10 Mistakes You Make When Washing Your Face
How to Wash Your Face when You Have a Sensitive Skin
The skin on your face is already vulnerable to the effects of the sun, environmental pollutants, and chemicals found in cosmetics and facial care products. If you have sensitive skin, which tends to react to products containing fragrance, alcohol, or other harsh ingredients with itchiness, dryness, or irritation, your facial skin faces even more challenges. In order to avoid irritating your skin, familiarize yourself with your skin type and address its particular needs in your skincare routine.
Identify your skin issues.You've noticed your skin is sensitive, but getting a little more information on what, exactly, is going on with your skin can be very helpful when you are trying to choose the best products for your skin.
- If you have acne-prone skin, skin that is especially oily, or skin that has very dry patches, you will need to address those concerns with products formulated for those skin types.
- Sensitive skin is prone to irritation, so it's important to use as few products as possible in your skincare routine. Identify your main issues of concern, and address those, but be careful about causing additional issues by using too many products.
Choose the right cleanser.There are many products on the market, but your sensitive skin is unlikely to react well to a long process of trial-and-error to find the right one. Instead, try these suggestions for sensitive skin.
- Choose products that are fragrance-free and alcohol-free to minimize irritation.
- Look for products that say "sensitive" on the label, like Olay Foaming Face Wash.Despite its title, this product does not create much of a lather. In general, the more foam a product creates, the more it will strip your skin of its protective barrier oils, so products with just a touch of lather or none at all are ideal. Other brands with cleansers for sensitive skin include Clinique, Cetaphil, CeraVe, Eucerin, and Avène.
- Try facial wipes. Wipes are convenient and if you find that they are too harsh for your skin, you can moisten them with water to dilute the ingredients. Many wipes contain fragrances and alcohol, so look for one without these products, like Simple Oil Balancing face wipes.
- Opt out of "soaps" altogether. If you do not get especially dirty on a day-to-day basis, there is no need to use a soap product. Warm water and a washcloth can gently clean your facial skin. Another great option is coconut oil. A small amount rubbed all over the face and removed with warm, wet washcloth can cleanse the skin and also remove even stubborn make-up.
- Be cautious when exfoliating. If your skin is sensitive, don't exfoliate more than once or twice weekly. If you have other skin issues, such as inflammatory acne, you will want to speak with a dermatologist before attempting to exfoliate.
- Remember that just because a product works well for someone else with sensitive skin, it might not work well for you. Additionally, more expensive products are not necessarily better than cheaper ones.
Know when to use it.Washing your face more often than is necessary strips your skin of its natural protective barrier and leaves it dry and vulnerable to irritation. You should only wash your face once or twice a day.
- Wash your face at the end of the day, just before bed, and then immediately apply a mild moisturizer or cream. Be sure to remove all makeup or other products from your skin.
- In the morning, unless you have very oily skin, you do not need to wash your face. Instead, rub some lukewarm water on your face and then pat dry with a towel. After a night of sleeping on a clean pillow without makeup, you don't need to use a harsh cleanser.
Washing Your Face
Use warm or cool water.The right temperature of water is crucial to avoid irritating your skin. Warm or cool water is usually best for washing your face.
- Hot water will strip your skin of its natural protective oils and can also scald it.
- While it is a myth that cold water closes your pores, it can help to keep them from producing excess oil, so if that is one of your skincare concerns, consider using cold water.
Wash your face.While some products may have different instructions, generally the process is similar regardless of what type of product you choose.
- Splash cool or warm water on your face. This will help the product penetrate the oil and dirt on your face.
- Apply a very small amount of the product to your fingertips. In general, a pea-sized amount should do, although some products do not spread as well as others so you may need more. Some people prefer to use a washcloth, but unless it is very soft and you use a very light touch, the fibers on a washcloth can be abrasive to sensitive skin.
- Rub the product between your hands until it forms a lather (or, if you have a non-lathering product, until the product is evenly distributed between your hands). Then, beginning with your forehead, massage the product gently into the moist skin on your face. Avoid your eye and lip areas and nostrils.
Rinse well with warm or cool water.Splash the water onto your face and gently rub with your hands until the soap is removed.
- Be sure to remove all the product from your skin. Again, using a washcloth is not recommended for sensitive skin.
- Dry with a clean, soft towel, using a patting motion rather than rubbing in order to protect the skin from abrasion.
Apply a gentle moisturizer.Most people with sensitive skin need a protective layer to re-hydrate the skin after cleansing. Look for products marked specifically for sensitive skin, which tend to be fragrance-free and free of harsh chemicals.
- If you will be outdoors at all, even to drive a car, be sure that you use a product with sunscreen. Choose a sunscreen offering broad spectrum coverage and an SPF of 30.If your skin is sensitive to chemical sunscreens, try a broad spectrum sunscreen containing a physical blocker like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which tends to be gentle on sensitive skin.
- Other gentle moisturizers that often work well for people with sensitive skin include Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion for oily to normal skin or Bare Minerals Purely Nourishing Cream for very dry skin.
Avoid unnecessary products.While you may need certain products to address your skin care concerns, a minimalist skincare routine is best for people with sensitive skin.
- If you have no other major issues with your skin (like eczema, acne, or extreme oiliness or dryness), it is possible that you can reduce your skincare routine to a mild face wash, a sunscreen, and a moisturizer. In some cases, the sunscreen and moisturizer might be the same product.
- Remember that cosmetic products can also be irritating, so choose formulas that are fragrance-free, non-comedogenic (that is, won't clog your pores), and with as few ingredients as possible. Some brands that claim to be good for sensitive skin include Clinique and bareMinerals.
Ruling Out Underlying Causes
Determine if your skin's sensitivity has environmental causes.It's possible that your skin's sensitivity is caused by an allergy or similar concern, which can be treated or managed with lifestyle changes.
- If the skin on your face or lips is chronically itchy, dry (especially in patches), or red and inflamed, it's possible that environmental allergens (pets, dust, ragweed, etc.) might be to blame. Typically, an allergic reaction won't be localized to your face, so itchy skin on your hands, arms, knees, or other areas might be an indication of an allergy.
- Some food allergies, like a gluten or milk allergies, can cause reactions in the skin. Even nut allergies can manifest as hives, itchy skin, or redness around the mouth. An allergist (a doctor specializing in allergies) can help you determine if your sensitive skin is caused by environmental or food allergies by giving you skin-prick or patch test.
Determine if you are allergic to your products.It's possible that your skin's sensitivity is caused by an allergy or sensitivity to the products that you use on your face or around your home, which can be managed by switching products.
- If you have itchy, red, uncomfortable, or inflamed skin on your face or lips, it's possible that you have an allergy or sensitivity to a product that you use. Consider whether your face wash, scrub, toner, sunscreen, moisturizer, cosmetics, lip balm, or any other product that comes into contact with your face might be causing a reaction. You can try eliminating products individually for about a week each, in order to see if you have any improvement of your symptoms.
- You might also have an allergy or sensitivity to products that you use, such as your laundry detergent, or a perfume or hand lotion that might come in contact with your face. There is also the possibility that a partner's products (cosmetics or after shave, for instance) might be causing a reaction on your skin.
- It has been observed that children with sensitive skin or atopic dermatitis may be prone to food allergies. You may want to have a skin prick test to see if food allergies are causing your dermatitis or sensitive skin.
Determine if you have other dermatological issues.Most people who say they have sensitive skin never see a dermatologist. If that describes you, it is possible that you are living with a skin condition that is treatable.
- Some issues that seem like mere skin sensitivity are actually eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, or other skin issues. Each of these skin conditions has its own root cause and treatment plan.
- If you've never been to a dermatologist, it's a good idea to visit one to rule out other skin conditions. If you do find out you have a skin condition, the dermatologist can prescribe creams or oral medications to treat it.
- Eczema or atopic dermatitis can be treated a number of way including creams to affect the immune system, antibiotics to prevent infection, antihistamine to stop itching, and stress modifications.
QuestionI have sensitive and oily skin. When I use facial scrub, it becomes more oily. Should I use Dove soap or facewash?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI have the same difficulties and super-sensitive skin. I highly recommend Cetaphil face washes and moisturizer.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get rid of the oily black things on my nose?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThese are called blackheads. Basically, it is dirt that has clogged up your pores. To remove them, you need to wash your face with just water and not use makeup. Also, avoid touching your face since this can make your skin dirty. Be sure to eat healthy food as this reflects on your skin.Thanks!
QuestionI have super sensitive and dry skin. What do I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI have the same exact problem, especially around my eyes. I found using a mild cleanser helps a lot, as well as intense moisturizing. I use "Purpose" by Johnson & Johnson and Neutrogena Hydroboost moisturizer.Thanks!
QuestionI have really sensitive skin on face and feel like my facial skin gets dirty due to me not using a product. I'm worried I'll break out. Any advice?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI use Purpose by Johnson Johnson; it is a mild cleanser that is really gentle.Thanks!
What do I do even if my face is still dry even when I applied moisturizer?
What can I use for stretch mark on my sensitive skin?
- A healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and stress reduction can be beneficial to clearing up skin issues and delivering a healthy glow from the inside out.
- In one study it was suggested that skin sensitivity was observed because of a combination of factors, including skin barrier protection and the tendency to hyper react to topical agents.
Video: How to PROPERLY Wash Your Face | You've Been Doing it ALL WRONG!
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