How To: Wash Your Face

You’ve been washing your face since before you knew what pores, laugh lines, or blackheads were. It’s a no-brainer, right? Yes. No. Maybe. Cleansing isn’t as straightforward as you might think, and the way you wash has dramatic effects on your skin. Read on for tips from celeb dermatologist and founder of DermTV.com Dr. Neal Schultz, plus our favorite cleanser game-changers.

Back to Basics

Dr. Schultz says to always start with a damp face, then massage your cleanser all over using gentle circular motions. It’s not rocket science but the key is to make sure that you’re only massaging for only about 10-20 seconds. Rinse with warm, not hot or cold, water, which helps the skin retain moisture, and pat (don’t rub!) skin dry with a clean towel.

Less is More

The most common mistake people make is scrubbing their faces for epic amounts of time. While you want to remove dirt, makeup and oil, too much washing can irritate your skin and strip its natural oils. This can trigger breakouts and dryness. Dr. Schultz always tells patients to err on the “less is more” side. That said, never skip – always wash morning and night, and make sure to remove every trace of makeup before bed.

Don't Skip Washing

We know some women who swear by only washing their face at night, and then just splashing with water in the morning. While your face may need more attention at night to clear away makeup and dirt from the day, it’s just as important to cleanse in the morning. Overnight, dust and dead skin clog pores while you’re sleeping and can make your skin look dull. If you’re concerned that your cleanser is too strong to use twice a day, try a cleansing milk, which is extremely gentle. Pillowcases are hidden sources of pore clogging particles so make sure you’re changing them frequently — up to once a day for really problematic skin.

Customize Your Routine

It may seem obvious, but your cleanser should match your skin type. The right wash helps you achieve and maintain normal oil and water balance in your skin, says Dr. Schultz. To find your ideal product, determine your type: dry, normal/combination, or oily. A good way to do this is to look at your face a few hours after cleansing. Dull and tight? It’s probably dry. If it’s already shiny, you’re probably oily. Most people fall into the normal/combination category. In general, creams tend to be less drying than foaming but there are always exceptions.

Switch up Your Routine During Winter

You already know your skin reacts differently in summer and winter. Switch up your cleanser accordingly: use moisturizing options in colder or less humid months, and oil-removing products during warmer months.

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