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You’ve probably been led to believe that washing your face at least twice a day is the best thing you can do. Especially if you have oily, acne prone skin. But, is it actually true that you should wash your face twice a day?
Washing your face twice a day isn’t as good for your skin as you might think. What if I told you that washing your face too much could be causing some of your skin issues?
In fact, washing your face less is one of the best pieces of advice I can give!
When I was dealing with breakouts, I washed my face religiously twice a day. My skin was so oily and nothing seemed to help my acne.
It wasn’t until I improved my skincare routine, including washing it less, that my skin actually improved.
In this post I’m going to show you why you should not wash your face twice a day and what you should do instead.
Why You Still Need To Wash Your Face
Don’t get me wrong, washing your face is still very important and you should be washing it. The issue is not with actually cleansing your skin, it’s just how often you do it.
When you cleanse your skin, you are removing oil, dirt, bacteria and dead skin cells that have accumulated throughout the day. If you aren’t cleansing your skin, then these things will sit on your skin and lead to breakouts and oily skin.
Even if you don’t wear makeup, you still need to wash your face. Aim for only washing your face once a day. If you feel like you need to wash it more, try a splash of water or a toner instead.
How To Tell If You’re Over Washing Your Face
There are some tell tale signs that you’re over washing your skin. If you experience any of these signs, it would be a good idea to cut back.
If your skin feels tight or dry, especially after washing
Your skin should not feel tight or dry. It should feel balanced and hydrated. If your skin feels tight and dry after washing, you’re either over washing it or your cleanser is too harsh, or both.
If your skin feels extra sensitive
Some people do have sensitive skin, but if your skin burns or gets angry when you apply product on it, it could be a sign you are stripping your skin.
If your skin is irritated and red
After you wash your face, if your skin has red patches or is red all over, this is a big sign of over washing your skin.
How Often Should You Wash Your Face
How often you should wash your face depends on you and your skin. Personally, I think everyone can benefit from only washing your face once a day. However, I know everyone’s skin is different.
Typically, I would recommend that you wash your face twice a day only if you have extremely oily skin. Even then I would suggest you at least try out washing it once a day.
But, absolutely, never ever wash it more than twice a day. That’s a sure way to cause some serious skin irritation!
If you only wash your face once a day, only wash it at night. This way you are getting all the dirt, oil and bacteria off your skin that have accumulated throughout the day.
Plus, your skincare products will be able to absorb better.
When you wakeup in the morning, simply splash your face with some water and gently pat it dry. You’ve been asleep all night so you really shouldn’t have anything you need to remove.
Why You Should Not Wash Your Face Twice A Day
There are many reasons why you should only wash your face once a day. Over washing can cause some serious skin issues and skin damage. Especially, if you are not using a gentle cleanser.
Many people think the key to getting clear skin is to wash it a lot and use lots of irritating acne products.
The moisture barrier of your skin is responsible for keeping moisture locked in. Plus other things like electrolytes. A big part of the moisture barrier are the lipids and oils that you skin produces.
The oils naturally lubricate your skin to protect it from debris and bacteria, moisturize your skin and lock in hydration.
When you remove these oils, like when you wash your face, you are making you skin susceptible to bacteria and water loss. When you wash off those protective oils, the moisture from your skin quickly leaves. Leading to dry, dehydrated skin.
This is especially true if you use a cleanser with sulfates and wash too often.
Try switching to a sulfate free face wash and only wash at night. This way, you’re removing less of those protective oils and giving your skin a chance to rehydrate.
Each time you wash your face, you are disrupting your skin pH. Now, hear me out, I’m not going to tell all science-y on you. It’s actually really simple.
You see, your skin as characteristics that keep it happy and healthy. The pH of your skin being one of those.
The pH of your skin is an important defense mechanism! When your skin is at the right pH, it can defend itself from viruses and bacteria. Plus, it will also allow it to retain moisture better.
The pH of your skin is slightly acidic at around 4-5.
The pH of water is 7 and if you have hard water, it’s even higher. This means it’s alkaline. Many face washes are not at the right pH for your skin. Some can even be at a pH of 10 or higher!
Each time you wash your face, you are raising the pH of your skin. This leaves it susceptible to bacteria and moisture loss.
Now, you skin will return back to its normal pH within a few hours. But if you wash your face too often, then it will never really have a chance to return back to it’s normal pH.
Another characteristic of your skin that helps keep it happy and healthy is its microbiome. Yes, you have lots and lots of bacteria that are naturally found on your skin. Yes, this bacteria is a good thing!
Even the bacteria that causes acne (Propionibacterium acnes) is naturally very abundant on your skin! Typically, this bacteria won’t cause any problems with your skin unless your microbiome is messed with.
Much like the microbiome found in your gut, your skins microbiome is a delicate balance. All the bacteria on your skin coexist very happily. Until that balance is disrupted.
Over washing your face can disrupt the balance of your microbiome, which leads to an increase in the number of bad bacteria (like p. acnes) that start to cause issues.
Scientists are still researching our skin and its microbiome, but it is known that over washing causes skin damage which can lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria.
When your skin is irritated, it might not always show the most obvious signs. Just because your face isn’t red and itchy doesn’t it’s not irritated. Dull, dry, flaky skin and acne can also be signs of irritated skin.
You should always keep an eye out for signs of irritation. Particularly if you use a harsh cleanser. Avoid sulfates and most acne cleansers with ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, etc. that can be even more drying and irritating.
Yes, washing your face too much can cause acne too! When you over wash your skin, you are stripping your skin of its natural, protective oils. This will leave it susceptible to bad bacteria (remember the Propionibacterium acnes we talked about earlier?), and cause your skin to over produce oil.
Too much oil production combined with Propionibacterium acnes, is the perfect combination for acne!
As mentioned earlier, stick with a basic, gentle cleanser and cut back on how often you wash your face.
See how damaging washing your face can be? It’s important to be mindful of how many times you are washing your face each day and try not to over do it.
To many, washing your face only once a day can be a weird concept to grasp. After all, we’ve been told we should wash our face twice a day our whole lives!
One of the best things you can do for your skin is actually wash it less. Who knew?
If you’ve tried washing your face less and it just doesn’t work for you, that’s fine! Like I said everyone’s skin is different. Some people may really need to wash their face twice a day. However, many people don’t! Simply try it out and see if it works for you.
If you’re still wary of only washing your face once a day, then try using a toner on a cotton pad instead.
How many times a day do you wash your face? Let me know down below in the comments!
For more clear skin tips, check out my post on tretinoin.
Do you have oily hair? Read my post on how over washing your hair can lead to oily hair and scalp issues!