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How to Wash Your Face

Three Methods:Washing Your Face Every DayWashing Acne-Prone SkinWashing Dry Skin

Do you want to learn the best technique for keeping your face bright, healthy and fresh? Washing your face every day is an easy way to give your facial skin a boost, but it’s important to do it correctly so your skin won’t dry out or get inflamed. Whether your skin is acne-prone, dry and delicate, or somewhere in between, learn how to wash with the right technique for your skin type.

Method 1
Washing Your Face Every Day

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    Wet your face with warm water. Pull your hair back and wet your skin with plenty of warm water. Using hot or cold water can be abrasive to your skin, while warm water is gentle and won’t cause irritation.
    • You can splash water on your face using your hands, or moisten a towel and use that to wet your skin.
    • Wetting your skin before applying cleanser will help the soap slide more easily across your skin, preventing you from having to use too much.
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    Apply your cleanser of choice. Use a dime-sized amount of cleanser that works with your skin type. Apply it to your face in a circular motion, making sure each spot gets covered with a tiny amount of cleanser. Keep massaging in a circular motion for thirty seconds to a minute.[1]
    • Avoid using hand or body soap as your facial cleanser. Facial skin is more sensitive than the skin elsewhere on the body, and harsher soaps can cause it to get dry and irritated.[2]
    • If you’re wearing makeup, you may also want to use a special makeup remover, especially around your eyes. Plain coconut oil is a great natural makeup remover.
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    Gently exfoliate your skin. Exfoliating is the process of gently scrubbing your skin to remove dirt and dead skin cells. Exfoliating every few days will keep your pores from getting clogged and help your facial skin look fresh and bright. Use a facial scrub or a washcloth to rub your skin in a circular motion, focusing on areas that tend to be dry or oily.[3]
    • Exfoliating too often or too vigorously can irritate your skin. Do it just a few times a week, and make sure you don’t scrub too hard. On the days when you don’t need to exfoliate, just skip this step when you wash your face.
    • You can make your own facial scrub using a few household ingredients. Try mixing 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon water or milk.
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    Rinse and pat it dry. Use warm water to rinse your face, making sure to wash away all traces of your cleanser and scrub. Use a towel to pat your face dry. Try not to rub your face when you dry it, since this can encourage wrinkles and irritate the skin.[4]
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    Apply toner for a smooth appearance. Using toner is an optional step that’s nice to try if you want your skin to look smooth and reduce the appearance of pores. Apply toner using a cotton ball, focusing on areas where your pores appear large.
    • Many store-bought toners contain alcohol, but this can dry out your skin. Look for an alcohol-free toner, especially if your skin tends to flake.[5]
    • Natural toners tend to work just as well as store-bought toners. Try a mixture of half lemon juice, half water for a great homemade option. Aloe, witch hazel and rose water also work well.
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    Finish with moisturizer. Choose a moisturizer formulated for facial skin and smooth a dime-sized amount over your face. Moisturizer helps to protect your skin from the elements, keeping it youthful and bright.
    • If you wash your face just before bed, try a heavier moisturizer meant to help your skin renew overnight.
    • If you’re heading outside, use a moisturizer that contains sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher to protect your face from the sun’s rays.

Method 2
Washing Acne-Prone Skin

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    Wash your skin twice a day. Washing once in the morning and once at night is a good routine for those with acne-prone skin. Washing in the morning refreshes your face and cleanses away bacteria that may have grown in the night, while washing at night is important for removing sweat, dirt and makeup from your skin. Washing your face more than twice a day could dry out and irritate your skin.
    • Many people with acne think that washing more often will result in better skin, but that’s not the case. Facial skin is fragile, and washing too much can cause it to tear and weaken.[6]
    • If you feel your skin needs to be refreshed between washes, it’s better to splash it with plain lukewarm water instead of using soap or chemicals.
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    Use a cleanser formulated for acne-prone skin. Regular commercial facial cleansers often contain ingredients that make acne worse. Chemicals, alcohols, and oils can irritate your skin or cause your pores to get clogged, which is the opposite of what you want if you’re dealing with acne. Choose a cleanser that is specifically designed to be used on acne-prone skin.[7]
    • Not all acne-prone skin is oily; many people with dry skin have acne. Make sure you choose a facial cleanser that works with your skin type and won’t dry it out too much.
    • If your acne is severe, you may want to use a medicated cleanser with ingredients that will kill the bacteria that can clog pores and cause acne. Talk with your doctor about getting a prescription, or look for an over-the-counter cleanser with salicylic acid, sodium sulfacetamide, or benzoyl peroxide.[8]
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    Do not scrub your face. Many people with acne make the mistake of scrubbing hard in an effort to unclog pores. This method creates tiny tears in the skin that can become inflamed and create worse acne problems. When you have acne, it’s important to handle your skin gently. Exfoliate very lightly, and never roughly scrub your skin.[9]
    • Instead of using a facial scrub, try using a soft washcloth to rub your skin in a circular motion.
    • Never use a scrub brush on your acne-prone skin.
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    Avoid using hot water. Hot water can cause facial skin to become red and inflamed, so err on the side of using cooler water when you’re washing your face. You may also want to avoid facial steams during acne flare-ups, since the heat can make the problem worse.
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    Pat your face dry gently. With acne, it’s important not to abrade your skin by using a rough towel to dry it off. Purchase a soft facial towel and use it to pat your skin dry after washing. Be sure to wash your towels frequently so you aren’t applying bacteria to your face when you dry it off.
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    Finish with oil-free moisturizer. If you tend to have acne, your pores probably clog easily. Many have found it helpful to use an oil-free moisturizer to protect acne-prone skin. If you do choose to use a moisturizer with oil, you may want to test it on a small patch of skin and wait a few days to see what happens before applying it to you entire face.
    • Aloe is soothing to irritated skin and makes a great light, oil-free moisturizer.
    • If your skin is particularly oily, feel free to forego moisturizer completely, or just apply it to the spots where your skin gets dry.

Method 3
Washing Dry Skin

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    Wash once a day. If your skin is quite dry, washing your face more than once a day will just dry it out even more. It’s important to wash your skin at night to remove makeup, dirt, and sweat from your skin before you go to bed. In the morning, just refresh your face with a splash of lukewarm water or a damp washcloth instead of going through your full cleansing routine. Always finish with moisturizer to keep your skin from flaking.[10]
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    Use light soap or oil as your cleanser. Dry skin just gets drier when you wash it, so it’s important to choose your cleanser carefully. Look for a very light cleanser formulated for dry skin, or try using oil as your cleanser.
    • To use oil, simply wet your face and apply your oil of choice (almond, olive, jojoba, coconut, etc.). Use a washcloth to rub your face in a circular motion, then rinse away the oil with warm water.
    • If you want to use a store-bought cleanser, look for one that does not contain sodium laurel or laureth sulfate. Sulfates are harsh cleaning agents that will dry out your skin even more.
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    Exfoliate often to get rid of dead skin. If your skin is dry to the point of flaking, you might need to exfoliate more than once or twice a week. Try exfoliating every other day by rubbing a soft washcloth over the dry spots using a circular motion. The key is to exfoliate without drying out your skin further or causing it to get irritated.
    • If your skin is extremely dry, you can exfoliate using oil. Dip a corner of a soft towel or cotton pad into coconut oil (or another rich oil of your choice). Rub the oil into your face using a circular motion. This will exfoliate your skin while nourishing it at the same time.
    • Don’t use a loofah, a scrub brush or any other abrasive material on your skin. Dry skin is more prone to tearing and wrinkling than normal or oily skin, so it’s important to handle it gently.
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    Rinse with cool or warm water. Hot water will cause dry skin to get even drier, so use cool or lukewarm water for rinsing. Using too much water is another way to dry out your skin, so just use a splash or two. You can also control the amount of water you use by wiping your face with a moist towel instead of splashing it with water.
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    Pat your face dry with a soft towel. Use a soft, fluffy towel to wick the moisture from your skin without pulling it back and forth. Patting it dry will keep your skin from getting inflamed or flaking.
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    Finish with a rich moisturizer. Choose a moisturizer intended for dry facial skin to keep your skin looking fresh and hydrated. Natural or handmade moisturizers are often best for dry skin, since they don’t contain chemicals that can cause irritation and dryness.[11]
    • Look for a moisturizer that contains shea butter, coco butter, or another rich, emollient ingredient that will protect your skin from drying out.
    • If your skin tends to flake a few hours after washing it, try applying a dab of coconut oil or aloe to refresh your skin.


  • Don't go to bed with make-up on.
  • Don't use the same face cloth twice without washing it.
  • Don't over-wash skin. This strips your natural oils, causing your oil production to go into overdrive.
  • If you have sensitive skin, always spot-test skincare products before using them. Apply a little to your hand, for example, and wait ten minutes to see if any redness or irritation occur.
  • When cleansing or exfoliating always move in upward circular motions. This massages the face while promoting blood circulation. Never pull skin downwards.

Things You'll Need

  • Facial cleanser or soap
  • Soft towel
  • Exfoliating scrub or cloth
  • Toner
  • Moisturizer

Article Info

Categories: Skin Care