The Dirt On Face Washing

facewashingThe act of washing your face seems very basic, but skin research has shown that many people cause their face more harm than good with their washing routines.  Scrubbing your face with water and soap is a simple process but can result in skin damage, especially on the face.

For some people, especially men, washing their face with a bar of soap is a common practice.  However, the skin on your face is more sensitive than anywhere else on the body, and soaps that work well on the rest of the body can dry and irritate your skin.

That’s why I frequently recommend using an actual cleanser, not a bar of soap, to wash your face.  Cleansers like our top-selling Chamomile Facial Cleanser moisturize the skin, and even soften the appearance of fine lines.  They are also ideal for sensitive, red or irritated skin.

When it comes to acne, a bar of soap won’t help you remove the oil from underneath your skin.  A cleanser like our 5% BP Face & Body Wash will balance oil production, as well as removing any dead skin cells.

Regardless of which of our recommended facial cleansers you use, the temperature of the water you use to ash and rinse is also important.  It is generally recommended that you wash your face with lukewarm water.

hot-waterUsing hot water can over-dry and irritate the skin. It is a myth that cold water rinsing closes pores, and therefore there is no need to rinse with cold water specifically.

What you use to wash your face is important.  However, you also may be washing your face too much, and too vigorously.

As we age, washing your face twice a day can cause excessive dryness.  Unless you have a skin condition, such as acne, you really only need to wash her face once a day.

The evening is the best time of day to wash your face, especially as you’re getting ready to go to sleep. Cleaning at that time removes make up, dirt and any other environmental pollutants that collect on your skin during the day.

Avoid the instinct to scrub your face when you wash.  Many of us develop this urge as teenagers when we were trying to remove oil and clean out our pores.  However, you cannot scrub or wash away acne breakouts and excessive scrubbing can cause more damage.

When you apply soap or cleanser to your face, you should use your fingertips and the cleanser should be worked gently into the skin in a circular motion.  You should totally spend about a minute massaging in the cleanser into your skin, paying particular attention to the areas around the periphery of the face where oils from the scalp can accumulate.

When you finish washing, rinse the soap or cleanser thoroughly from your face.  Leaving behind cleanser residue can leave behind oil and dirt which can continue to irritate skin.

drying-faceFinally, after all is rinsed away, pat your face dry very gently. Excessive rubbing of the skin with a towel after washing can also cause irritation and damage.

Remember if your skin feels excessively tight or you feel stinging or burning, you have probably caused irritation and damage to the skin. Over scrubbing and over cleansing will not make your skin any cleaner and may actually be counterproductive.

About Dr. John Burke

John Burke M.D. has practiced medicine for over 25 years, and is the founding partner of MidMaine Internal Medicine. He established Maine Laser Skin Care in 2004 after devoting years to learning the latest in laser and dermatologic technology. Dr. Burke has treated patients from all over the United States. He is one of Maine's busiest practitioners in laser treatments, and in the use of Botox for upper facial lines and excessive sweating.
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