You’ve Been Washing Your Face All Wrong

Washing your face seems like a pretty straightforward part of your daily routine, right? While all you need is a splash of water and a dab of soap, there are a few steps you might be incorporating (or skipping altogether!) that are causing that dry, oily and temperamental skin.

A few simple tweaks to your morning and nighttime cleanse could be all you need to get your skin back on track and Rachel Sharoff, licensed aesthetician at Skintology Skin and Laser Center in Manhattan, compiled a list of these absolute no-no’s:

1. Not washing your hands. Before you start with washing your face, thoroughly clean your hands. You do not want bacteria from hands to be transferred onto your delicate facial skin.

2. Using cold water. It is a big mistake to wash your face with cold water as it closes your pores. Not only will the cold water shock and irritate the skin, but it could also lead to varicose veins on the face.

3. Not wetting your face. Never apply facial cleanser without wetting your face first. Most of these products are aggressive and should be mitigated by water.

4. Not rising and repeating. If you don’t completely wash away the cleansing product, it will dry out your skin and clog your pores. Rinse your face until the cleanser is entirely removed. Do not forget to rinse the area close to the scalp, as not doing so can lead to skin irritation.

5. Going to bed with makeup on. Never go to bed without first thoroughly cleaning your face of makeup and dirt. Leaving makeup to sit overnight can lead to the accumulation of fungi, while contributing to redness and irritation.

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6. Over-exfoliating or not exfoliating at all. Using an exfoliator can enhance the texture and tone of your skin. “As we get older, the enzymes that normally exfoliate our skin are no longer as effective so complexions can look rough and dull,” says Sharoff.  She recommends exfoliating at night, since that’s when skin is in “renewal mode,” generating new skin cells. But keep in mind that exfoliating more than twice a week can irritate your skin.

The route you take when washing your face can also play a major role in the behavior of your skin. Start at your forehead and work your way to your nose, then outwards to your cheeks and down to your face and neck.

And once you’ve taken note of the skincare no-nos, this is the five-step method you should be following to cleanse your face correctly.

1. Wash your hands. You don’t want all of the grease, grime and germs from your hands on your face, do you? If you have on any eye makeup, remove it before you begin to cleanse.

2. Wet your face with tepid water. Anything too hot will shock the skin and could even burst capillaries, resulting in those sensitive red marks usually found around the nose and cheeks. Next, squeeze a dime-sized amount of cleanser onto your fingertips and rub them together. Use your fingertips to massage the cleanser into your skin (anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute) in small and gentle circular motions.

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3. Use a muslin cloth. One of the best ways to ensure that dirt and makeup are removed is by using a muslin cloth when you rinse. In addition, if you gently scrub in small circles, the cloth also acts as a light exfoliant! Don’t forget to rinse your hairline, neck and the nooks on either side of your nose.

4. Splash with cool water. Finish by splashing your face two to three times with cool water (not freezing cold— again, you don’t want to shock your face) to close your pores and then pat your skin dry with a clean towel.

5. Apply eye cream. The under eye area is the thinnest part of your skin, so it’s desperate for moisture. Massage or pat a pea-sized amount of eye cream under your eyes and if you’re putting on makeup afterwards, wait a few minutes so the cream can sink in.

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