Top 10 Facial Cleansing Mistakes

There's more to a good face wash than you might think! Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale University School of Medicine, points out the biggest mistakes and how to fix them:

1. Choose the Right Cleanser: Cleansers should help clean skin and prep it for other skincare products, like serums and creams. Opt for a mild, moisturizing cleanser that removes oil and residue without leaving your skin dry, tight, or flaky.

2. Hands First: Wash your hands thoroughly before you begin washing your face. You don't want all the bacteria from your hands to transfer over.

3. Lukewarm Water: Rinsing your face with a cool water to close your pores is a myth-water that is too hot or too cold will only shock and irritate skin, causing broken capillaries.

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4. Don't Be So Direct: Never apply cleanser without moistening your face first. Most cleansers are too harsh and need to be diluted with water. Use one pump of product and create a lather with your fingertips, apply using a gentle, circular motion to loosen dirt.

5. Rinse and Repeat: Residual products will dry out your skin and clog pores. Keep rinsing until all the cleanser is removed from your skin. Don't forget to rinse your hairline, neck and the sides of your nose. These are places often missed and can lead to skin irritations.

6. Don't Exfoliate Too Much: Acids and buffing agents are meant to smooth skin by removing dead skin cells, but exfoliating too often can strip and dry out the new layer. Over time this will weaken the skin's natural barrier.

7. Ditch Your Washcloth: Your fingertips are always best. But, if you must use a washcloth, make sure it is clean and never rub. The skin on your face is delicate and rubbing too harshly with a towel can lead to abrasion and wrinkles.

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8. Lock in Moisture: Apply a moisturizer while your skin is still damp to seal in the moisture balance.

9. Too Much of a Good Thing: Washing your face a two to three times a day is healthy, but over cleansing will disrupt natural barrier functions and can make conditions like acne and rosacea worse.

10. A Good Night's Rest: Never go to sleep without a proper facial cleanse. Skin pollutants left overnight can cause yeast build up that can result in redness and scaling.

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.