15 Do’s and Don’ts for Washing Your Face the Right Way

Live by these rules for happy, calm skin

It would seem like one of the most simple, straightforward routines in the book. But washing your face takes time and attention — and doing it the right way could make the difference between beaming skin and an acne breakout.

“Many believe that you need to only wash your face to remove makeup or when it looks dirty. In actuality, it’s recommended you wash your face twice daily,” says Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist from Scottsdale, Arizona.

However, the amount of times you wash your face may be less important than how the job is done.

No matter your skin type, texture, or current condition, Dr. Haley stresses that a nighttime cleansing routine is especially important.

“Removing makeup, dirt, and grime from the day will help prepare the skin for your skincare regimen, as well as support the skin in its overnight regeneration and renewal processes,” she says.

Ready for a clean start? Follow these do’s and don’ts from dermatologists.

Do: Properly remove all your makeup first

Use a gentle makeup remover to get the job done before you start actually cleansing — especially before bed.

“Pores are used to purge out toxins overnight and if they’re clogged, everything will be backed up and look congested,” says Dr. Haley. FYI, this applies to all skin types, even if you’ve got quite the resilient outer layer.

Makeup removal guaranteed

  • For clogged pores, try the double cleansing method. This two-step routine uses natural oil (i.e. castor, olive, sunflower) to remove the dirt of the day and then requires a mild face wash to help wash away the oil.
  • Dip a cotton swab into micellar water, makeup remover, or natural oils to remove makeup around the eyes. A cotton swab helps you gently tackle tightly lined areas without tugging on your skin.

Don’t: Bust out the generic bar soap

Unless they’re specially formulated for the face, bar soaps can alter the pH balance of the skin (which allows for more bacteria and yeast growth).

No surprise: Facial cleansers, especially cleansing balms, are made for delicate skin.

“There’s a tendency for people to look for ‘foaming’ ones, because they think if it doesn’t foam it’s not cleansing. But foaming can actually strip your skin of more natural oils,” says Dr. Erum Ilyas, a board-certified dermatologist from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

One 2012 studyTrusted Source confirms this, concluding that surfactants (what allows cleansers to break down oil so water can wash out the dirt) prevent your skin molecules from staying in order — natural and healthy.

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