Face washing. Of all the skin care steps, this is the one that most individuals find the easiest to understand and the simplest to implement. And yet, despite its simplicity - or, perhaps, because of it - it's the step that so many of us are doing wrong. Yes, you heard that right: you are likely improperly washing your face.
Thorough, yet gentle cleansing is essential in that it preps the face for the skin care steps that follow. To be sure you get it right, read through the tips below and put them into practice the next time you implement your skin care routine:
Use of a ph-balanced facial cleanser that is properly formulated for your skin type is essential. If you have skin that ranges between normal to dry, look for a moisturizing cleanser without harsh ingredients, such as Lexli Cleansing Lotion, which, like all Lexli products, features a therapeutic base of organic, pharmaceutical-grade aloe vera. Oily skin? Depending on how oily your skin is, you might benefit from a gel-based formulation that helps to control sebum. (Lexli customers with mild oiliness should use Cleansing Lotion. Those with more severe oiliness should use Acne Cleanser). Prone to acne? Be sure to select a formulation that minimizes bacteria, reduces inflammation and helps to keep pores clear, such as Lexli Acne Cleanser.
The cardinal rule of skin cleansing is to never use soap. Our skin features a delicate acid mantle that protects the skin from moisture loss. Soap strips this acid mantle, leaving our skin prone to dryness, irritation and inflammation.
Contrary to what we've long been led to believe, skin pores do not swing open and closed when hot water is applied. Rather, by washing with hot water, we stand the potential of drying our skin and causing irritation. With that said, the use of cold water can be refreshing, especially in the morning, and will not harm the skin.
Washcloths and towels are a breeding ground for bacteria. To ensure optimal skin health, always use clean cloths to wash and fresh towels to dry. Additionally, be sure to wash your hands before touching your face.
If your skin is normal, combination, oily or acne-prone, it should be washed at the start of the morning and evening skin care routines, as well as before and after vigorous exercise. This is essential to keeping skin oils and buildup in check. While most individuals with dry skin can benefit from twice-daily face washing, some may find that their skin responds best to just a splash of water in the morning in lieu of facial cleansing.
It is imperative that you do not over-wash your skin. Cleansing too frequently or harshly can harm the skin's acid mantle and irritate or inflame the skin, setting into motion a host of side effects, including acne breakouts.
Products like the Clarisonic Facial Cleansing Brush have gotten a lot of attention in recent years. When used with a gentle brush head, cleansing brushes can provide light exfoliation that benefits most skin types. However, use it too often and you will likely experience skin irritation and inflammation. Cleansing brushes should be used just 1-2 times per week and only on skin that is not sensitive.
Proper Face Washing Steps:
- Pull hair back with a spa headband to ensure your entire face is exposed and can be properly cleansed.
- In the evening, remove eye makeup using the product of your choice.
- Dampen face with lukewarm water using a washcloth or your hands.
- Apply a quarter-size amount of facial cleanser to the palms of hands. Using fingertips, gently massage product onto dampened skin using a circular motion. Be sure to cover the entire face and neck and pay particular attention to your t-zone and any areas prone to breakouts. Continue massaging product onto face for approximately 30 seconds to ensure that makeup, dirt and debris are fully loosened from the skin's surface. (Most of us do not massage product onto our skin long enough when cleansing).
- Using lukewarm water, remove all traces of cleanser from the skin. This is best done with a washcloth that is repeatedly rinsed but may also be done with the hands. Be mindful to remove all cleanser from the hairline - an area where traces often remain, which can lead to breakouts.
- When fully rinsed, gently blot face dry using a clean, dry towel. Do not rub the skin, as this can cause inflammation and irritation.
- After skin is dry, apply a gentle toner like Lexli Tone & Balance aloe vera toner to balance the skin and remove final traces of makeup. This is especially important after use of mineral makeup or sunblocks, as these products are particularly difficult to fully remove from the skin. Spritz product onto face and gently remove with a clean, dry cloth or cotton round. Follow with a final spritz onto the face. Let product dry before continuing with next skin care steps.