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Cleansing

Cleansing, in simple terms, is the same as cleaning. The only difference is the 's'. Yet cleaning has connotations of bleach, mops and buckets, whilst cleansing is often associated with purifying the water, skin or soul. However you choose to express it, though, the intention and (in skin terms) the methods are the same.

Cleansing is the first step in keeping your skin, wherever it may be, in tip top condition. Cleansing the body usually involves warm water, soap, and a shower cubicle; cleansing the face is generally a gentler technique, requiring a face wash or scrub and then perhaps a special cleanser.

Cleansers tend to be creamy lotions which you apply to the face and then wash or wipe off, and tend to be less harsh than scrubs, which seek to remove all the layers of dirt and grime by sheer force. That said, there is a lot going for scrubs. They're so prolific on the skincare market these days that you can now get scrubs that are no rougher than the petals of a rose falling gently on your face; or, by contrast, you can find some which are so abrasive your face is often flushed a deep pink when you've finished, but leave you with a sense of being well and truly grime-free, and most can be used all over the body (although in general, soap or shower gel will usually suffice).

The key, as always, is knowing what your skin needs. Body-wise, most products on the market offer the same things: soaps, shower gels, bubble baths and body scrubs. Most people opt for a middle-of-the-road option, and choose a shower gel which they use with a loofah or sponge which provides a gentle exfoliation.

Face-wise, if you suffer with sensitive skin, then a harsh scrub is out of the question - stick to cleansers suited to sensitive skin, like the Boots E range. Cleansing lotions from brands like Olay and Nivea work great on normal to dry skin; and scrubs from Neutrogena or St. Ives are brilliant for oily or blemish-prone types.

Of course, only you will know by trial and error which products work for you. When shopping for products, bear in mind your age as well as your skin type. Oily skin on a 20-year-old won't require the same lotion as a 50-year-old. Conversely, don't spend money on anti-wrinkle scrubs if you're only in your teens - you'll be resorting to them much too soon for your liking anyway, so don't hasten the moment!

There are some fantastic-smelling products in shops right now, with the inspiration of summer in the air, so stock up on your favourite brands and scents to make bathtime a real treat.
 




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