You’ve been washing your face for years, so why spend three minutes reading something you already know? Because you might be undermining your efforts by doing something you believe is helpful and necessary.

No two people are alike, so don’t adopt a celebrity’s skin care routine without thinking about your own skin needs first.   

  1. Not all cleansers are created alike. You know that squeaky feeling you sometimes associate with really clean skin? That feeling, while satisfying, is the exact opposite of what you want to feel. Generally, this indicates that the pH level of your cleanser is too high, which tends to strip away essential natural oils and over-dry skin. So, if you’re using traditional bar soap on your face, which has a pH level between 8–10, you probably need something gentler (think 5.5 pH instead) as “True soap has been shown to increase skin pH, decrease [barrier function], dehydrate skin, cause [superficial redness] and irritation, and cause [clogs]”1
  2. Use your hands not a washcloth. This may feel counter-intuitive, but according to the American Academy of Dermatology, when you’re washing your face, you need to be gentle. You don’t need to scrub, scrape, or use fancy expensive gadgets to get your skin clean, so use a lighter touch. 
  3. Not everyone needs twice a day cleansing. If you wear makeup, and we hope sunscreen, you’ll want to clean your skin in the evening to remove any impurities and give it a chance to recover overnight. Most people wash their face once a day, either in the morning or evening, and that may be enough for you, too. What counts is giving your skin a chance to breathe and renew. Secret: Washing excessively makes things worse because natural moisturizing factors (known as NMF) dissipate in water, so “repeated contact with water actually makes the skin drier.”
  4. Pat, dab, or air dry.  Wet skin is fragile, and rubbing causes unnecessary friction. Since your goal is drying the skin, pat it gently with a clean towel (preferably one reserved just for your face) instead of rubbing it. You may need to wait a bit longer for it to dry, but the result will be smoother skin because you won’t be roughing up the surface.
  5. Reserve facial scrubs and physical exfoliants for periodic use. Many people think that continuously removing the uppermost layer of skin will help it turn over faster. In reality, this approach often does more harm than good. Your skin naturally renews itself approximately every 28 days. You can help speed this along, but excessive scrubbing will only lead to skin that is over-exfoliated and irritated. You have enough problems. Why create more?

Learning how to properly care for your skin is a long-term journey not an overnight trip. If you’re questioning whether or not your cleanser might be breaking you out, feel free to leave us a comment below. And if you need more guidance regarding products that can work in tandem with your cleansing routine to keep your skin clear and healthy, email one of our friendly medical team members. We’ll respond right away.

1 “The Relationship of Proper Skin Cleansing to Pathophysiology, Clinical Benefits, and the Concomitant Use of Prescription Topical Therapies in Patients with Acne” by Jacquelyn Levin, DO, FAOCD).

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