Woman washing face

Washing your face incorrectly can lead to all kinds of problems: damaged skin tissue, inflammation and redness, acne and dryness — to name a few. Follow our step-by-step guide to get your skin clean and keep it healthy.

Get the cleanest, healthiest skin possible

1

Wash your hands

Dirty hands can transfer oil, bacteria and dirt to your face, so start by cleaning your hands with antibacterial soap.

2

Remove your makeup

You want to be able to clean into your pores, and if makeup is in the way, that can't happen. Use makeup remover on cotton pads or makeup wipes.

3

Splash your face with lukewarm water

If the water is too cold, your pores will tighten and you won't be able to clean them out. If the water is too hot, your skin will get dried out. Lukewarm water produces the smallest reaction in your skin, so it's the best temperature to use when washing. (This means turning the temperature down in the shower, too.)

4

Lather up a small amount of your preferred cleanser

A drop about the size of a dime is really all you need. Lather it in your (clean!) hands, and then apply it to your face using a circular motion. Apply a bit of pressure when you wash to stimulate blood flow, but don't press too hard! If you are too rough with your skin, you risk pulling and tearing it, which can cause irritation, redness and acne flare-ups.

5

Gently scrub your skin

Use a damp, soft washcloth or a sonic face scrubber to gently massage your skin in circular motions. Start on your forehead, and then move down the nose to the chin, and then scrub each cheek. Remember, don't apply too much pressure and don't pull. You want to exfoliate and work the cleanser into your pores, not irritate your skin.

6

Rinse off the cleanser

Using water that is slightly cooler than lukewarm, splash your face until the cleanser is removed. Pat your skin dry with a clean towel (remember not to wipe or rub, as this can also tear and irritate your delicate skin).

7

Remove makeup around your eyes once more

If you were wearing eye makeup, it's a good idea to take another swipe with makeup remover. Leftover flakes of mascara and eyeliner can get in your eyes and irritate them, even after you wash your face, so take the time to make sure everything is removed.

Remember, the skin on your face is extremely delicate — and it's also the first thing people see when they look at you! Keep it beautiful and healthy by washing it properly every night.

More skin care tips

4 Habits that are wrecking your beauty routine
6 Signs it's time to see a dermatologist
5 Steps to brighter skin

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