It’s a simple task, but one that will help you maintain a clear complexion and beautiful, youthful skin. Washing your face is a fundamental part of your daily skin care regimen. And though facial cleansing may be the most well-known step in skin care, you may still have a few things to learn about the best ways to wash your face.
Wash your face daily. If you have normal, combination, or oily skin, you can wash your face both in the morning and at night before bed. However, if you are prone to dry skin or if you have a skin condition, like eczema, you may want to limit yourself to a single face-washing at the end of the day to remove makeup and dirt without drying out your skin.
Wash with lukewarm water. Hot water can have a drying effect on your skin, so experts recommend washing with lukewarm water instead. The warm water will also help open up your pores and prepare them for cleansing.
Get a cleanser for the face. Regular soap and body washes are no-no’s when it comes to washing your face. Look for cleansers that have been specifically formulated for the face. They should be labeled with terms like, “facial cleanser,” “clear complexion cleanser,” or “face wash.”
Use a mild facial cleanser. Watch out for harsh soaps that can strip the natural oils from your skin. The key is to use a mild facial cleanser that is “non-comedogenic,” which means that it won’t clog your pores. Keeping your pores clear will also result in fewer breakouts.
Go fragrance-free. Look for mild facial cleansers that don’t have perfumes, alcohol, or dyes added to them, since these types of ingredients are more likely to cause irritation, rashes, and breakouts. This is especially important for people with sensitive skin. If you see “hypoallergenic” on the label, it’s a good sign that these products are in the clear.
Think about your skin type. Finding a cleanser that is suited to your skin type also may enhance the way your skin feels (and acts) after washing. For example, face soaps with added oils or fats will be gentler on dry skin. Glycerin-based or oil-free facial cleansers can benefit oily skin.
Basic Facial Cleansing Technique
- Make sure your hands are clean before you begin. If they’re not, wash them first.
- Wrap your hair in a towel or use elastics, barrettes, or a headband to keep your hair out of your face while cleansing.
- Use lukewarm water and a good facial cleanser to wash your face.
- Gently rub the cleanser into your face using circular motions.
- Massage your face with your fingers to promote good circulation.
- Use a washcloth or loufa to help gently scrub and exfoliate your skin.
- Rinse well with lukewarm water. Make sure all the soap is off your neck and ears, and has been cleaned from around your eyes and nose, and your hairline.
- Splash cool water on your face to refresh your skin and close your pores.
- Pat your skin dry with a towel, but leave some moisture on the skin.
- Moisturize immediately so that your moisturizer can seal the moisture into your skin.
If you have a skin condition, talk to your dermatologist about the best techniques and types of products to use when washing your face. For example, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that people with rosacea let the face dry thoroughly before applying any topical medication or moisturizers. They should also steer clear of facial cleansers that contain alcohol, witch hazel, salicylic acid, fragrance, and certain oils, according to the National Rosacea Society. On the other hand, the AAD acknowledges that products containing alcohol and acetone, salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide are likely to benefit people with acne. For people with inflammatory skin conditions, like eczema, the AAD warns against excessive washing and encourages people to pay special attention even to mild cleansers, since they can irritate the skin and worsen eczema symptoms.
Washing your face properly with a mild cleanser will help remove makeup and clear away the day’s dirt and excess oil build-up, leaving your skin fresh, clean, and beautiful.