3 Signs You're Over-Cleansing and What You Can Do Instead

One of the best things about coming home at the end of the day is washing your face.

Like, seriously—is there a better feeling than emulsifying some gel or milk cleanser in your hands and using it to melt off so much makeup? We think not.

However, some thoughts enter our minds during this soothing part of our skincare routine.

‘Can you overwash your face? Am I washing my face too much? Is washing your face too much bad?’

Call us curious, but surely we’re not the only ones. These thoughts have popped up so often that we decided to do a deep dive on the topic.

Learn more about the different types of cleansers for each skin type and how to cleanse properly in the YouTube video below.


Signs you could be over cleansing skin

Here are three telltale signs of over cleansing your skin:

  • Your complexion looks super-oily.

  • New breakouts are popping up.

  • Your skin looks and feels super-dry.

Can washing your face too much cause oily skin?

The first thing we really wanted to know was, ‘Can washing your face too much cause oily skin?’ The bad news is that yes, washing your face too much can actually make the surface oilier.

‘It’s counterintuitive but [over cleansing skin] and over-exfoliating seem to send feedback to your oil glands to overproduce sebum as your epidermis has been stripped of its natural oils,’ explains Dr Shyamalar Gunatheesan, founding dermatologist of ODE Dermatology.

Can cleansing your face too much cause acne?

Naturally, our next question is, ‘Can you get acne from washing your face too much?’ In a roundabout way, the answer is also yes: over cleansing skin can aggravate it.

Dr Gunatheesan delves into the topic further: ‘Sebum overproduction clogs the pores, resulting in acne.

The acid mantle of the skin also can be disrupted with over-cleansing and resultant inflammation.’ Yikes! That’ll serve us right for trying to keep our skin as clean as possible.

Can washing your face too much cause dry skin?

At the other end of the spectrum, can washing your face too much cause dry skin? It seems as though over cleansing skin can do damage too.

‘Yes, [overwashing your face] can certainly strip off the skin’s natural moisturising factor and deplete the ceramides and lipids in the epidermis [or top layer of skin], thereby resulting in dryness and flakiness.’

Can you get acne from washing your face too much?Can you get acne from washing your face too much?

How to cleanse properly

So, how often should we actually be washing our face? ‘Ideally, we would need to only cleanse our skin once a day at night,’ suggests Dr Gunatheesan.

‘I would suggest a double cleanse technique with a micellar water to remove makeup and debris. Then, [use] a lipid- or ceramide-rich cleanser to remove the sweat, pollutants, and makeup residue whilst replenishing the skin barrier.’

The types of cleansers you should use

For the first cleanse, you can start with an oil-based cleanser, balm, or micellar water on dry skin.

If you opt for an oil-based cleanser or balm, ‘Pat it on with your fingers and rub [it] into the face gently to melt away the makeup and debris, and wipe it off with a warm, wet towel,’ says Dr Gunatheesan.

The doctor advises that when using micellar water, gently wipe a saturated cotton pad over your face in a concentric pattern. Repeat with new pads until the makeup pad is clean.

Maybe a water-based cleanser is more your jam. Dr Gunatheesan instructs, ‘Rub [it] onto wet [skin], covering the forehead, cheeks, and neck. Wash off with tepid water or wipe off with a damp, soft cloth.’



We hope we’ve clearly answered your questions on over cleansing your face. Here’s a final quiz:

  • Can washing your face too much cause oily skin?

  • Can cleansing your face too much cause acne?

  • Can washing your face too much cause dry skin?

Yes, yes, and yes. But all three problems are easily avoided. Class dismissed.

3 Signs You're Over-Cleansing3 Signs You're Over-Cleansing

Find some of our favourite cleansers in the guides below...



Cleansers
Skinstitut Gentle Cleanser by SkinstitutSkinstitut Gentle Cleanser by Skinstitut

$34.30 $49.00

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4.7 of 803 reviews

Skinstitut L-Lactic Cleanser  by SkinstitutSkinstitut L-Lactic Cleanser  by Skinstitut

$34.30 $49.00

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4.6 of 672 reviews

Skinstitut Glycolic Cleanser 12% by SkinstitutSkinstitut Glycolic Cleanser 12% by Skinstitut

$34.30 $49.00

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4.6 of 566 reviews

asap daily facial cleanser 200ml  by asapasap daily facial cleanser 200ml  by asap

$41.25 $55.00

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4.6 of 641 reviews

asap gentle cleansing gel 200ml  by asapasap gentle cleansing gel 200ml  by asap

$41.25 $55.00

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4.7 of 542 reviews

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