you must use a wipe: Try one that contains salicylic acid. This stops pores getting clogged and helps to break down blackheads — it can even have an effect on acne scarring. .
Moist environments breed bacteria, and packets of cleansing wipes must stay free of bugs.
“This means using preservatives, and the high percentages required to keen an open packet of wipes hygienic can irritate the skin and even trigger allergic reactions,” says Dr Bunting.
Worryingly, the preservative methylisothiazolinone, or MI, which can cause blistering, red rashes and swelling, is common in wipes. It is even found in wipes designed for use on babies and in intimate areas. Experts believe it could be one of the most common causes of dermatitis.
If you must use a wipe: Scrutinise the ingredients and avoid any that contain MI.
It’s also worth steering clear of those that contain fragrance (usually marked as ‘parfum’) as this is a common cause of allergy. - Daily Mail