Here's the Do’s and Don’ts of Facial Cleansing
Most of us don’t even think about it. We wake up in the morning, head to the bathroom, and wash our face. Simple enough, right? Wrong. The truth is, facial cleansers are built to nourish our skin—not harm it. Still, many of us have experienced adverse effects from facial cleansers that have irritated our skin, caused breakouts, or led to other unfavorable skin conditions. But it's not all on the cleanser. Sure, there are products out there with ingredients that are absolutely horrific for your skin (parabens, phthalates, etc)—but sometimes skin irritation and breakouts can come from improper face washing. In fact, throughout each stage of the cleansing process, there’s an opportunity to irritate your skin. So, let’s get down to business on how to maximize the benefits of your facial cleanser and ensure your skin looks fresh and healthy day in and day out.
Don’t Wash Your Face with Dirty Hands
Sounds like a no-brainer, but most of us are guilty of it. Nowadays, our hand-washing culture has gotten better (for not-so-great reasons), but still, we tend to skip this step before we start. What seems like a minor step to skip can cause major problems—the reason? Because your hands and fingers carry bacteria and that bacteria can be transferred to your face, completely negating the point of cleansing your skin to begin with. So, get those paws nice and clean first thing!
Do Avoid Facial Cleansers that Contain Synthetic Fragrance
We’ve discussed this topic quite a few times, but it is incredibly important to read the ingredient list on your skincare products. Ingredients like parfum, perfume, and fragrance have been known to irritate skin and should be avoided at all costs. Instead, find yourself an all natural cleanserwith nutrient-rich ingredients that won’t cause irritation.
Don’t Use Hot Water
Most of us were raised believing that hot water “opens up pores” allowing debris and dirt and bacteria to exit, while letting the cleanser in to work its deep-cleaning magic. This is completely false. In fact, hot water can cause irritation by stripping our skin of essential oils, which protect against irritants. Instead, use lukewarm water to cleanse your skin—and don’t forget your jawline and neck! Those two areas love to trap dirt, sweat, and debris.
Do Be Gentle with Your Skin
Scrubbing hard is for stovetops with last night’s pasta sauce stuck to it—not for your face! Taking an abrasive approach to facial cleansing can not only damage layers of skin which help retain moisture, but also lead to irritation and breakouts. Instead, take the time to pamper your skin—in fact, give it a massage. Use the tips of your fingers to wash, and avoid washcloths and harsh scrubbers. Your facial cleansing routine should be a time of relaxation and comfort. By being gentle to your skin, your cleanser will do what it was designed to do—clean and soothe!
Do Apply Moisturizer Immediately After Cleansing
Think that feeling of “tightness” across your face after a good cleanse is a good thing? It’s not. Why? Because our air sucks out the moisture from our skin starting immediately after cleansing, leaving it dehydrated. By being efficient in cleansing and applying a moisturizer within a minute after cleansing, you will be able to retain moisture
Don’t Dry by Rubbing
As mentioned earlier, your skin should be pampered. So, when it comes time to dry, gently blot your skin with your clean hands before applying moisturizer. It’s also important to note that your skincare products will penetrate better when your skin is damp. So ditch the towel and get hip to treating your skin right—harsh rubbing with a towel can transfer bacteria and cause irritation. And avoiding irritation is a primary objective when it comes to maintaining healthy skin.
Do Select a Cleanser for Your Skin Type
When it comes to facial cleansers, one size does not fit all. oily skin requires a different approach and set of ingredients than dry skin. It seems simple enough to understand—yet many skincare companies continue to push the “suitable for all skin types” myth. By using a cleanser that isn’t perfectly suited to your skin type, you can cause adverse skin conditions, breakouts, irritation, over-moisturizing, and over drying. So, figure out what type of skin you have and stay in your lane!
Savy Guthrie is a dermatology PA with 17 years of patient care experience and is the founder of Theoderma Skin Care.
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