How Many Times A Day Should I Wash My Face?
As you might already know, I'm a clean freak, so it's only fitting that I dive into face washing with you today because I have some thoughts on the topic.
The face washing debate has been on for a long time. Everybody has a different theory with respect to face washing, but there are three popular stances that I'll discuss today.
1. Don't wash your face at all.
2. Wash your face once before bed.
3. Wash your face twice, once in the morning and once at night.
Which one are you?
The fact of the matter is, each stance can work but it depends on your skin and your lifestyle. They each have advantages and disadvantages and caveats. Let's explore them.
Wash Your Face Never
Some people believe you shouldn't wash your face at all because face washing is very drying. Skin is known to self-regulate, to balance itself, it can moisturize and protect itself using sebum and this position maintains that washing the face ruins this delicate balance.
In a perfect world, with clean food and clean air, this might be the perfect thing to do for your skin.
But what happens if your hormones are out of whack?
Hormones are our body's messengers, they send messages telling your body that you're stressed, or that you need to eat less/more, or that you need to store fat, or that you need to *gasp* produce more sebum!
When your hormones aren't working properly, you might get the message to produce exorbitant amounts of sebum, which happens when you're producing too many androgens (male hormone) in your body. This is a complicated topic that I'll cover separately.
If you're producing too much sebum, for instance, due to a hormonal imbalance that leads to more acne, then are you really going to not wash your face at all?
I can't agree with face-washing once a day for two main reasons.
Firstly, our face collects dust, bacteria, and pollution throughout the day while producing sebum too. Research shows that sleeping with that kind of dirt build up and pollution is not good for your skin and can be aging.
Secondly, I think wearing sunscreen is important if you want to look young and avoid getting skin cancer. However, leaving sunscreen on without washing it off overnight is just a recipe for disaster.
But for the normal working woman who wants to leave the house looking presentable (that usually includes at least a little makeup) this scenario just can't work. If you want to wear makeup, then you damn well have to wash it off. No ifs, ands, or buts.
You tell me if it makes sense to never wash your face. How practical is it, especially for acne-prone skin?
Wash Your Face Once A Day
Others suggest washing your face only in the evenings to prevent the day's buildup of pollution sitting on your skin all night.
This method makes sense for those of you who have extremely dry skin for instance.
However, if you wake up with a face full of sebum then are you going to keep it on? Use it as a base for your makeup? Ick.
A lot of people are concerned with 'over washing' their skin and drying it out with harsh products. This is a legitimate concern, since most products on the market are actually extremely drying.
It's still a good idea to wash your face in the morning, if only just to remove some of the dead skin/hair cells transferred from your pillow.
If your skin is dry, with no sebum in sight when you wake up from your beauty sleep, then there's no point in using a heavy duty cleanser to wash your skin.
I recommend washing your face with a little bit of raw honey in this case because it's quite hydrating and very mild (if you are allergic, then just rinse with plain water).
If your skin is not reactive, not sensitive, and not oily then this kind of face washing is probably best suited for your skin.
Face washing twice a day doesn't count as over washing. In fact, I think the harshness of the products you use is more to blame for dryness and irritation than frequency of use.
If you washed your face with a gentle cleanser then your skin wouldn't be over-washed and feeling dry.
When you use a typical cleanser with a bunch of drying soap and irritating fragrance in it, then you are likely to irritate your skin.
I think every cleanser should be formulated as though for sensitive skin, and I seriously can't understand why harsh cleansers (like Proactive) even exist on the market.
Wash Your Face Twice A Day
The final school of thought is that you should wash your face twice a day, morning and night. This is the most popular opinion.
For acne-prone skin especially, this is the most important position. If you have acne-prone skin that's oily, you have to wash your face twice a day until you've eliminated the imbalances in your hormones and the inflammation in your system.
However, you still have to be gentle because being harsh and rough on your skin is not going to make it better. Note: Face-washing alone will not clear up your acne in most cases.
In the morning you should remove the excess sebum mixed with dead skin cells, hair oil...In the evening you should remove your makeup, impurities, pollution mixed with your sebum.
Keeping your skin clean is important so that p.acnes bacteria doesn't have too much sebum to feed on.
This isn't an invitation to wash your face three times a day or more, however. Washing your face more than twice is just plain overkill.
The idea is to clean your face, not to dry it out. Drying out your acne will not make it go away faster. Remember to be gentle and patient with your skin!
What Do I Do?
I fall somewhere in between 2 and 3 for my sensitive, acne-prone skin. I believe it's important to wash your face in terms of basic hygiene (clean freak over here). But since my skin is also oily, I wash my face to remove excess sebum so it's not drowning in it.
Want to see me full morning routine? Check it out here.
I wash my face in the morning with honey (which isn't even really a cleanser), and in the evening with a gentle cleanser formulated for sensitive skin to remove my makeup. Cleansing is one step, I use one product to cleanse (there's no separate makeup remover).
I'm incredibly serious about using a gentle cleanser when I do wash my face. I don't want to irritate my reactive skin further by putting soap on it. I would never exfoliate my skin twice a day, or use anything harsh to wash it like a bar of soap or Proactive cleanser.
I have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to using soap on my face.
How many times a day do you wash your face?
Let me know how often you like to wash your face and why! Does your method work for you?
Next time I'll discuss how to choose the perfect cleanser and will tell you about some of the best cleansers on the market.
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