Monday, January 20, 2014

Does Washing Your Face Too Much Cause Acne?

This is a question that I've gotten from a lot of readers. Is there such a thing as washing your face too much? Many people with acne may feel the urge to wash their face multiple times a day to get rid of dirt, makeup, oil, etc. that builds up as you go through your daily routine. If you're washing your face more than twice per day, you could actually be doing more harm than good. Here's why...

Washing your face more than three times a day will strip your skin of it's natural oils, which will in turn amp up the production of sebum to compensate for the stripping of the natural oils.  This process interrupts your skins natural balance and actually causes your skin to be more oily than usual.  So, if you wash your face three or more times throughout the day to control oil, you may actually be worsening your acne and oily skin.

Washing your face too much can harm your skins natural protective barrier.  Damaging your skin barrier leaves your skin vulnerable to bacteria and other irritants, which can exacerbate (or even cause) acne. If you're washing your face too much or over exfoliating, you may likely have a damaged skin barrier that is leading to acne. Luckily, you can take steps to repair your skins barrier by switching to products meant for sensitive skin, like CeraVe or Cetaphil, and making sure you keep your skin hydrated and protected at all times.  While you're working to repair skins protective barrier try to avoid exfoliating as well.

In addition to the factors mentioned above, washing your face too much can further irritate the skin, especially active pimples and/or popped pimples.  Washing or scrubbing these sensitive areas of the face can spread bacteria and can also slow down the healing process.

There are some things to keep in mind when taking into account how often you wash your face.  Everyone's skin type is unique, some people have oily skin, some have dry, and others might have combination.  The weather can also have an influence on how often you're washing your face.  In the hot muggy summer days you may feel tempted to wash your face more often.  Rather than lathering up all throughout the day, try simply rinsing your face with lukewarm water when you start to feel extra oily.  This will get rid of excess oil without stripping your skin.  Remember to always follow up with a moisturizer to keep skin hydrated and healthy.