Your mother probably told you to be sure to wash your face every night before going to bed, and no doubt you complied. Those good habits we developed as kids, however, often get swept aside as we get older and busier. Busy schedules, late nights, and general exhaustion all contribute to that overpowering temptation to crawl under the covers without preparing one’s skin for bed. As with so many things, mom was right all along. Let me fill you in on a few important reasons why you never want to skip this important step in your skincare regimen.
If you want your skin to feel healthy and to get the most out of your other beauty products, cleansing your face daily is a must. Neglecting to wash your face leaves on a layer of dead skin cells, bacteria, dirt, sweat, and pollutants. Layer after layer will build up and only a facial cleanser can remove it completely and gently without causing any further damage.
Premature aging is also an inevitable side-effect of not using a cleanser on a regular basis. Deepened wrinkles and enlarged pores are just a few of the many problems you will eventually encounter, even if you still rinse your face with water.
So every time you slip between the sheets without properly cleansing your face, you are allowing toxins to spend the night eroding your skin’s health. It’s not your imagination – you can actually see the resulting damage the next morning in the form of puffy eyes, dark circles, breakouts and loss of elasticity.
Keeping Your Face Healthy & Clean
On the positive side, when your face is clean, it allows the other products you use to work even better. Proper cleansing clears your pores, and prepares the skin to effectively absorb any serums and moisturizers that follow.
Good facial cleansers gently remove pollutants, bacteria and unwanted debris from our faces without stripping away our natural oils. If you live in an urban environment like I do – or really just about anywhere in our modern world - environmental impurities get lodged in your pores. These miniscule particles of pollution break down the skin’s natural barrier, and expose it to free radicals and collagen breakdown. Leaving these pollutants in your skin overnight does double damage by not allowing the skin’s natural repair cycle to work as efficiently.
Also, if you think you can get away with simply splashing your face with water, think again. Even if you don’t wear makeup, rinsing with water is not enough to thoroughly clean your face and clear your pores. A well formulated cleanser is a must!
Tips for Cleanser Selection and Use
- Plain old soap does not do the trick. Using bar soap or body wash on your face causes unnecessary damage that a facial cleanser is formulated to avoid. Bar soaps have a harsh pH that removes your skin’s naturally moisturizing substances (sebum) and leave behind residue, counteracting the purpose of cleansing in the first place.
- Wash your hands first. This one might seem like a no-brainer, but take a second and think about it: you wouldn’t clean your car with a dirty rag, or clean your floor with a filthy mop. Start your skincare routine each day by first washing your hands, and then washing your face.
- Take your time. Most people spend a maximum of twenty seconds on this step of their routine – and it simply isn’t enough to rid your skin of all the dirt and pollutants that are clinging to your face. Massage the cleanser into your face for a whole minute. Spend serious time on each section of your face – this will not only help you cleanse thoroughly, but it will also stimulate blood flow under your skin.
- Use lukewarm water. Cleansing your skin with extremely hot or cold water is a no-no – it irritates the skin and can cause broken capillaries, increased inflammation and even acne. The most common reason people use scalding hot water to wash their face is the myth that heat opens your pores. The truth is that your pores are not sensitive to temperature and they don’t have muscles – they don’t open or fold like flower petals in sunshine. For the healthiest results, use lukewarm water when washing and rinsing your face.
- Rinse thoroughly – do not skimp on this step! Make sure all cleanser product has vacated the premises of your face before moving on to the next step in your routine. And don’t neglect the hairline or jawline, which can easily and unintentionally go ignored.
- Wash your face after the gym – every time. Breakouts can be caused by allowing sweat to remain on your skin after a workout. If you workout first thing in the morning, you can wait until after your sweat sesh to cleanse your face, but otherwise plan to add this cleanse to your morning and evening skincare routines.
You don’t need a lot of time, or any fancy equipment to effectively cleanse your face. Apply your cleanser to your hands or a clean washcloth, moisten with water, and wash thoroughly (twice if wearing makeup.) It’s as simple as that.
So, the next time you’re tempted to crawl into bed without washing your face, remember it takes only a few minutes to set the stage for beautiful skin that lasts a lifetime. You’ll be happy you did in the morning!