When it comes to washing your face, proper technique keeps your skin healthier, better oxygenated and more beautiful
Washing your face seems like a pretty straightforward practice, right? While a quick splash of water and some soap might be all you need, there are some subtle things you may be doing that could be the cause of excessive drying. But fear not – a few simple tweaks can make your skin healthier. Because November is National Healthy Skin Month, La Jolla, board certified dermatologist Dr. Susan Stuart felt it was time to get this simple cleansing practice down right.
Proper washing is a great way to stimulate your lymph system to get much needed oxygen and blood circulating in your face. Also, be sure that you are using the correct cleanser for your skin type and avoid bar soaps at all costs — they can really dry out your skin. Dr. Stuart explains that, “the goal of face washing is to unclog pores and to dissolve dirt, makeup and remove excess oils. You may not realize that this is also a great opportunity to slough off dead skin cells by exfoliating.”
Here is my recommended approach. Begin washing your face starting at your forehead and work your way to your nose, then outwards to your cheeks and eventually down to your face and neck.
A proper face wash is a really simple way to maintain the health of your skin.
Dr. Stuart’s four-step process for correct washing
STEP 1: Begin by washing your hands. (You don’t want all of the grease, grime and germs from your hands on your face, do you?) And, if you have on any eye makeup, remove it before you begin to cleanse.
A proper face wash is a really simple way to maintain the health of your skin
STEP 2: Wet your face completely 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.
STEP 3: 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! Also, don’t forget to rinse your hairline, your neck and the nooks on either side of your nose.
STEP 4: 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.
Dr. Stuart’s list of face washing mistakes
Not washing your hands – Before you start with washing and cleaning of your face, thoroughly wash your hands. You do not want bacteria from hands to be transferred onto the delicate facial skin.
Don’t use cold water – It is a big mistake to rinse your face with cold water because it closes the pores. Not only will the cold or hot water shock and irritate the skin, but it will also lead to varicose veins on the face.
Be cautious when applying facial cleansers – Never apply facial cleanser without moisturizing your face first. Most of these products are aggressive and should be mitigated by water.
Not rinsing and repeating – If you don’t wash out a cleansing product well it will dry out your skin and clog pores. Rinse your face until you completely remove the cleanser. Do not forget to rinse the area close to the scalp to prevent skin irritation.
Do not exaggerate with peeling – Exfoliation removes dead skin cells leaving smooth skin on your face. But if you do the peeling often, you can remove and dry up a new layer of skin, which will eventually weaken the natural protection of the skin of the face.
And what about the towel? – Always choose a towel that’s clean and soft.
Going to bed with makeup on – NOT! Never go to bed without first thoroughly cleaning the face of makeup and dirt. Leaving makeup overnight can lead to accumulation of fungi and redness and irritation.
Cleansers should foam? – Foam is not any more effective than other types of facial cleansers and can be harsh on your face.