10 Rules for Washing Your Face: Dermatologists’ Dos and Don’ts

Washing your face is a no-brainer, right? Well not exactly. A 2017 survey by skin care brand CeraVe found that 80 percent of Americans make at least one or more common mistakes when cleansing their face; For example, more than half of us neglect cleaning before bed.

There are many benefits to washing well, says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of clinical and cosmetic research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Removing dirt and debris can help prevent acne breakouts. Removing pollution buildup on the skin “minimizes free radical damage caused by airborne particles, which is associated with premature aging,” he adds. What’s more, washing your face is key to removing dead cells that accumulate on the skin and contribute to dullness; Eliminate them and you’ll reveal healthier, more radiant skin.

That said, it’s possible to get too excited about your face wash. “Excessive washing and scrubbing may leave you feeling squeaky clean, but this is actually harmful,” says Dr. Zeichner. “When you wash your skin, you want to remove excess oil, dirt, pollution and makeup without compromising the integrity of the skin barrier.” (The skin barrier is the network of skin cells and fats in the outer layer of the skin that protects the skin from the environment, he explains.)

A proper washing routine is important for everyone, but especially for those who suffer from eczema and rosacea. “Under these conditions, the skin barrier is naturally weakened, increasing the risk of inflammation,” says Zeichner. A gentle touch is necessary so as not to cause more irritation than already exists.

Read on to find out the do’s and don’ts of a proper face wash according to dermatologists, and watch your skin glow.

8 rules for washing your face
Choose the right cleaner for you
skin care products
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The right cleanser for you may be different from the one your best friend uses, says Zeichner. “If you have dry or sensitive skin, opt for hydrating, non-foaming cleansers, because the foaming agents used in foaming cleansers tend to dry out your skin more,” he explains. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (Target.com) is a dermatologist favorite.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, a foaming or salicylic acid-based cleanser may be best for you. “Foam cleansers are best suited for people with oily skin who need a deeper cleanse, and salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that helps effectively remove oil from the skin,” he says. CeraVe Renewing Salicylic Acid Cleanser (Target.com) is a well-reviewed option.

There are also many different cleanser formulas that fall somewhere in the middle, Zeichner adds. “From milks to oils, balms to waters, each cleanser provides a different sensory experience tailored to your personal preferences,” he says. Whatever product you choose, be careful about over-scrubbing: If your face becomes red, peeling or peeling, or feels tight or itchy, you may be scrubbing your skin too much, warns Zeichner.

Do not rinse your face with hot water
“Washing your face with hot water can draw moisture from your skin, leaving it dry and possibly irritated,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at the Shafer Clinic in New York City.

Zeichner recommends using cold or warm water to remove the cleaner. “Hot water can cause facial redness and breakouts, especially if you have sensitive skin or rosacea,” she adds.

Dr. Engelman goes a step further and recommends cold water. It’s suitable for all skin types and can tighten the skin by stimulating blood flow and improving circulation, she says. “For acne-prone skin, cold water regulates sebum [or skin oil] production, which in turn can minimize pore size and prevent breakouts. “People with sensitive skin also benefit from washing their face with cold water because hot water will dry out the skin by removing oil levels needed to retain moisture.”

Wash your face twice a day
simple rules wash your face twice a day
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Zeichner usually recommends washing your face twice a day, in the morning and before bed. But going to bed with clean skin is essential. “If you are going to wash just once, my recommendation is to do it at night to remove everything accumulated during the day and thus sleep with a clean face on the pillow,” she says. And don’t forget to clean up after a sweaty workout. “If you exercise, do the best

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