Washing your face the right way
Washing your face sounds like the easiest and most common-sense part of your beauty routine. Surprisingly, though, cleansing your face incorrectly can lead to a host of skin problems – and you may not realize that those problems are caused by improper cleansing. Cleansing is the first step that affects how the rest of your skincare regimen performs. Take the time to practice good cleansing habits, and they’ll benefit you in the long run.
Choose the right cleanser
If you have a dermatologist, by all means consult her to determine what type of cleanser you should be using. You don’t need to buy the most expensive face wash on the market, but knowing what types of ingredients your should look for will help.
You want a formula that will remove dirt, makeup, and oil, without stripping your skin of the natural oils and moisture it needs. But your skin type will determine what ingredients will benefit your skin.
At Mellisa B Naturally, we always recommend cleansers without fragrances or chemical preservatives – but this is especially important if you have sensitive skin. These additives can be irritating to any skin type, but even more so if your skin is already prone to inflammation.
If you have dry or aging skin, you should look for a cleanser that will nourish your skin with additional moisture and/or oils. Oily or acne-prone skin may benefit from a cleanser with charcoal or clay – something to remove excess oils without drying or irritating the skin.
Once or twice a day is enough
Unless you’re working out several times per day, washing your face morning and night is enough to keep your skin clean. Of course, if you need to wash after a strenuous workout or something in the middle of the day, just be sure that you don’t overdo it. And if you do a “makeup-free Sunday” (or something similar) – giving your skin a break from the makeup and other products you normally use, you can modify your nighttime routine to just rinsing your face with lukewarm water before bed.
It might seem like a good idea to wash with hotter water, and to scrub with that washcloth – especially if your skin is oily or problematic. But the key to cleansing any skin type properly is to be gentle. Hot water can dry out your skin, which may seem desirable if you have oily skin. The problem is that when you dry out your skin, it can produce more oils (sebum), making your skin more oily and possible more acne prone. Tepid water (lukewarm) is the best for all skin types.
Rough scrubbing (with a washcloth or other “scrubbing” implement) is also to be avoided. Exfoliation is important, but it’s most effective in moderation. You should exfoliate 2-3 times per week with a product designed for gentle exfoliation. Harsh ingredients can damage or irritate the skin, and rubbing your skin with a washcloth or sponge can pull and tug at the skin – again, causing damage.
You can use the right cleanser, apply it properly, use the correct water temperature – and basically do everything right – but if you don’t rinse thoroughly, you can be doing more harm than good. Cleansers aren’t meant to remain on the skin, and can irritate skin or clog pores if not rinsed off completely. Rinse twice if you have to – and pay extra close attention to the sides of your nose, the corners of your eyes, and your hairline, jawline, and neck – areas that are easily missed.
Rubbing your face with the same towel you used to dry your body is not doing you any favors. First, you should always pat dry your skin, avoiding the pulling and tugging that can damage the delicate skin on your face. Second, you want to avoid bacteria – you want to avoid it on your entire body, but especially on your face and around your eyes. Use a clean, soft towel to pat dry your skin.
Developing good habits while washing your face will go a long way toward keeping your skin healthy and beautiful. And don’t be afraid to make a change to your cleanser if and when your skin type or needs change.