Skin Care | Acne Clinic

Wipes are convenient; there is no getting around it

Wipes…whether it be baby wipes or facial wipes, they can make life a lot easier.  But are they really doing what we think they are?

Facial cleansers and wipes typically contain the same active ingredients (surfactants, stabilizers, alcohols and emulsifiers) that dissolve makeup, oil, debris and dead skin. However, wipes are missing the vital step of rinsing with water to flush away the grime. Instead, they use chemicals that often leave a residue of unfinished business, despite the clean feeling afterward. Over time this build-up can be irritating and dry, especially with sensitive skin, and lead to premature aging. In addition, the rubbing motion needed to lift makeup can irritate the skin, especially around the eye area.

Packages of facial wipes are a breeding ground for bacteria, requiring potent preservatives and anti-microbial agents to extend shelf-life up to 18 months. Many brands say they are biodegradable, but are they really?  I just received a notice from our local waste-water district warning about wipes clogging household pipes and sewer lines; even wipes claiming to be flushable.  Also keep in mind that if you use two wipes a day (morning and evening), in a month’s time that would be 60 wipes into the landfill!

Despite their misgivings, you may just really need a facial wipe! Besides feeling too tired at night to wash your face, they are great for the gym, camping, and on-the-go.  

If you love using wipes, here are some tips:

  • Rinse with water afterward to remove the chemicals left behind
  • Apply moisturizer after using your wipe.
  • Look for wipes without too many preservatives or chemical sounding names.
  • Wipes with fragrances may cause additional irritation.
  • Use wipes to remove makeup then follow with a cream cleanser that can also moisturize and condition the skin.