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Air-Drying Your Face May Be The Secret To Glowy Skin

I, like many other people, have been struggling with my skin for what seems like centuries at this point. I’ve tried every face mask, viral social media-backed cleanser, and advanced serum on the market, but still struggle to achieve soft, oil-free, and glowy skin. However, thanks to a recent TikTok trend, I may have found the skincare secret to glowy skin. Spoiler alert: it’s not even a product.

Skin care TikTok has seemingly cracked the code for problem skin: instead of using a towel to dry your face after cleansing, it’s actually more beneficial to let your face air-dry before applying any product. #SkinTok is full of testimonies and routines claiming that letting your face air-dry might be the secret to glowy, blemish-free skin. However, faces on a screen can only tell you part of the story.

Her Campus talked to Dr. Tiina Meder, a dermatologist and founder of Meder Beauty, to find out if air-drying your face is really worth the hype—and if it can transform your skin for the better.

Are There Any Benefits To Air-Drying Your Face?

It’s almost like muscle memory: as soon as you’re done cleansing your face, and your skin is sopping wet, your first instinct is to reach for a towel and dry off. However, while this is what we’ve been trained to do for, well, forever, Meder recommends skipping the towel and opting for an air-dry.

“Face drying is the most natural way to dry the skin,” Meder tells Her Campus. “Natural water’s evaporation helps the skin microbiome to adapt and keeps the natural signaling intact.”

Air-drying your face is also great for those who may struggle with their skin when it comes to things like irritation and inflammation.

“It’s especially important for sensitive or rosacea-prone skin because mechanical contact with a towel can trigger sensitivity reactions,” says Meder. “Towel drying is mechanically irritating and it’s a potential source of bacterial, fungi, or virus contamination.”


Not exactly. While a clean, freshly sanitized towel is harmless to the skin, a sterile towel is almost impossible to have on hand (especially in those dorm bathrooms).

“A wet towel is a perfect environment for a pathogenic microflora to grow, so if you cannot keep it in the sterilized dry box, you are in trouble,” Meder says. “It’s not sustainable to use a towel once, and the alternative is the use of Kleenex paper towels—which is not ideal, obviously. We should not be afraid of water; the natural evaporation process trains the barrier function of our skin and helps us to adapt to the environment.”

By using and reusing a towel, you may be exposing your skin to bacteria, fungi, and other things that may cause blemishes, irritation, and dullness. But, don’t freak out! You won’t be infected if you use a towel or washcloth—just make sure you’re keeping them clean, dry, and away from damp and dirty spaces.

Sounds Good. How Do I Do It?

Air-drying your face is as easy as it sounds: after cleansing, skip a towel and wait for a moment as your face dries—just until it’s slightly damp. From there, continue your skincare routine with serums, then treatments, and moisturizers. Your damp skin will allow the product to soak in more easily and will leave you with a hydrated and glowy look.

The world of skin care is vast, and there are so many tips, tricks, and products that it can be hard to find what really works for you. So, if you’re struggling with blemished and dull skin like me (send me skin care recs, pls and thx), consider throwing in the towel and opting for a little air-drying magic. Who knows? Maybe TikTok girlies have cracked the code yet again.

julianna (she/her) is an associate editor at her campus where she oversees the wellness vertical and all things sex and relationships, wellness, mental health, astrology, and gen-z. during her undergraduate career at chapman university, julianna's work appeared in as if magazine and taylor magazine. additionally, her work as a screenwriter has been recognized and awarded at film festivals worldwide. when she's not writing burning hot takes and spilling way too much about her personal life online, you can find julianna anywhere books, beers, and bands are.