There’s no right way to wash your face, but experts say for the most part, there are mistakes most people tend to make.
Whether it’s over-washing, over-scrubbing or not washing their face altogether, not sticking to a proper face washing routine could lead to damage over time, says Dr. Julia Carroll of Compass Dermatology in Toronto.
“If you are someone with sensitive skin, you can get flareups and it’s the same for people with acne prone skin,” she tells Global News.
She adds when we spend our day outdoors, our skin is also exposed to potential bacteria, pollution and the environment in general, on top of the makeup or product we already have on our faces.
When it comes to creating a proper routine, Carroll says remove any makeup with a makeup remover and using either a device (like a Clarisonic, for example) or a cloth, massage your face with a cleanser. Use a white cloth so you can see if there is any residue left on your face.
“Then you can follow up with medications, serums or a moisturizer,” she says. “I always tell people don’t stop at their jaw line either, extend down to the neck and chest.”
WATCH: Winter skincare 101
Kristen Ma, co-owner of Pure + Simple Beauty and author of Beauty, Pure and Simple, says the most we should be washing our face is once in the morning and once at night.
“If people are prone to getting dehydrated, use a milkier cleanser instead of a foaming one, this is especially true for the winter.”
Below, Carroll and Ma go through some of the biggest mistakes people make when washing their face.
Using soap instead of cleansers
Carroll says don’t use a bar of soap or soap-based cleanser to wash their face, instead of a cleanser. “You don’t want that squeaky clean feeling … [soap] takes off the natural oils on our skin.”
Stick with a regular cleanser.
Over-washing oily skin
Ma says people with oily skin tend to over-wash their face because they think it’s helping them get rid of their excess oil.
“North Americans love the feeling of clean and when they wash their face, they are stripping their skin constantly,” she says. She adds if you have oily skin and you’re washing your face three or more times a day, it’s only going to get more oily.
She sees the same problem with exfoliating and people over-scrubbing their skin with harsh beads. “The irritation is not good for your skin.”
Not changing wash cloths
Carroll says if you are in the habit of using a cloth to wash your face, make sure you are washing them regularly. She suggests buying seven, using one per day and washing them at the end of the week.
The oil cleaning method
Ma says there has been an ongoing viral trend to use things like castor oil to cleanse your face, but Ma suggests it’s not the best option for people with sensitive skin.
“If you’re prone to inflammation, there’s a good chance it will make it worse,” she says, adding it’s often too thick for the skin.
If you do want to go down an oil route, go for something thinner like coconut or olive oil she says, but don’t rely on it to clean your face fully.
Only using wipes
Carroll says another mistake she sees is when people wash their face only using wipes. “It’s better than nothing, but if you’re doing this consistently, you’re leaving a lot behind,” she says.
Makeup wipes also tend to spread makeup around the face, as opposed to fully removing it.
Using harsh cleansers on sensitive skin
Ma says if you have sensitive skin, you should not be using cleansers with retinol or actively using a peel. “A lot of people love the idea of scrubbing agents in their cleanser, but it is important to separate them,” she says.
Instead of using chemical peels or scrubs made with things like apricot, opt for wax beads.