About Face

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About Face

5 steps to cleansing your face

Washing your face dissolves dirt and removes makeup and oils. It also unclogs pores and removes dead skin. You should wash your face at least once a day (you, too, men), following these tips:

Always wash your face before bed. No matter how dry your skin—our skin tends to be drier than women of other races—gentle cleansing at night is essential. Makeup, sunscreen, bacteria, dead skin cells, dirt, and oil that build up during the day can work their way into your pores, causing inflammation. If you wash gently without scrubbing, there’s no need to wash again in the morning. Simply rinse your face with water when you wake up.

Dampen your hands first. Wash your hands first, and then dampen your face with tepid, not hot, water. Your goal is to have skin that’s smooth and supple, not so clean it squeaks, so don’t worry if your cleanser doesn’t work up a good lather. Mild cleansers may not get really foamy. Use your hands instead of a sponge or washcloth; it’s the gentlest way to wash your face and the most convenient.

Use a light touch. Squeeze a quarter-size dollop of cleanser into your palm and apply it evenly to your face. Gently massage it into your skin with your fingertips, using circular motions. Go easy around your eyes, where the skin is especially thin.

Skip the scrub. If your skin is dry, you can skip the expensive scrubs. Rubbing and scrubbing can irritate your skin. If you feel exfoliation is necessary (it does remove dead skin cells, allowing your moisturizer to penetrate your skin better), limit it to once a week and use a scrub with synthetic beads, which can be less damaging to skin, instead of a harsher fruit scrub. If exfoliation hurts, try a gentler product.

Moisturize. Moisturizers don’t add moisture to the skin; they seal in existing water so it doesn’t evaporate. Here’s what to know before you choose a product: 1) creams and oils are more effective than lotions, 2) humectants (hyaluronic acid, glycerin and propylene glycol) draw water into the outer skin layer, and 3) emollients (petrolatum, lanolin, mineral oil and dimethicone) trap water in the skin by forming a layer on the surface. You should moisturize two or three times a day. Follow the three-minute rule: Apply moisturizer within three minutes of your nightly cleansing and morning rinse. If you apply moisturizer again during the day, your don’t need to rinse or cleanse first.

BHM Edit Staff