Washing your face is key to your health and saving your skin (and pillowcase) from damage. The methods and products you use to wash your face matter. Just like brushing your teeth, there are right and wrong ways to wash your face that can positively or negatively affect your health.
When to Wash
Wash your face in the morning when you first wake up to remove oils from your hair that transfered onto your pillow case and then onto your skin. It is important to wash your face in the morning, particularly if you wear makeup, because clean skin is less likely to break out due to makeup than due to unwashed skin. Wash your face after sweating and remember to take off your makeup before you work out! Sweat plus makeup plus bacteria from touching the workout machines and then touching your face creates a high potential for breakouts. Wash your face at night before you go to sleep. It doesn’t matter how tired you are. You wouldn’t go to bed without brushing your teeth, would you?
What to Use
There are so many facial washes, scrubs, masks and other face care products out there that it can be really confusing and overwhelming when going to select a product to use. Use a mild cleanser for daily use and only exfoliate 2 to 3 times a week. When buying a scrub or anything with beads, check the ingredients label. Actually read it. If the exfoliants are not natural (ie. made of plastic) they pose a threat to ocean life when you rinse your face and wash plastic beads down the drain. Fish eat these beats thinking that they are food and can die from poisoning. Safe to use products will usually say “natural exfoliants” but check the label just in case. Walnut shell is a natural exfoliant, as are salt and brown sugar.
Wash your hands before you wash your face. You definitely don’t want to get germs on your face from your hands! Wet your face with lukewarm water and apply a small amount of cleanser to your wet fingertips. Apply gently in a circular motion, but don’t scrub. Scrubbing pulls at your skin and can cause premature wrinkles and lines. Rinse all of the cleanser off and pat your face dry with a soft towel. Don’t rub your face dry because it pulls your skin the same way harsh scrubbing does. Apply a moisturizer with an SPF of at least 15 to prevent aging from sun damage.
In general, don’t use harsh chemicals on your face and consult your regular doctor for a referral to a dermatologist if your skin tends to have issues. The American Academy of Dermatologists has a great website with lots of information from certified skin doctors.