You’ve Been Washing Your Face Wrong Your Whole Life

You likely wash your face at least once every day, which is the minimum recommendation (via Allure). If you’re like many people, perhaps you have a twice-daily cleansing routine — once in the morning and once at night. Hot tip: If you choose only to wash one time a day, then nighttime is the best bet so that you can wash off the dirt of the day. It’s also possible you wash your face three times or more each day. While you may like that routine, your skin may not. If you have flaky and dry skin, breakouts, or other skin issues, you may just be washing your face too often. Yes, there’s a variety of different bad habits and face-washing myths you might have picked up over your lifetime.

One big issue is an over-reliance on single-use makeup removing or cleaning wipes, according to Reader’s Digest Canada. Adam Perlman, physician, integrative health and well-being expert at Duke University, told the publication that these wipes should be reserved for emergencies. If you find yourself relying on them daily, you might need to change your habits. 

Another issue is using cleansers that are too harsh for your face (via Allure). Instead, you might try a cleansing oil, which is more gentle. “Cleansing oils don’t disrupt our natural oil barriers, so you can’t overwash with an oil cleanser,” Athena Hewett, aesthetician and founder of Monastery skincare, told Allure. However, if you have sensitive skin, be sure you choose one without essential oils like tea tree or peppermint.

Avoid these serious face-washing mistakes

Another possible mistake you’re making is incorporating exfoliating into your daily face-washing routine. Dr. Adam Perlman told Reader’s Digest Canada about the dangers of over-exfoliating. “One can become overzealous with products and can actually damage the skin on the face with too many powerful acids … by over-exfoliating. Exfoliation is a treatment and does not need to be done every day.”

If you happen to exfoliate too often, Janet Prystowsky, a Manhattan dermatologist, gave the publication some advice about how low maintenance cleaning your face could be. She noted that you don’t even really need to exfoliate on purpose. “The reality is that washing normally every day or two with your hands and mild cleanser like Dove and then drying off with a soft towel will remove your dead skin cells adequately. Your skin cells turn over regularly and naturally without scrubs.”

Although experts disagree on whether or not you should wash your face once or twice each day, as Allure revealed, dermatologists do agree that you should rinse off your face thoroughly to prevent breakouts from product buildup (via Reader’s Digest Canada). And if you still have unresolved issues after correcting your face-washing faux pas, you should speak with your dermatologist.

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