Are you washing your face the right way?

Rinse your face with lukewarm water and pat-dry with a soft towel.

Rinse your face with lukewarm water and pat-dry with a soft towel.

Photo credit: fotosearch

What you need to know:

  • How often you should wash your face varies between 2 and 3 times a day.
  • Wash your face after a sporting event or a session at the gym or a run in your estate that ends up with heavy sweating.

How often do you wash your face? How do you wash your face? Do you wash in the shower with soap and water? Do you put water in a basin and wash your face with bar soap? What type of water, between cold and hot do you use when washing your face? All these are factors that determine whether you wash your face the correct way.

How often should you wash your face?

This may vary from one to two times per day. According to Dr. Todd Minars, a dermatologist and professor of dermatology at the University of Miami’s School of Medicine, you should really only need to wash your face once per day. “When we sleep, most of us have a clean face from removing the day's grime or makeup. This implies that in the mornings, you may not always need a thorough face washing outside of your normal showering routine” he says. “However, a thorough face washing twice a day, at night and in the morning may be necessary if you experience specific issues that require attention.” There are times, though when you may need to wash your face a third time. Most of these times include after a sporting event or a session at the gym or a run in your estate that ends up with heavy sweating. “Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, irritates the skin. Wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating,” the American Academy of Dermatology recommends. When you wash your face multiple times within the day, you risk losing natural oils and fats in the skin. This leads to skin cells being pulled apart and creating room for bacteria and dirt to enter the skin. When dirt and bacteria enter your skin, you will be at risk of inflammation and infections.

The proper steps to follow

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, you should follow these steps when washing your face:

  • Ensure that you wash your hand first before you start washing your face
  • Use a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser that does not contain alcohol
  • Wet your face with lukewarm water and use your fingertips to apply cleanser
  • Using a washcloth, mesh sponge, or anything other than your fingertips can irritate your skin
  • Resist the temptation to scrub your skin because scrubbing irritates the skin
  • Do not over-wash your face lest you damage your skin
  • Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry with a soft towel
  • Apply moisturiser if your skin is dry or itchy.
  • Be gentle when applying any cream around your eyes.

Bar soaps

When washing your face, choose the right bar soap. This includes bar soaps that have been certified by the Kenya Bureau of Standards for facial use. For instance, a bar soap that is not formulated for facial use can harm your skin by altering the pH balance of the skin.

  • A pH that is above 7 is alkaline, while a pH that is below 7 is acidic. The pH of skin is generally weakly acidic. This means that the ideal products to use on your skin when washing your face should have a similar pH.  According to the health journal Healthline, the average pH level in the traditional soap will be between 9 and 10. However, your skin’s normal pH level is only 4 to 5. As a result, soaps that have a high pH will tend to disrupt your skin’s natural pH. This will make it less acidic and susceptible to skin conditions such as acne and skin dryness.

Water temperature and cleansers

According to face washing guidelines from the medical and cosmetic dermatology hospital Anne Arundel Dermatology, you will be better off washing your face at the sink than in the shower because of the water temperature. “The shower water is typically a higher temperature than is recommendable for wash facing. You should be cautious because hot water can cause facial skin irritation and dryness,” the guidelines state. When cold water is contrasted with hot water, cold water has been generally viewed as having more health benefits including acne and dryness prevention. They further recommend that you rub the cleanser into your skin without scrubbing your face. The cleansers you use should match your skin type. For instance, your cleansers should be suited for skin types such as oily, dry, combination, or acne-prone. “If you have dry skin, a hydrating face wash may be better than one made for oil-control. In general, if your face feels tight, dry, or itchy after you wash it, it may not be the best type of cleanser for your skin.” After washing your face, rinse it with lukewarm water and gently pat dry with a clean towel.


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