Most of us were taught from a young age that washing our faces was an important part of our daily routine, and our parents were right. Our skin is covered in a layer of dead skin cells, bacteria, pollutants, viruses, and dirt. That layer can get thicker over time unless you take action and wash your face once or twice a day. Washing our faces not only gets rid of various antigens (tiny unwanted foreign invaders), it also provides our skin much-needed hydration.
Our facial skin creates a waterproof barrier that protects us from the dirty, dangerous pollutants around us. This is accomplished in part through the production of oil called sebum. This oil is produced by tiny sebaceous glands that exist midway down the shafts of our hair follicles. As sebum travels up and out of the hair follicle, it mixes with sweat and dead skin cells that are also migrating up the follicle. Upon reaching the surface of the skin, this mix (now joined by other lipids such as linoleic acid) spreads out and hardens, forming an armour like coating that helps prevent bacteria and other invasive agents from penetrating the outer layer of skin. However, when external dirt builds up or there’s increased production of oils or skin cells, blockages occur in the follicles. The mix of sebum, sweat, and dead skin cells continues pushing up against the blockage and growing larger, creating a growing traffic jam in the follicle. Once bacteria arrives on the scene and inflammation occurs, you’ve got acne. Without washing, acne breakouts and blemishes can occur, regardless of the cleanliness of your environment.
When we wash, we clear our pores of debris and prevent the excessive buildup of this oily armor, allowing the outwardly mobile skin cells and lipids still in the follicles to emerge unimpeded to form a new layer of armor on the surface. Since you’ve been doing it daily since you were little, it’s likely the process is second nature to you – similar to brushing your teeth. However, no matter how well you feel like you’re cleaning your skin, you might be doing it wrong. Follow these basic steps to make sure you’re getting the most out of your regime.
The Water- I’m sure you’ve heard that hot water opens up your pores and thus allows dirt and residue to come out easily when washing your face. That’s only half true. Hot water doesn’t open your pores up (as they don’t open and close), but warmer water can loosen dirt. Unfortunately, washing with hot water can be drying and harsh to the skin, so it’s best to start your wash by rinsing your face with lukewarm water. This will still break down some of the dirt and be soothing to the skin. Throughout the wash and rinse, continue to use lukewarm water.
The Wash- Once you’ve wet your face it’s time to lather up. Massage your face with cleaners in a circular motion, making circles move outward from the center of your face. Spend a little more time on your t-zone, the area that can produce more oil, and don’t forget your jawline and along your hairline where you may have sweat. It may seem like a no brainer, but many people don’t spend enough time on the lather. Try to massage your face for 30 seconds to an entire minute. If you’re exfoliating (1-2 a week), be gentle. Gently massaging on an exfoliate will still cleanse your skin without having to press hard and aggressively against the sensitive skin on your face.
Looking for a proper cleanser for your skin type? Our Gentle Foaming Cleanser is perfect for sensitive, redness prone skin. Our Medicated Foaming Cleanser is ideal for people with acne, oily prone skin.
The Wipe Off- Then rinse off all soap by splashing water on your face and using your hands to remove any remaining cleanser. Don’t forget the edges of your face and the area around your nose and ears. Many people tend to miss the edges of their face which leads to soap residue build up and can cause unsightly breakouts. Next, dry your face by dabbing it with a towel. Do not rinse off soap or dry your face by wiping it with a cloth. Rubbing with a cloth can irritate, stretch, and cause wrinkles on the skin. Softly dab your face dry and you’re done!
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