By this point, we have all probably received the message loud and clear (or clean and clear, perhaps in this case) that washing our faces is an important step in the grooming process. Granted, that doesn’t always mean we are inclined to follow through and take that hygienic measure. In our teenage years, especially, we may be less enthusiastic about spending time washing up, even though for many of us, this is or was the period during which our skin problems have been most volatile. Even as adults, after a long and exhausting day, Netflix and other home comforts can sometimes outweigh the logic behind the good of those few minutes spent washing up, but none of us should be skipping it!
THREE REASONS WHY
Sound dramatic and edgy? Good. Washing your face before bed is actually really important, and here’s why:
- The lowest hanging fruit is that washing our faces prevents acne, breakouts, and general skin issues from dryness to clogged pores. Skin types vary greatly, and not everyone even suffers from the same level or duration of garden-variety pimples, but the fact that face washing helps prevent and treat the majority of skin imperfections that make us uncomfortable and less confident is true across the board.
It’s recommended that we each cleanse our faces in the morning and at night, and skipping the night cleanse is really the more evil of two evils. Letting the day’s debris rest on your face overnight is a known way to develop clogged pores, which can present in the form of small black dots (sometimes confused for blackheads—another culprit), as whitehead pimples, or as irritated, red bumps beneath the skin’s surface. Whatever the case, almost all of us have experienced the horror of waking up with a new breakout, and washing our faces at night goes a long way towards leaving those tragic mornings in the past.
- The thing that people desire passionately, probably only second to acne treatment needs, is anti-aging treatments. It’s no longer only celebrities and ultra-famous personalities rejuvenating their look with Botox injections and face lifts; these procedures have become relatively normalized in many affluent areas, and accessible to loads others who consider it a part of “keeping up,” or just something they prefer over seeing wrinkles.
Rather than needing to take those measures at all, we can begin our anti-aging regimen young, saving our skin for decades longer than those who neglect their skin care. Wrinkles and fine lines often set while we’re sleeping, so making sure that you’ve removed the day’s grime from your face before tucking in for the night is essential in letting your skin plump up and settle to rest without forming these creases. This is twice as crucial for makeup wearers, who will noticeably amplify their face’s wrinkles over time by sleeping in makeup and not washing their faces before bedtime.
- The third point is important alone, but also necessarily pertains to points one and two, as well: our skin begins to regenerate from daily damage as the sun begins to go down. Throughout the day, our skin is actively repelling and taking damage from UV rays, dirt, dust, environmental debris, sweat, makeup, free radicals, pollutants, and so on. Naturally, however, our bodies begin to repair themselves as night falls and many of these elements are less present, if at all.
Science-medicine has proven that the actual ideal time to wash your face is around nightfall, even if you won’t head to sleep for some time. This may correspond with getting home in the evening and/or finishing up dinner, which may actually be an easier time to get this chore out of the way (while we still have a teeny bit of energy and haven’t gotten 100% comfortable yet). On the other hand, washing at this point means that there are still a number of hours during which you can expose your face to germs and dirt that will have time to settle onto your skin while you sleep. It’s definitely possible to be very careful and mindful and employ this method to still work perfectly.
Otherwise, it may make more sense for your lifestyle to simply wash as a part of your bedtime routine, which is still strongly favorable to skipping the nighttime wash all together. Be sure to wash your face before applying your nighttime skin care products, and consider investing in a high-quality anti-aging/anti-wrinkle face cream and eye cream to help keep your skin looking incredibly youthful and smooth for years to come.
Remember that selecting the right products for your skin is just as important as anything else. Washing is great but washing with the wrong product can actually cause more trouble than you began with. Put down the bar soap and find the right cleanser and moisturizer for your skin type. Similarly, note that over-washing is not a benefit. If you’re washing your face in the shower, that counts as one of your two maximum daily face washes (for a typical day). Washing your face too often can seriously dry out your skin and lead to further damage.
WHAT TO DO
When it comes to the actual process of washing your face, we have some extra tips worth mentioning. Use your bare hands to apply your cleanser and work through the entire face washing process. Rags, sponges, and other applicators can cause damage to the skin on micro and macro levels, depending on their texture. Our own hands are the perfect tool for washing the face, so there’s no need to complicate that part of the process.
Another simplification is to ideally run your water lukewarm. Scientifically speaking, people have misconstrued the idea of heat “opening” pores (and added the idea that therefore cold closes them), when in reality, temperature changes on the skin can be very damaging! Pores are a fixed sized for each of us, determined by genetics. Save your skin and wash your face with warm, not hot or cold, water.
Finally, remember to clean your neck, not just down to your jawline. This is not only important for those who wear makeup down through the neckline; we all accumulate dirt and grime in our neck area throughout the day, and this area is also just as sensitive to forming wrinkles. Don’t neglect your neck and keep that fountain of youth flowing up and glowing up your face!