If you look closely at the chemicals contained in a packet of makeup remover wipes, you can probably figure out pretty quickly that they’re not the best thing you can use on your skin.

From an environmental factor, they’re just so bad for the environment, contributing to over 90% of sewer blockages. It’s estimated that over 9 million wipes are flushed down the toilet every single day, heading straight out to our oceans to litter our beaches and clog up drainage systems.

But the convenience factor seems to be winning out, with global sales of wet wipes forecast to hit over $20 billion. That’s billion. With a B.

How can something so bad for your skin – and your planet – be so popular? I put it down to the C-word: convenience. Let’s face it, wipes are a really convenient way to remove makeup and ‘clean’ your face in under 30 seconds.

Fact: face wipes don’t clean your face.

You may think you’re cleaning your skin when you use a face wipe, and you DO remove a fair amount of makeup when you use them, but you’re also just moving around all the makeup, dirt and sweat that your face accumulated during the day. Why not try this experiment: use your face wipe as you normally would, then go over your face with a clean, damp, white face cloth. You may be shocked at how much grime and dirt is left behind. That grime and dirt can clog your pores and lead to breakouts and an impaired skin barrier.

Fact: wipes can cause trauma to your skin

Have you noticed that when you use a wipe, you’re perhaps a little more heavy-handed than you are when you use a cleaner and rinse it off? That rubbing (or should we say, scrubbing) action may cause irritation and sensitivity with prolonged use. Just as we no longer use abrasive exfoliants on our skin (and if you are, we need to talk), we want to treat our skin gently when it comes to the way we remove the day from our face at night.

Fact: wipes can cause inflammation and irritation

Even if you’re super gentle when using your wipes, you may still experience a flush or tingling sensation immediately after using wipes. Why? In a word, chemicals. Face wipes contain chemicals that strip the natural oils from your skin, altering the pH of your acid mantle and damaging the integrity of your skin. Don’t believe us? Let’s look up some of the chemicals listed on the back of the packet. These are just three that you can expect to see in the ingredient panel of most supermarket face wipes:

  • Fragrances: when you see the word ‘fragrance’, you may think of something that smells nice, maybe scented with an essential oil. In reality, fragrance refers to chemically engineered scents designed to imitate the scent of natural ingredients. The chemical ingredients used to create fragrance are not required to be listed individually, so you can never be truly sure what you are actually being exposed to. Fragrance may be a hormone disruptor and can contain harsh allergens.
  • PEG (polyethylene glycols): these are compounds widely used in cosmetics as thickeners and softeners. It also functions as absorption enhancer which allows both good and bad ingredients to be absorbed faster into deeper parts of skin. If used on broken or damaged skin, it can cause irritation and system toxicity. In addition, PEGs can reduce the skin’s moisture levels and speed up skin aging.
  • Carbomer: a synthetic polymer, carbomer is derived from petroleum. In skincare products, it is used as an emulsifier to stabilise and control the consistency of cosmetic products. It is highly processed and can create toxic by-products.

Fact: wipes can accelerate the appearance of ageing

While they may seem like a good short-term alternative, long term use of wipes is one of the fastest ways to look your age (with failing to wear SPF taking out the top spot in accelerated ageing factors). Short term, you may experience redness, inflammation, irritation and breakouts. You may even mistakenly diagnose yourself as having sensitive skin, when you really just have skin damage. Long term, you may experience chronic dehydration and a disturbed acid mantle. And without an effective cleansing routine? You can expect dull skin, and a speeding up of the development of wrinkles and lines.

If we’ve managed to convince you to step away from the wipes and move towards corneotherapeutic skincare, get in touch. We’d love to take you through a Skin Discovery Session to determine the perfect skincare for your skin type.