Ask a group of dermatologists for tips on the most effective ways to wash your face, and you’ll likely get a spectrum of opinions. Some swear soap is a no-no for anyone; others say it’s fine for certain complexions. Some say we should use a cleanser only at night, water only in the morning. Others say it’s perfectly fine to apply cleanser in the morning and at night.
The texture and appearance of our skin are as different as our personalities. Betsy has dry, rough skin. Sally’s is smooth and sensitive. And Nancy’s skin is overly oily. So, each woman should choose a cleansing product that works most effectively on her type of complexion. The mind-boggling number of products on the market, however, often makes it impossible to know which one will actually suit us best.
With this is mind, we’ve gathered the face-washing tips about which that most skin doctors agree, and feature products that fit the tips.
1. The best bet, no matter what your skin type, is to use a gentle non-abrasive cleanser, without alcohol.
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2. Scrubbing will irritate your skin, especially the more delicate skin around the eyes. Washcloths and mesh sponges will likely be too harsh, and using only your fingertips may be too gentle.
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3. Limit face washing to twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, except when you’ve been sweating. Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, irritates the skin, so it’s best to wash it as soon as possible after sweating.
”Overwashing leads to unhealthy cycles of dryness and irritation, followed by oiliness and flaking,” claims Dr. Jessica Krant, a leading New York dermatologist. “I suggest the minimal amount of friction and washing necessary to keep the skin makeup free and fresh.
“Washing in the evening, with cleanser, is generally fine. Use only a fresh water rinse at other times. Make sure to totally rinse off any makeup remover with fresh water before bed. Finally, apply a thin layer of gentle moisturizer, since the skin tends to dry out during sleep.
“Having a clean face before retiring protects your skin from getting clogged and your eyes and eyelashes from inflammation and infections,” Dr. Krant advises.
4. The hotter the water you use to wash your face, the more quickly and easily you’ll be able to remove makeup and oils. But don’t risk burning your skin with really hot water. Using cold water after the hot-water cleanse will be refreshing and can bring a natural flush to the cheeks. “Cold water increases circulation and brings nutrients in the bloodstream to the surface,” Dr. Krant explains. Pat your face dry with a soft towel after washing.