Most of us think washing our face is easy as pie. Lather with soap then rinse with water—and voila, you are done! In truth though, it is more than just a two-step process. Here are a few common face-washing mistakes that may be the culprit to your recurring skin problems, whether that is acne breakout, drying or skin redness.
Mistake #1: Not washing with the right water temperature.
Similar to taking hot showers, washing the face with hot water can be drying to the skin. According to experts, unlike popular myths that cold or hot water closes or opens the pores, in truth, it doesn't. When you expose your face to extreme temperatures, you risk the chance of exacerbating skin problems like redness or rosacea. Instead, stick with lukewarm temperature to gently wash your face.
Mistake #2: Not paying attention to product ingredients.
Next time you are in the beauty aisle or shopping for a new facial cleanser online, pay attention to ingredients. Certain ingredients may trigger an existing skin condition. For instance, you may want to pick a noncomedogenic product if you are prone to skin breakout.
A good facial cleanser shouldn't be too gentle that it couldn't effectively remove makeup or grime, but not too harsh that it will irritate the skin. A good ingredient to look for is glycolic acid, which has long been a favored ingredient in many skin-care products.
Glycolic acid is a key ingredient in NeoStrata Foaming Wash, a pH-balanced facial cleanser I recently tried. I like how the product foams well during application, which results to a super-clean feeling after washing. But the real stars of the product are its 18 percent glycolic acid and two percent labtobionic acid. Don't be scared away by the word "acid." While it may sound harsh or irritating, glycolic acid is actually gentle enough but highly effective in cleansing and regenerating the skin because—of all the acids for skin care—it has the smallest molecule to effectively penetrate the skin. Of course, whenever you are using products with acids, whether that is alpha hydroxy (e.g. glycolic) or beta hydroxy (e.g. salicylic), you should always wear a good sunscreen protection daily to avoid sunburn.
Mistake #3: Regularly exfoliating using facial scrubs.
Once or twice a month is fine, but using facial scrubs too often may be doing more harm than good to your face. In general, it takes two to three weeks for new skin to resurface after exfoliating, so give your skin time to fully recover. Instead of regular exfoliation, I prefer to use cleansers like NeoStrata which gently unclogs pores so ugly blackheads are lifted without the need for harsh exfoliations.
It is also advisable to choose a cleanser according to your skin type. For instance, a dry skin could benefit from a cleanser with hydrating ingredients like shea butter, while oily or combination skin are better with foaming cleansers like the NeoStrata Foaming Glycolic Wash.
Mistakes #4: Over-washing the face.
Yes, there is such a thing as too clean. Do not over-wash your face to keep skin from drying. One of the worst mistakes you can do is reusing a wash cloth—a damp used cloth is a breeding ground for bacteria. When drying, don't rub the skin. Instead, be gentle with a light pat using a clean towel. Finally, don't wait until later to add a moisturizer or sunscreen. Adding a moisturizer immediately after washing the face helps to lock moisture in so you get the full hydrating benefits of your moisturizer. After all, this is the whole point of a good cleanser—to properly prep your skin to the next step of your skin-care regimen.