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The Truth About Cleansing: 5 Face-Washing Myths, Debunked

It's the first step of your routine, so let's get rid of any worries you might have!
In this article:
01 You can’t wash your face in the shower02 Bar soap is okay03 Your skin should feel squeaky clean04 The more you wash, the better05 Natural scrubs are good

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Cleansing is the first, and most essential, step of every good skincare routine. While you already know the basics of how to wash your face, there are a few all-too-common face-washing mistakes being made on a regular basis. We’re here to set the record straight on some cleansing myths that may be keeping you from the glow you deserve.

Myth 1: You can’t wash your face in the shower

Despite the abundance of online advice that says you shouldn’t wash your face in the shower, most dermatologists agree that it’s actually okay — with two caveats.

  1. Keep the water lukewarm
  2. Cleanse your face at the end of the shower

“I wouldn't say washing your face in the shower vs. at the sink is that different, but in the shower, you can receive benefits from the steam to help open pores,” says Dr. Todd Minars, a Florida-based, board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Miami School of Medicine.“I recommend washing your face near the end of your shower, once the steam has had a chance to open pores, but dialing the temperature down a bit to a slightly cooler temperature for the actual application.”

Pro Tip

Another reason to wash your face towards the end of the shower? It’s what Minars refers to as the “two-minute rule,” or applying hydrating or moisturizing products to skin within two minutes of cleansing. “This approach allows for your moisturizer to be ‘locked-in’ before it has a chance to evaporate from your skin.”

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AHA, BHA, PHA, fruit enzymes, and konjac jellies – it's all you've ever wanted in a daily cleanser.

Myth 2: An all-in-one bar soap is okay for your face

I can tell just by looking at my 11-year-old’s face post-shower when he’s used his bar soap (even a moisturizing one) instead of his gentle facial cleanser. And all the eye-rolling in the world doesn’t stop me from telling him the many reasons bar soap is just too harsh for the sensitive skin on his face.

Conventional bar soaps can strip the skin of natural oils, leaving skin dry, flaky and irritated. Plus, it can cause the sebaceous glands within pores to overcompensate for the loss of moisture by producing even more oil, beginning a vicious cycle that can lead to clogged pores and acne breakouts.

RELATED READ: Cleansing 101: The Right Way to Wash Your Face

Myth 3: Your skin should feel *squeaky clean* after a wash

Growing up with serious acne, I always thought that if my face didn’t feel tight after cleansing, the cleanser wasn’t doing its job. Yikes. The truth is, if your skin feels tight, it likely means your cleanser is way too harsh. A squeaky-clean feeling can be caused by the skin’s loss of natural oils or damage to the skin barrier. And it’s definitely a sign to shop for a gentler formula without any harsh surfactants.

 

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Myth 4: The more you wash, the better

Another misconception from my teenage days, overwashing your face is not a good thing. How often should you wash your face? It depends on your skin type and what nighttime products you need to wash off in the morning.

“I actually believe most patients can get away with only one or two facial washes per day,” says Minars. “My train of thought is that most mornings, we don't need a thorough face washing outside of our normal showering routine, which can be quite light. This is because we usually go to bed with a clean face that's make-up and grime-free.”

The exceptions? If you have oily skin, or use retinol or acids in your PM routine, you’ll probably want to wash your face in the morning. Otherwise, a quick rinse or swipe of micellar water should do the trick.

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Myth 5: Natural scrubs are good for your skin

Harsh scrubbing does not equal a deeper clean. In fact, facial scrubs that contain large, rough particles (ground-up shells, rocks or pits) can cause micro-tears in the skin’s surface, which can eventually weaken the skin’s barrier. Not only does too-aggressive exfoliation result in dry, flaky red patches, but it can also cause your skin to produce more oil, which can lead to clogged pores.

Wondering how to exfoliate instead?

Opt for a facial cleanser with a gentle, non-scraping physical exfoliant, such as the konjac jellies in our Clear Collective Exfoliating Jelly Cleanser.

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