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The Right Way To Wash Your Face (And What You’re Doing Wrong!)

Something as simple as washing your face may seem like a no brainer. The truth is, a huge number of people are doing it wrong. Over-scrubbing, over-washing, under-moisturizing…the list of common cleansing mistakes is long and almost everyone has committed at least one of these major skin care no-no’s. When it comes to cleansing, here’s the lowdown on what’s good practice and what you should avoid at all costs.


Find the Right Cleanser

Before you even begin washing your face, it’s important to know that you’re using a reliable cleanser with good ingredients. Foaming cleansers high in alcohols and sodium lauryl sulfates may make your skin feel squeaky clean but they are probably leaving your face stripped of essential oils and fats. A study by the Journal of Hospital Infection found that regular cleansing with alcohol-based products slowly erodes the skin’s barrier. Cleansers loaded with these ingredients will dry your skin out and can create irritation and even breakouts.

Instead, we recommend choosing a cleanser that will promote and restore your skin’s natural barrier. Our COSMINOLOGY So Universally Clean cleanser is a non foaming cleanser rich in botanicals and antioxidants that will remove debris and impurities without stripping your skin of its natural moisture. Aloe vera, vitamin E, and lavender essential oil work together to promote softness and reduce irritation and redness for a noticeably improved complexion.


Be Gentle

In the pursuit of a clean face, many people treat their skin far too roughly. Contrary to what you may think, a clean face is entirely possible without rubbing your skin raw in front of the mirror. When cleansing, be gentle. Do not pull, aggressively rub, or scratch at your face. Instead, gently massage the cleanser into your face in outward circular motions for about a minute to give the ingredients time to work and then rinse. Pat your skin dry with a clean towel rather than rubbing. Treating your skin roughly will strip the natural barrier of your skin and can lead to irritation and premature wrinkling.


Less Is More

Many people who begin a skincare journey have a tendency to overdo it without realizing the damage that this can cause. We recommend starting with simple, nourishing products and

allowing skin time to adjust before adding more. If you’re washing your face a million times a day expecting incredible results, you may be doing far more harm than good. Overwashing can be drying, stripping, and irritating.

In fact, skin that is overwashed may begin to produce more oil to compensate for what is being stripped which can lead to more breakouts. For best results, cleanse your face once or twice per day or after strenuous exercise and sweating. Cleansers like our COSMINOLOGY So Universally Clean cleanser are gentle enough for sensitive skin and can easily be worked into any basic routine to produce great results. Use in the morning with water for a clean canvas or at night without rinsing to treat skin and leave it smooth, soft, and supple. It’s even gentle enough that we prescribe it for post procedure care.


Excessive Exfoliation

Exfoliating is an essential part of any good skincare routine but like so many aspects or cleansing it’s easy get carried away. Scrubbing your face raw every day may seem like the right

move but will actually leave your skin crying out for a cease fire. Vicky Tsia, founder of Tatcha,

describes the harm of over-exfoliation as simply “taking off more of your skin than is ready to come off”. She explains that raw, red, or sensitive skin are clear signals that you should scale back your exfoliation routine immediately to avoid damage.

We recommend that patients desiring at home exfoliation avoid harsh ingredients such as large-particle physical exfoliants like walnuts, pits, or husks. Though these may seem like natural solutions, they can create microtears in your skin and lead to damage over time. Exfoliating brushes should also be used with caution as well.


Chemical exfoliants, on the other hand, are gentler. Products containing alpha and beta hydroxy

acids, known as AHA and BHA’s, can be used once or twice a week and can give you the results you’re looking for without damaging your skin. I had a patient come in once with a terrible rash and excoriations all over her face that proceeded to become infected. When I asked her what may have caused this, she reluctantly admitted that she used a brillo pad on her face thinking it would help her wrinkles. Chemical exfoliants, on the other hand, are gentler. Products containing alpha and beta hydroxy acids, known as AHA and BHA’s, can be used once or twice a week and can give you the results you’re looking for without damaging your skin. I had a patient come in once with a terrible rash and excoriations all over her face that proceeded to become infected. When I asked her what may have caused this, she reluctantly admitted that she used a brillo pad on her face thinking it would help her wrinkles! Our recommendation is COSMINOLOGY’S Moon Rock Illuminator which will leave your skin with a radiant glow, without stripping the barrier.


Add The Moisture Back

No cleansing routine should be considered complete without moisturizing. Whether your skin is oily, acne prone, or dry, all skin types can benefit from a moisturizer that fits their routine. Failing to include moisturizer in your cleansing routine is a recipe for disaster and will lead to not only chronically dry skin but also overproduction of oil and increased breakouts.


Common Cleansing Questions:

What about makeup wipes?

Anyone who has stumbled into their apartment after a long night out knows the irresistible allure of disposable makeup wipes. But these convenience items should not be your first line of defense. Makeup wipes leave behind dirt, grime, and makeup on your skin and should not be relied upon to do it all, not to mention the rubbing and pulling is rough on the delicate skin around your eyes. As a rule of thumb, follow up any basic form of makeup removal with a good cleanser to ensure no pore-clogging residue is left behind.

Is cold water really best?

Not particularly. When washing your face, it’s best to avoid extreme temperatures at either end of the spectrum which can irritate or dry out your skin. Aim for comfortably warm water to open your pores for cleansing without causing drying.

What products are best for my skin?

Everyone’s skin is unique and their care should reflect that. For best results, we like to meet with patients to determine their needs and provide them with the best products and procedures to meet their individual concerns.



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