Is There a Right Way to Cleanse My Face?

The way you cleanse your skin can affect skin's health just as much as the cleanser you use.

Effective facial cleansing begins with selecting the right face wash for your skin. But that's just the beginning of your skincare system.

Believe it or not, there's a wrong way to clean your skin. How you choose to wash your face matters almost as much as which products you use to cleanse. Here's how to ensure your cleansing ritual doesn't punish your skin.


Is There a Right Way to Cleanse My Face?


Don't Worry About Closing and Opening Your Pores

It's a myth that pores open or close in response to temperature or humidity, so just focus on getting your pores clean. It is true that skin tends to absorb more product when it's wet or warm, and a little steam can soften hardened plugs. But rather than blasting your skin with hot and cold water or waiting for your pores to 'open', just cleanse in the shower, and you'll be fine.

Use Clean Flannels and Mitts

Sure, having a flannel for every day of the week might be a pain, but reusing unclean devices can irritate your skin. Mould, mildew, bacteria, and other skin-damaging nasties can accumulate in used cloths, so switch your flannel or cleansing mitt each time you wash your face.

And if you use a cleansing brush, be sure to wash it thoroughly after each use and allow it to air-dry. Covering the brush encourages bacteria to fester.

Don't Scrub Too Hard

The best way to attack skin problems is to scrub with all your might, right? Nope. Odds are good you're scrubbing your skin too hard.

Excessive scrubbing can irritate your skin, stripping it of vital oils. If you're using the right cleanser, there's no need to scrub. Simply using gentle, circular motions is all you need to do.


Is There a Right Way to Cleanse My Face?


Cleanse With the Right Frequency

The right cleansing schedule depends on your skin type and needs, but a simple rule of thumb can help you avoid cleansing to excess. Only wash your face when it's oily or dirty, not as a pre-emptive measure or because it feels good.

People with oily skin may need to cleanse two to three times per day. If your skin is normal or dry, cleanse only when removing your makeup, after working out, or when your skin has been exposed to saltwater, chlorine, or environmental pollutants.

If you just want to feel fresh, try a splash of water or a spray such as La Roche–Posay Thermal Spring Water.


No matter your skin type, you need to use a daily moisturiser. Oily skin can paradoxically become even oilier when it's stripped and dehydrated. Dry skin can turn into a flaky mess if you skip your face cream even one day.

The right moisturiser restores to your complexion the oils that your cleanser stripped. Think of your moisturiser as a conditioner for your skin, and choose one designed for your complexion type.

Don't Forget to Exfoliate

A good exfoliation session can remove excess debris, expedite the cellular turnover process, smooth out uneven or dry patches, and eliminate oiliness. If your skin is dry or sensitive, exfoliate no more than once per week, since too much exfoliation can irritate your skin and strip it of vital oils. Exfoliators come in two basic forms: