Do You Really Need to Wash Your Face Twice Per Day?
Two dermatologists weigh in.
With all the beauty tips and tricks out there, it can be difficult to ascertain which advice is sound. Does retinol actually work magic? Does vitamin C truly smooth fine lines? Can washing your face twice per day really mean the difference between a clear, even complexion and one riddled with breakouts? Let's focus on that last question—a query that many people ask themselves, and understandably so. We simply aren't leaving our homes nearly as much as we used to, so is it necessary to clean our skin as much? To find out, we chatted with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Angela J. Lamb and Dr. Michele Green. Keep reading to discover their thoughts on this common beauty question.
Even if you're limiting your exposure to outside elements, Dr. Lamb, the associate professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says that washing your face twice per day is always a good idea. "In the morning, it's a good way to remove dead skin cells that have turned over on your face after sleeping," she says. "Before bed, it serves as a way to remove makeup and sebum and oil production from the day."
Of course, there's one caveat. If you have sensitive skin, Dr. Green says that cleansing both morning and night is still a must—but it's just as important to pay attention to how you wash your face. "It's best to avoid hot water, which damages your skin and worsens eczema and rosacea," she says. "After cleansing with hot water, it can make your skin red and increasingly more irritated. The heat also dehydrates your skin and removes oils and moisture." On the other hand, Dr. Green says that cleansing with cold water—lukewarm at most—actually reduces inflammation and calms itching.
Ultimately, what you use to wash your face is just as important as frequency. After all, if you you don't choose the right product for your skin type, you could risk drying out your complexion during your twice-a-day cleanse, which serves as the basis of your routine. And, while you would think that dehydration would result in, well, dryness, Dr. Lamb says it can actually make your skin oilier in the process. For this reason, she says the key to successfully cleansing twice a day is to use a formula that never strips, like the La Roche-Posay Lipikar Wash AP+ ($14.99, target.com) and Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser ($32, sephora.com).