Washing our face has become synonymous with treating acne. Because we associate good skin with being clean, and bad skin being dirty, the natural assumption would be that washing our face would help get rid of acne, and the more times the better.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In order to understand how to get rid of acne, we must understand what causes it. I believe that acne is caused by either hormonal imbalances, exposure to harmful toxins and substances, and vitamin deficiencies; science supports this for the most part. Nowhere in medical journals does it advocate that acne is caused by excess exposure to dirt. If acne were caused by dirt and soot a lot more people would have pimples.
So not only is advocating washing your face multiple times per day unncessary, but it’s also harmful for two reasons:
- Dry Skin/Imbalance: Excessive washing of the face will both dry out your face and….
- Excess exposure to chemicals: I like to limit the amount of man-made products that go on my face. Wherever I can afford to cut back I will, and in this case I wash my face with Cetaphil once a day, if that.
(all derms agree that over-washing can lead to irritation and a lack of moisture. The rule is to use common sense: Always wash your face after a workout to prevent breakouts, and wash excessively oily skin morning and night. For very dry or sensitive skin, stick to cleansing once daily in the evening.)
Also, please note that when I’m using the term washing your face it assumes that your using a cleanser. You can wash your face more often with just water, but again, more doesn’t mean it’s better.
So should I stop washing my face altogether?
No, and here’s why.
While I don’t think dirt, soot and things of that nature cause acne, exposure to harmful chemcias can. You may not realize it, but anytime you set foot outside you are potentially being exposed to these chemicals.
Things like exhaust fumes are everywhere and definitely do not have a positive impact on the body. This is something people a hundred years ago didn’t have to deal with.
In addition that, excessive sweating and use of makeup are unnatural to an extent and therefore have the potential to cause acne.
This is why I don’t entirely dismiss washing your face, I just want to set the record straight in that excessive face washing does more harm then good?
So how often should I was my face?
It depends of course, but my recommendation is 0-2 times per day. Here’s what I do: On days I workout I’ll wash my face with Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser directly after the workout (I usually finish in the early afternoon), and then if I feel like I need it I’ll splash some cold water on my face at night.
So when I say wash your face 0-2 times per day, that’s a maximum of one time per day with a cleanser.
I never understood the concept of washing our face in the morning. It’s not like we’re rolling around in our own filth, assuming we regularly clean and change our bed sheets. And even if we were rolling around in our filth that probably wouldn’t impact our skin much anyway.