X

Enter to win a FREE
Magnetight Mask
from Dr. Brandt!

*By entering to win, you agree to receive future emails from Exuviance.

You're Doing It Wrong: Washing Your Face

Large Editorial Image


September 8, 2015

It seems like every time you read an article about the beauty secrets of French women, they all seem to have two perplexing things in common: they spend a total of 50 cents on beauty products and follow their grandmother’s advice to only ever wash their face with plain water. I’ve never had the courage to do this myself. First of all, I live and breathe products (the more, the better, which no dermatologist on earth would recommend). I’m also deathly afraid that my pores will immediately rebel and set forth a surge of oil that will cause my face to erupt in whiteheads, blackheads and pimples should I give up my sudsy facial cleanser.

So, how should we really be washing our faces? Are all cleansers as drying and damaging as we think? Or are they a necessary component in keeping our skin healthy and clear?

“Skin should absolutely be washed with a facial cleanser instead of plain water,” says Dr. Ahmed Abdullah, a board-certified plastic surgeon and the founder/lead formulator at Lexli, the premier line of aloe-based skin care. “Throughout the day, your skin comes into contacts with pollutants, dirt and bacteria that build up on the skin. The sebum (oil) that is regularly excreted by the skin acts like a magnet, attracting and holding onto all that grime. This can cause pores to clog, resulting in acne and other negative skin characteristics. You can’t remove this build-up, along with makeup, using water alone.”

Abdullah says many patients ask him whether it’s necessary to use a cleanser in the morning, since the assumption is that your face doesn’t get dirty while you sleep at night. “Sebum does build up on the skin and for that reason, I do suggest using a facial cleanser in the morning, especially if you are prone to acne or have oily skin,” he says. “Proper cleansing in the morning gives the skin a nice foundation on which to apply other skin care products, like moisturizer and sunscreen, as well as makeup.”

When searching for the perfect cleanser, it’s important to look for gentle, therapeutic ingredients, like aloe vera, that will nurture the skin instead of stripping it of natural oils, according to Abdullah. Some ingredients in facial cleaners that he says should be avoided at all costs include:

Sulfates. “Sulfates, including sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, are surfactants that are used in facial cleansers to foam and remove oil. They can be quite irritating to the skin and can cause dryness, redness and itching.”

Alcohol. “Alcohol is generally used in skin care products for two reasons: it reduces the ‘weight’ of a product and it removes the skin’s protective lipids, making it easier for ingredients to penetrate. By removing the skin’s moisture barrier, alcohol leaves the skin open to the strong potential for dryness, redness, itching, breakouts, and more.”

Microbeads, microspheres, granules, etc. “Some facial cleansers add these ingredients to exfoliate the skin. However, these physical exfoliates can create microscopic tears in the skin that lead to damage.”

The only time Abdullah recommends using just plain water to wash your face is if you’re faced with the conundrum of needing to wash, but only having access to a harsh soap that is going to do more damage than good. “If given the alternative between using an aggressive, improperly formulated facial cleanser or using water alone, I would advise using water,” Abdullah says. “However, there are many gently formulated facial cleansers available on the market that can preserve the integrity of the skin while removing those unwanted substances that sit on its surface. Those with significantly sensitive and/or dry skin might see a benefit from the simplicity of water-only facial cleansing but, at most, I’d recommend only doing it in the morning.”

For more beauty tips, check out the best fall lipstick shades to try according to your hair color and how to get rid of a scar.

 

Shop facial cleanser

More facial cleanser | 3 of 730 »

Skin Medica GlyPro Exfoliating Facial Cleanser by

Skinmedica

Buy Now

Philosophy 'purity Made Simple' One-Step Facial Cleanser by

philosophy

Buy Now

Since 1851 Ultra Facial Cleanser by

Kiehl's

Buy Now




  • Will Ultra Violet Hair Be The Next Big Hair Trend Of 2018?

    Will Ultra Violet Hair Be The Next Big Hair Trend Of 2018?

    Beauty

    today

  • Here's Where To Buy MAC's Discontinued Uninterrupted Eye Shadow

    Here's Where To Buy MAC's Discontinued Uninterrupted Eye Shadow

    Beauty

    today

  • Upgrade Your Wardrobe With A Stylish Twist Front Top

    Upgrade Your Wardrobe With A Stylish Twist Front Top

    Shop

    today

  • Nordstrom Just Put The Coolest Pair Of Black Leggings On Sale--Get A Pair ASAP!

    Nordstrom Just Put The Coolest Pair Of Black Leggings On Sale--Get A Pair ASAP!

    Style

    today

  • Every Woman Should Own A Pair Of These Amazing $18 Leggings From Old Navy

    Every Woman Should Own A Pair Of These Amazing $18 Leggings From Old Navy

    Shop

    today

  • These Are The Best Collaborations You <em>Need</em> To Know About Now

    Rachel Roy Just Did The Best Thing Ever For Her Birthday

    Shop

    today

  • Target Casually Just Dropped A 50-Piece Collaboration This Morning

    Target Casually Just Dropped A 50-Piece Collaboration This Morning

    1 day

  • 6 Lazy-Girl Weight Loss Hacks to Lose 6 Pounds Quickly

    6 Lazy-Girl Weight Loss Hacks to Lose 6 Pounds Quickly

    1 day

  • These Are The Most Slimming Leggings Ever & They're On Sale

    These Are The Most Slimming Leggings Ever & They're On Sale

    2 days

  • The One Sneaker Everyone Will Be Wearing This Spring

    The One Sneaker Everyone Will Be Wearing This Spring

    2 days

  • We're Giving Away 100 Dr. Brandt Magnetight Age Defier Facial Masks #SampleSaturday

    We're Giving Away 100 Dr. Brandt Magnetight Age Defier Facial Masks #SampleSaturday

    Beauty

    2 days

  • DIY Face Masks For Acne-Prone Skin

    DIY Face Masks For Acne-Prone Skin

    Beauty

    3 days

  • Lush's BOGO Sale Is Happening Now & You Can't Miss These Deals!

    Lush's BOGO Sale Is Happening Now & You Can't Miss These Deals!

    Beauty

    3 days

  • Here's Where To Get A Pair Of Hunter Rain Boots For 50% Off

    Here's Where To Get A Pair Of Hunter Rain Boots For 50% Off

    Style

    3 days

  • Drop Everything--L.L. Bean's Always-Sold-Out Bean Boots Are On Sale Right Now #ThisNeverHappens

    Drop Everything--L.L. Bean's Always-Sold-Out Bean Boots Are On Sale Right Now #ThisNeverHappens

    Style

    3 days

  • Keep Your Kid On Track With The Smart Watch That Teaches Good Habits

    Keep Your Kid On Track With The Smart Watch That Teaches Good Habits

    3 days

  • Psst! Sole Society Just Put The Most Amazing Pair Of Suede Boots On Sale For Just $35

    Psst! Sole Society Just Put The Most Amazing Pair Of Suede Boots On Sale For Just $35

    Style

    3 days

  • Free Leggings at Forever 21 This Weekend? Yes, Please!

    Free Leggings at Forever 21 This Weekend? Yes, Please!

    3 days

  • Every Woman Should Own This $17 Top In Every Color (Yes, It's That Good)

    Every Woman Should Own This $17 Top In Every Color (Yes, It's That Good)

    Style

    3 days

  • These Amazingly Soft And Comfy Lounge Pants Are <em>Better</em> Than Leggings--Yes, Really!

    These Amazingly Soft And Comfy Lounge Pants Are Better Than Leggings--Yes, Really!

    Style

    3 days

  • This Cozy $29 Sweater Keeps Selling Out--Get Yours Here Before It's Gone (Again)

    This Cozy $29 Sweater Keeps Selling Out--Get Yours Here Before It's Gone (Again)

    Style

    3 days

  • We Found The Best Workout Leggings Under $20, So You Can Stop Looking!

    We Found The Best Workout Leggings Under $20, So You Can Stop Looking!

    Style

    3 days

  • Grab These Amazing Bluetooth Speakers Shoppers Love For Just $29 Today

    Grab These Amazing Bluetooth Speakers Shoppers Love For Just $29 Today

    Shop

    3 days

  • Order A Pair Of These Bestselling, Super Slimming Black Leggings From Nordstrom While They're On Sale

    Order A Pair Of These Super Slimming Black Leggings From Nordstrom While They're Still On Sale

    Style

    3 days

  • I Tried The Static Nails That Are About To Be Everywhere

    I Tried The Static Nails That Are About To Be Everywhere

    Beauty

    3 days

  • Here's How To Rock A Stylish Pair Of Bow Shoes

    Here's How To Rock A Stylish Pair Of Bow Shoes

    Shop

    4 days

  • You Saw It Here First: We Have The First Look (And Swatches!) Of The M.A.C. Cosmetics Studio Waterweight Pressed Powder!

    You Saw It Here First: We Have The First Look (And Swatches!) Of The M.A.C. Cosmetics Studio Waterweight Pressed Powder!

    Beauty

    4 days

  • Major Beauty Alert: We've Got Exclusive Swatches Of The New M.A.C. Cosmetics Studio Waterweight Concealer!

    Major Beauty Alert: We've Got Exclusive Swatches Of The New M.A.C. Cosmetics Studio Waterweight Concealer!

    Beauty

    4 days

  • Nordstrom Is Basically Giving Skinny Jeans Away With This 40% Off Sale

    Nordstrom Is Basically Giving Skinny Jeans Away With This 40% Off Sale

    4 days

  • 6 Super Bowl Party Ideas For People Who Aren't The *Biggest* Football Fans

    6 Super Bowl Party Ideas For People Who Aren't The *Biggest* Football Fans

    4 days

  • Surprise! You Can Now Buy Balmain x L'Oreal Lipsticks At Ulta

    Surprise! You Can Now Buy Balmain x L'Oreal Lipsticks At Ulta

    Beauty

    4 days

  • The One Ingredient You Should Be Using For Dry Skin And Nails, According To Experts

    The One Ingredient You Should Be Using For Dry Skin And Nails, According To Experts

    Beauty

    today

  • 5 Cheap Products Dermatologists Swear By To Get Rid Of Blackheads

    5 Cheap Products Dermatologists Swear By To Get Rid Of Blackheads

    Beauty

    today

  • 4 Drugstore Skincare Products You Should Stop Using In 2018, According To A Dermatologist

    4 Drugstore Skincare Products You Should Stop Using In 2018, According To A Dermatologist

    Beauty

    today

  • The One Anti-Aging Moisturizer You Should Use Every Night, According To A Dermatologist

    The One Anti-Aging Moisturizer You Should Use Every Night, According To A Dermatologist

    Beauty

    today

  • 4 Trends You Should Start Wearing In 2018, According To Fashion Experts

    4 Trends You Should Start Wearing In 2018, According To Fashion Experts

    Style

    today

  • Why You Shouldn’t Take Multiple Showers In One Day (Say It Ain't So!)

    Why You Shouldn’t Take Multiple Showers In One Day (Say It Ain't So!)

    Beauty

    today

  • Are You Applying Your Foundation Wrong? Here Are Some Common Mistakes

    Are You Applying Your Foundation Wrong? Here Are Some Common Mistakes

    Beauty

    1 day

  • The One Conditioner You Should Stop Using, According To Dermatologists

    The One Conditioner You Should Stop Using, According To Dermatologists

    Beauty

    1 day

  • The One Anti-Aging Moisturizer You Should Stop Using, According To Dermatologists

    The One Anti-Aging Moisturizer You Should Stop Using, According To Dermatologists

    Beauty

    2 days

  • The One Cleanser You Should Stop Using, According To Dermatologists

    The One Cleanser You Should Stop Using, According To Dermatologists

    Beauty

    2 days

  • 5 Vitamins Dermatologists Swear By For Sagging Skin

    5 Vitamins Dermatologists Swear By For Sagging Skin

    Beauty

    3 days

  • This Is The Worst Product You Can Use To Get Rid Of Pimples, According To A Dermatologist

    This Is The Worst Product You Can Use To Get Rid Of Pimples, According To A Dermatologist

    Beauty

    3 days

  • Have You Been Using The Wrong Deodorant?

    Have You Been Using The Wrong Deodorant?

    Beauty

    3 days

  • The Real Reason Chris Pratt & Anna Faris Got Divorced

    The Real Reason Chris Pratt & Anna Faris Got Divorced

    Celebrity

    3 days

  • The One Thing You Should NEVER Do When Returning Items You Ordered Online

    The One Thing You Should NEVER Do When Returning Items You Ordered Online

    Style

    4 days

  • 5 Cheap Products Dermatologists Swear By To Get Rid Of Pimples Overnight

    5 Cheap Products Dermatologists Swear By To Get Rid Of Pimples Overnight

    Beauty

    4 days

  • Kim Kardashian Just Made The Most Amazing Announcement Ever & We're Freaking Out!

    Kim Kardashian Just Made The Most Amazing Announcement Ever & We're Freaking Out!

    Celebrity

    4 days

  • The One Moisturizer You Should Have Stopped Using A Long Time Ago, According To A Dermatologist

    The One Moisturizer You Should Have Stopped Using A Long Time Ago, According To A Dermatologist

    Beauty

    4 days

  • 5 Celebs You Didn't Know Struggle With Acne

    5 Celebs You Didn't Know Struggle With Acne

    Beauty

    4 days

  • The One Concealer You Should Stop Using, According To Dermatologists

    The One Concealer You Should Stop Using, According To Dermatologists

    Beauty

    5 days

  • What Is Farm-to-Skin? Here's Everything You Need To Know About The Up-and-Coming Beauty Trend

    What Is Farm-to-Skin? Here's Everything You Need To Know About The Up-and-Coming Beauty Trend

    Beauty

    5 days

  • 5 Cheap Products Dermatologists Swear By To Get Rid Of Under-Eye Bags

    5 Cheap Products Dermatologists Swear By To Get Rid Of Under-Eye Bags

    Beauty

    5 days