Skin Washing

Washing your face is a no-brainer, right? Well, not exactly. A survey by skin-care brand CeraVe found that 80 percent people make at least one or more common mistakes when cleansing their face, and more than one-half of us neglect to cleanse before bedtime.

Meanwhile, over washing your face can be just as harmful as not doing it at all. “When you’re washing your skin, you want to remove excess oil, dirt, pollution, and makeup without compromising the integrity of the skin barrier itself,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

There are plenty of benefits to washing in the right way. Removing grime and debris can help prevent acne breakouts. Ridding your skin of pollution build-up minimises free radical damage caused by particulate matter in the air, which is associated with premature aging. What’s more, washing your face is key to removing dead cells that build up on skin and contribute to dullness – get these off and you expose healthier, more radiant skin.

That said, it’s possible to be too enthusiastic about face-washing. Over washing and over scrubbing may leave you with a squeaky-clean feeling, but this actually is damaging. You can damage your skin barrier, the network of skin cells and fats in the outer skin layer that protects your skin from the environment. A just-right washing routine is important for everyone, but especially those who have eczema and rosacea. A gentle touch is needed so you don’t cause more irritation than is already there.

8 Rules For Washing Your Face

1. Do Choose the Right Cleanser for You

The right cleanser for you might be different than what your best friend is using. If you have dry or sensitive skin, stick to hydrating, nonfoaming cleansers, because the lathering agents used in foaming cleansers tend to be more drying on the skin.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, a foaming or salicylic acid–based cleanser may be best for you. 

There are also many different cleanser formulas that live somewhere in the middle, from milk to oils, balms to waters, each cleanser gives a different sensorial experience to match your personal preferences.

2. Don’t Rinse Your Face with Hot Water

Doctors recommend using cool or lukewarm water remove your cleanser. Especially if you have sensitive skin or rosacea, hot water can lead to facial flushing and a flare.

3. Do Wash Your Face Twice a Day

Dermatologists typically recommend washing your face twice per day, in the morning and before bedtime. But going to bed with clean skin is a must. If you’re going to wash only once, advice is to wash in the evening to remove everything that has accumulated during the day so you sleep with a clean face on your pillow. And don’t forget to clean up after a sweaty workout. 

4. Don’t Assume You Need to Use Toner 

Today’s cleansers are much more effective than they were in the past, so toner or astringent is not always necessary to fully remove dirt and oil.

5. Do Use Eye Makeup Remover to Remove Heavy Makeup

It’s important to fully remove makeup before you go to bed. This can minimize the risk of developing skin irritation from the makeup itself.

If you wear light makeup, your regular face cleanser may be enough to remove it. But you can also try “double cleansing,” which involves using an oil-based cleanser or micellar water to take makeup off. This is best used for heavy makeup, like what you’d wear to a wedding or other special event. Pro tip: This product can be effective for removing any costume makeup, such as what you’d wear for Halloween, too.

6. Don’t Rub Your Skin the Wrong Way

For a gentle but thorough cleansing, your best tools are at your fingertips – in fact, they are your fingertips. “Your fingers do a terrific job and can actually provide a light massage during your cleanse that can stimulate circulation and promote lymphatic drainage,” says Jill Bucy, owner of Jill Bucy Skincare in Seattle.

7. Do Use a Clean Towel That’s Only for Your Face

Cleansing involves more than just cleanser! Wash your hands thoroughly before you begin washing your face. And resist the urge to dry your face with the family hand towel that’s been hanging over the rack for several days. Bacteria can breed on the towel and be transferred to your clean, dewy face. Use a soft, clean cloth that you only use on your face. 

8. Don’t Forget to Use Moisturizer After Cleansing

While you do want to give your face a good cleaning, you don’t want to overly strip the skin of essential oils or cause dryness. After washing, try hydrating your skin with a light moisturiser. If you’re using acne medication or an anti-aging product like retinol, apply it after you put on your moisturizer, since the moisturizer acts as a buffer to help minimize potential irritation.