As a child, chances are that your mother or father instructed you to “wash your face” as part of your daily ritual. While some parental instructions may have been pushed deep into the recesses of your memory, the instruction to wash your face should resonate with you no matter your age. Throughout the day and night, your face is exposed to the dirt and pollution in the air that clogs pores and triggers or worsens existing acne. Whether your motivation is clean skin or clear skin, knowing how to properly wash your face is crucial.
The number one misconception in skincare is that water alone is enough to wash your face. Water only removes 65 percent of dirt and oil—rinsing your face with water in the sink or while showering doesn’t cut it! Using a facial cleanser not only removes the dirt and oil that water cannot reach, but also prevents clogged pores and oil build-up. Washing your face with a cleanser in the morning prepares your skin for lotion and makeup application and protects the skin from the environmental elements it faces during the day. In the evening, washing your face with a cleanser clears the dirt and oil accumulated during the day and prepares the skin for evening lotion and acne medicine. Now that you understand why a cleanser is necessary, you must choose the right cleanser for your skin type. Determine your skin type by taking the skin type test here and follow the guidelines below to aid in purchasing the right cleanser.
- Normal Skin
Purchase a cleanser that is labeled as a mild/gentle cleanser
- Oily or Acne-Prone Skin
Purchase a cleanser that contains salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is used in cleansers and in stronger anti-acne medicines for treatment and prevention of acne. It is important to resist the urge to over-wash your face when you have oily or acne-prone skin. Wash your face twice a day—any more will cause adverse effects.
- Dry Skin
Purchase a cleanser that contains essential fatty acids (EFAs). These fatty acids help replace some of the lost moisture in your skin.
- Combination Skin
Purchase a cleanser that contains lactic acid and a very gentle exfoliant. Lactic acid, derived from milk, adds moisture to skin. The gentle exfoliant helps remove dead skin cells, keeps pores clean, and improves blood circulation, which gives your skin a healthy glow.
- Sensitive Skin
Purchase a mild and odor-free product. Fragrances sometimes cause redness or irritation on sensitive skin. Avoid scrubs and exfoliants as they will be too harsh on your skin and may leave your skin red and irritated. Choosing the appropriate cleanser and committing to washing your face twice a day with that cleanser is just the start. There is also a right way to wash your face! Follow the steps below for ultimate skin cleansing success.
- Remove makeup. Gently remove all makeup with a cotton ball. You can use a makeup remover from your local drugstore like Neutrogena oil-free eye makeup remover, or for a more budget-friendly option, try olive, almond, or coconut oil. Simply dash a bit of remover or oil on a cotton ball and gently wipe your face clean. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after makeup removal to prevent the spread of germs to your face.
- Use a cleanser. Run water until it is lukewarm and rinse skin prior to applying cleanser. Use a circular motion to massage the cleanser into your skin, avoiding your eyes, until your face is fully covered in cleanser. Do not use anything but your fingertips with your cleanser—washcloths are too rough on the skin.
- Rinse your face. Be certain to remove all the cleanser from your face, rinsing at least 3 times. Pat your face dry with a clean washcloth.