5 Skin Tips: How to Properly Wash your Face at Home

Picture of washroom with flowing water in basic depicting importance of face cleanliness

Great skin starts at home. One of the best things you can do for your skin is simply just to cleanse it—twice a day. But there are certain nuances that make your face washing technique safe and effective. Before you hit the sink next time, make sure you aren’t making these face washing mistakes?

Mistake #1: Washing with a Harsh Cleanser

Dr. Karen Hammerman says washing your face in the morning and at night is essential for healthy skin, but using the wrong cleanser can actually further irritate it and make it more red and inflamed. Many foaming and gel cleansers are formulated with ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, or ammonium laureth sulfate. These are surfactants used to cut oil from the skin, but they are particularly harsh and will strip it of water and oils, leaving it feeling tight and more irritated. A good rule of thumb: more lather, more drying. Less lather, less drying. So, you might like that squeaky-clean feeling, but it can in fact going to make your skin more dry and more sensitive. Always use a sulfate-free cleanser that won’t dry out skin. Specifically, look for cleansers with hydrating and soothing properties, such as those containing glycol and allantoin.

Mistake #2: Sleeping in your makeup

Dr. Eric Schweiger says: When you sleep in your makeup, your pores can become clogged. When the pores clog, you’re inviting the formation of a microcomedone, which can attract the P. Acnes bacteria into your pores and cause a breakout. Bottom line: Wash your face at night. If you’re too tired to get to the sink, use one of those handy cleansing wipes that so many brands offer these days.

Mistake #3: Over-washing your face

Dr. Rachel Nazarian says: Washing skin often can cause the barrier to breakdown, so it’s best to limit the ritual to twice daily: once when waking up in the morning, and again before going to bed at night, and keeping it to a short rinse to limit exposure to water.

Mistake #4: Using Hot Water

When washing your face at home, always make sure to use lukewarm water. Hot water can rob the skin of its natural oils and cause it to dry out. Hot water can also exacerbate skin conditions, such as rosacea and eczema. When in doubt, cooler water is always better.

Mistake #5 Not washing your towels

You most likely dry your face with a towel after washing it, unless you’re using your sleeve (if you are—don’t!). It’s especially important for that towel to be clean, otherwise all that good face washing is for nothing. A dirty towel can just reintroduce germs and dirt right back onto the skin. We believe that investing in a dozen or so good quality washcloths is well worth the expense. After each use, toss it in the dirty laundry. Your skin will thank you.

Bonus tip: Most of the dermatology providers at Schweiger Dermatology Group believe in using your fingers to cleanse your skin. A cleansing cloth when used daily can irritate the skin, as could a cleansing brush. Your fingers will help massage the cleanser into the skin and best part — they’re free!

About Schweiger Dermatology Group

Schweiger Dermatology Group was founded to help make excellent dermatology care accessible throughout the Northeast. In 2010, Dr. Eric Schweiger started the practice with a single location in Midtown Manhattan. When he saw the need for high-quality dermatology care that did not require weeks or months of waiting to see a qualified provider, his vision of a multi-location practice was born.

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