Washing your face is an important skincare step, especially for people with acne-prone skin. If you're frustrated with pimples and zits there's a temptation to scour skin. But experts agree that harsh cleansing isn’t the answer to a clear complexion.
“You can’t heal acne by scrubbing it away,” says Seth J. Orlow, M.D., Ph.D., a dermatologist at the New York University Langone Medical Center. “In fact, excessive face-washing can exacerbate acne.”
Face washing is simply step one to unclog pores, to dissolve dirt and makeup, and to remove excess oils. It also sets the stage for your acne treatment: topical acne medications work better when applied to clean, dry skin.
So step up to the sink. With these three tiny tricks you’ll find that a proper wash can easily become a part of a healthy skincare routine.
A hot blast will shock your skin and could even bother your blood vessels enough to cause a red reaction. A comfortable temperature calmly invites your pores to open and breathe easily.
Each time you wet your face, it removes beneficial oils and can dry skin, which reduces your skin's natural defenses. The magic number is two: wash your face twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
Washcloths and hand-held cleansing devices are generally unnecessary, your own two hands will do the job right. Just use your fingertips to ever so gently massage the water or cleanser into your skin with small, circular motions.
Start at your forehead, working your way to your nose, then outward to your cheeks, and eventually down to your chin and neck. The light massage feels lovely as it stimulates blood circulation and cell turnover.
If you’d like to exfoliate, especially if benzoyl peroxide is causing your skin to flake, use an extra-gentle tool like an all-natural konjac sponge.
Finish your wash with a little splash of cool water to close your happy, clean pores. Nothing freezing—there’s no need to put your pores in a panic.
Pat dry with a soft, clean cloth and resist the urge to rub or wipe your face. Launder these towels regularly to avoid adding bacteria to your fresh face.