Most people wash their face on reflex: wet face, apply cleanser, rinse off. This sounds simple enough, but many get it wrong. They use the wrong products, wash their face too often (or not often enough), or get too aggressive with their cleansing—any of which could lead to breakouts. Washing your face properly is the first line of defence against acne. Find out how to do it right!
When should you wash your face?
- Morning cleanse: As you toss and turn at night, saliva from the mouth and oil from the hair accumulates on your face. Dust, dirt, and dead skin cells could also transfer to your skin from the bed linen. Washing your face right after waking up clears all of this gunk from your pores.
- Night cleanse: Over the course of the day, your skin accumulates oil, sweat, and dust. It is important to clear out the grime in the evening. Otherwise, it could clog the pores, leave the skin feeling irritated, and increase the risk of breakouts.
Sometimes, you may need to cleanse a third time—say, if you get sweaty after a workout or a long commute, or on hot and humid days. Tip: Avoid washing your face too many times. This could strip your face of good oils that keep the skin supple. It may also erode the skin’s natural protective coating. Over-washing leaves the skin feeling dry, flaky, and irritated.
Face wash 101: Know your tools
Water, a facial cleanser, and a towel are all you need to wash your face. If you are acne-prone, however, common cleansing mistakes could aggravate your acne. Here are some face washing tips to keep in mind:
- Water temperature: Very hot water dries out the skin, leaving it flaky, itchy, and at risk of breaking out. Cold water, on the other hand, does not open the pores enough to remove dirt. The secret ingredient is lukewarm water. It relaxes the pores and removes dirt without stripping the skin of natural oils.
- Facial cleanser: There is no single best cleanser for acne. Invest in products that suit your skin type. If your skin is oily and acne-prone, foaming cleansers could help. Dry or sensitive skin could benefit from gentle, moisturising cleansers. Just don’t reach for bath soaps—they leave the skin feeling tight and dry.
- Face towels: Do you reuse the same towel again and again? Bad idea. By doing so, you risk spreading bacteria and dirt from the towel to the face. It’s best to bring out fresh towels after every few uses.
Acne-prone skin also benefits from periodic exfoliation. Just avoid buying an exfoliating cleanser for everyday use, as that could stress out your skin. Instead, pick up a standalone cleanser for use once or twice a week. This is effective in removing excess grime from the pores.
Clear skin in 7 steps
Follow this seven-step process to get the most out of your cleansing routine:
- Wash your hands with mild soap. Dirty hands could transfer bacteria and impurities to the face.
- Wet your face and neck with lukewarm water.
- Take a coin-sized amount of facial cleanser on your hand. Rub your hands together. This spreads the product evenly over the palms and fingers, thus enabling even application.
- Use gentle circular motions to apply the product all over the face and neck. Lather for about 30 seconds but do not scrub too hard.
- Rinse off the cleanser with lukewarm water.
- Pat the skin dry with a clean face towel. Do not rub as that could aggravate your acne.
Don’t stop at cleansing
To keep acne away, look beyond just washing the face. Here are some easy ways to enhance your complexion and keep it acne-free:
- Swipe on some toner: When used after cleansing, a toner clears the pores, balances the skin’s pH level, and primes the skin for any serums and treatments that may follow.
- Fight the acne: Rather than use multiple anti-acne products, target the root cause with a lightweight formula like Clearica Anti-Acne Cream. It clears the pores, eliminates acne bacteria, fights infection, reduces redness, and revives the skin, all in one go!
- Never skip moisturiser: Oily, acne-prone skin needs moisturiser too. If moisturisers and lotions make your skin feel heavy or greasy, try a gel-based formulation. For maximum absorption, massage in the moisturiser post-cleanse while the skin is still damp.
There’s no avoiding the occasional breakout. However, an effective skincare regimen maintains skin health and offers protection from acne flares. You don’t even need a multitude of products. A few carefully selected goodies are enough to enhance your complexion and keep it pimple-free!