Here’s a shocker: Only 56 percent of YouBeauty readers wash their faces every night before going to bed. In fact, that means there’s about a one out of two chance that you don’t cleanse your skin before hitting the hay.
“During the day, your face builds up a layer of oil, dead skin cells, bacteria and sweat. When makeup is added, this creates a situation that can lead to clogged, dilated pores, breakouts and dull skin,” says Francesca Fusco, M.D., a New York City dermatologist and an associate member of the American Academy of Dermatology. “In the evening, it’s important to remove all of this so that your skin can renew itself,” she adds.
Another benefit of washing your face before bed: Your skin will absorb more antioxidants and other anti-aging ingredients that are in your nighttime serum or moisturizer, therefore giving you more radiant results. Hello, glow!
Here’s the most ironic part: You actually don’t have to wash your face in the morning if you washed it the night before. Yet, most of us wash our face first thing in the morning, but bag it at bedtime. The reasoning is that since your skin has been clean all night, it just needs a quick rinse off to remove your nighttime moisturizer before applying any daytime serums, creams and makeup. So if you’re lagging on washing up at night, just remember how much time you’ll save in the morning when you’re rushing to get out the door—not to mention, how much better your skin will look.
So what kind of cleanser should you use? “Look for a label that matches your skin type. That’s easier than reading through a long list of ingredients,” says Dr. Fusco.
Cleansers for oily skin types usually contain salicylic acid or glycolic acid, which help to dissolve and whisk away dirt and debris trapped in pores. If you want more exfoliation, try a daily anti-acne scrub, like Biore Acne-Clearing Scrub, which contains salicylic acid plus superfine alumina crystals to gently remove dulling dead skin.
Sensitive skin cleansers are usually more soothing and milky and lack detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate so they don’t make suds, but are still effective. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser has a cult following among folks with dry and sensitive skin.
Combination and normal skin types have the widest range of options, so choose a formula that you enjoy using the most, such as foaming, gel, cream or oil-based. Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser works for just about everyone.
And what about those handy cleansing wipes? Do they really work? “Wipes work well if you use them properly. If you’re wearing a lot of makeup, you might need to use two. Wipe until the cloth is clean. You can use both sides!” says Dr. Fusco. Try stashing Alba Botanica Good & Clean Dual Textured Exfoliating Towelettes in your nightstand drawer so you have easy access when you crash into bed.
A few final tips on how to lather up the right way: Thoroughly wet your face first by splashing it several times with lukewarm water. Lather the cleanser in your hands first, then massage it using circular motions all over your face. If you’re trying to preserve a blowout, use a shower cap or terrycloth headband so that you can reach the edges of your face along the hairline, an area prone to breakouts. After a minute, rinse thoroughly with tepid water, then pat dry with a clean towel. If your cleanser doesn’t have any exfoliating properties, use a brush system like Clarisonic twice a week, to thoroughly remove dead skin cells, preventing breakouts and increasing your skin’s glow.
Leaving your face slightly damp will help your skin better absorb any serum or moisturizer that you’ll apply next, so don’t pat all the water away.
That doesn’t sound so hard, does it? It’s such a simple thing, but we promise that if you can commit to washing your face every single night before hitting the hay, you’ll look better longer.