The Basics of Washing your Face


In doing research for my recent post on a good morning skincare regimen, I came across a tutorial from the American Academy of Dermatology explaining “Face washing 101.” I had never before thought twice about the technique of washing my face, but turns out there’s actually a correct way to go about your daily facial cleanse! The following is a short and pretty cheesy video from the AAD about what you should and shouldn’t do:

Face Washing Tips:

If you’re like me and don’t love watching videos (other than cute animal ones), here’s the breakdown from the AAD and yours truly:

  • Use a mild gentle cleanser that doesn’t dry out your face. Avoid ingredients like isopropyl alcohol, antibacterial, deodorant soaps, or retinoids unless you have acne.
  • Dampen your face with lukewarm water (not hot!) and use the tips of your fingers to massage the cleaner into your face. Your fingertips apply the perfect amount of pressure; stay away from using anything else to scrub the face that can irritate your skin.
  • Pat dry with a soft towel. Again, don’t scrub your face, just dab at it. Skin is more sensitive than you think!
  • Apply moisturizer. Use night cream at night and a moisturizer/sunscreen (SPF > 30!) in the morning. When you use eye cream at night, dermatologists recommend using your 4th finger for application because that exerts the least amount of pressure out of your functional fingers (I mean, the pinky is pretty useless).
  • Wash your face twice a day and after sweating. This is probably the most controversial bullet because a lot of people (dermatologists included) recommend foregoing the morning wash since it will just unnecessarily dry out your skin. As I mention in my morning routine post, whether or not I wash my face in the AM depends on the products I used the night before. If it’s something thick or medicated, I wash my face; otherwise, I just splash some water on. Definitely wash your face after sweating though, because you don’t want to your pores to get clogged up with oil leading to breakouts. This means wash your pretty face after you hit the gym or anytime you wear a hat or visor.

Did you know there was a specific way to wash your face? Any special techniques you employ? Please share below in the comments!

4 Comments on The Basics of Washing your Face

    • Joyce
      April 21, 2015 at 4:10 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Zahra, you have an awesome blog! What type of medicine are you in? I love finding other physician bloggers out there.

  1. Merchant Mmo
    August 17, 2015 at 6:49 am (2 years ago)

    Oh boy, I might not be doing it right but it works for my face and has been improving for the last 2 years. Maybe I am different…
    Irish spring soap is known to dry the bejesus out of your skin. Awesome for oily skin, It’s also the best soap I think that can clean off deodorant without scraping your skin off. Anyway I lightly but thoroughly wash my face with it, of course with just my hands softly. 3-5 times in one go…. It almost acts like a soft exfoliate, except it’s in the shower. When I get ou of the shower, I lightly pat my face with the towel. No surprise my face will be tight within a minute… This is when I generously apply shiseido eudermine. My God does it soak in fast but it also keeps the face hydrated.
    My own (amateur) thought was, aside from the under muscles from the face, I figured to have nice skin, you want a healthy regeneration, aka exfoliation. Scrubbing you face everyday will hurt like a mofo not to mention chemically burning your skin is too meh…. so I figured that soap is perfect. I also want my essences to have the best way to sink into my skin. To me it was 2 birds with 1 stone. It seemed even better when I applied vitC before Essence. Down side was vitC made your already semi tight skin from soap, even tighter, until you lather on your essences.

    • Joyce
      August 17, 2015 at 9:47 pm (2 years ago)

      I think the concept of thoroughly washing and drying out your skin may sound good, but in fact may worsen your skin in the long run. In clinic we constantly tell people to stay away from Irish Spring because it dries out the skin so much. We don’t even let our patients use it on their bodies much less their face! I think if you enjoy the dry clean feeling you can try a toner which will accomplish that without actually stripping the delicate facial skin of all its oils. I agree with you that exfoliating by scrubbing is a huge no-no (you’ll create more wrinkles and damage the skin!); I recommend trying a gentle brown sugar scrub like this one. I am not familiar with the Eudermine but I tend to love Shiseido products; I will have to check it out!


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