Acne and Face Washing
One of the worst things about acne is that it makes you feel so unclean. It doesn’t help that many people are under the mistaken impression that pimples are caused by bad hygiene. These same folks may suggest that you need to wash your face more often, or scrub harder, or use stronger soap. However, following their advice could make your acne even worse.
Contrary to what you may have been told, acne isn’t caused by dirt at all. The problem has more to do with the way the skin cells lining the inside of your pores react to your body’s natural hormones. Although washing your face helps slough off the dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, it’s rarely enough to prevent the formation of pimples. Other remedies in addition to face washing are necessary to keep acne under control.
It’s a good idea to gently wash your face every day. However, except for those times when you work up a sweat, you shouldn’t do it more than twice a day. Doing it too much could dry out and irritate your skin, potentially leading to more breakouts.
The number one mistake most acne sufferers make when washing their faces is that they scrub too vigorously. You don’t need to rub very hard to loosen the dead skin cells. In fact, scrubbing will irritate your skin and inflame your acne even more. Scrubbing can damage the upper layer of your skin and make it even more vulnerable to bacteria. Instead of using a washcloth, it’s far better to rub your face in gentle circular motions with your fingers.
It’s a myth that hot water will open up your pores and allow deeper cleansing. That’s not the way pores work: They are not little doors that open and close in response to changing temperatures. In fact, hot water could aggravate your skin. Use lukewarm water instead.
You should use a very mild soap or face wash that’s formulated for your skin type. If you have oily skin, you may only need an astringent or toner. If you have dry skin, you should pick something that hydrates and moisturizes. However, most people have combination skin. This means parts of their face tend to be oily (the forehead and nose for example), while other parts tend to be more dry. That’s why you may need more than one cleaning product for your face.
It’s always a good idea to follow up with moisturizer. Although many people are afraid to use moisturizer, you don’t have to worry: Noncomedogenic moisturizer won’t clog up your pores. In fact, you’ll need moisturizer if you’re using a product or medication that has a drying effect on your skin. Also, it’s very important to use sunscreen, since many acne-fighting products will make your skin more sensitive to sun damage.
Although it’s a myth that poor hygiene causes acne, gently washing your face once or twice a day will help control the problem to a degree. Just remember to be gentle, use appropriate cleansers, and follow up with moisturizer and sunscreen.