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Washing your face seems like a no-brainer, right? You use some cleanser, rub it around and rinse it off. That’s pretty much the entire gist of it, but there are actually a ton of mistakes that you may be making when it comes to proper cleansing. This comprehensive guide walks you through choosing products to applying moisturizer to make sure you are using the correct way to cleanse.
Use the Right Cleanser
Proper face washing begins before you head to your sink, it starts with picking the right cleanser for your needs. The ideal facial cleanser removes dirt, oil and makeup but does not strip your skin of essential moisture. You should choose your cleanser based upon your skin type and your skin needs. Those with dry, sensitive skin may appreciate cleansing creams or cleansing milk which tend to be gentle and moisturizing. Oily or acne-prone skin tends to react best with gel cleansers. All skin types can use micellar water, but a thorough face washing should follow the use of these cleansers.
Use Warm Water
One of the biggest mistakes you can make during the face washing process is using water that is too hot. While hot water feels relaxing, it can do some pretty serious damage to your face. Water that is too hot strips your skin of moisture, leaving your skin unnecessarily dry.
Follow Product Directions
You’ve been washing your face your whole life, so you can obviously skip the product directions, right? While washing your face isn’t necessarily a difficult task, for it to be most effective you should always read and follow any directions printed. For instance, for a gel cleanser to work properly, your face should be wet before you apply cleanser to your face.
Don’t Overdo It
Generally speaking, washing your face twice per day is plenty and anything over twice per day may irritate your skin. In addition to irritating your skin, excessive washing removes moisture from your skin. When this happens, your face may start to overproduce oil in order to help counteract the moisture loss. On a day when you haven’t worn makeup, slathered on sunscreen or had a serious sweat session, you might want to try just rinsing your face off at night and giving it a break from your products.
Be Careful With Exfoliation
Just as you can do damage by washing your face too much, you can also do harm by using exfoliating products that are too rough or simply exfoliating too often. It is important to exfoliate your skin because it removes dead skin cells, unwanted flakes and other debris from your face, but you need to strike a balance between too much and too little. Generally, exfoliation two to three times per week is appropriate, but your needs may vary. Avoid using harsh scrubs because these can be irritating and damaging to your skin. Look to chemical exfoliants such as glycolic, lactic or salicylic acids for gentle but effective exfoliation.
Pat Dry and Use Clean Towels
If you rub a towel around your face to dry off you aren’t alone, but you should stop. Using a towel like that exfoliates your skin once again, removes moisture and can be irritating. Pat your face dry with a clean towel after you wash your face. It’s kind of high maintenance to use a new, clean towel after every time you wash your face, your skin will thank you. Wet wash clothes are a breeding ground for bacteria, which is why you need to use a new one each time. Buy an inexpensive pack of brightly colored washcloths to differentiate from your normal towels (or buy neutral if you use brightly colored towels) and keep a clean stack in your bathroom so you always have one ready.
Moisturize Right Away
Your skin receives and absorbs moisture better when it is still slightly damp. Waiting until your skin is completely dry means the ingredients in moisturizers have a harder time activating than when your skin is still a bit wet. If you are a person who uses both serums and creams, apply serum first then apply your regular moisturizer.
When it comes to cleansing these guidelines are the best way to achieve great results from your skin-care routine. Remember to always use a gentle touch, especially around your eyes and your lips where the skin is most delicate. With the right products and the right cleansing routine, you will have the best skin of your life.