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Face Wash, Cleansers and Cleansing Tips from Dermatologists

How to wash your face?

Washing your face properly is important because cleansing can affect the health of your skin.

If you are building a face washing routine, here are some dermatologist tips to consider.

These are the 9 steps to cleanse your face correctly:

  1. Choose a cleanser according to your Baumann Skin Type
  2. Fill palm of hand with a teaspoon of warm filtered water
  3. Add 1/4 teaspoon of cleanser to water in your palm
  4. Swirl to mix
  5. Apply to face in circular motion
  6. Massage gently over nose, cheeks, chin, forehead and jaw line.
  7. Slash warm filtered water to rinse
  8. Rinse a second time
  9. Pat dry with a soft cloth

The way you cleanse your face and body affect the strength of your skin barrier.

Many cleansers injure the skin barrier.

Make sure you shop by your Baumann Skin Type when choosing a cleanser.


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How to wash your face in the shower?

The best way to wash you face in the shower is after you rinse out your hair conditioner. Hair conditioners can have pore clogging ingredients.

These are the 13 steps to washing your face in the shower

  1. Keep the cleanser for your Baumann Skin Type in the shower
  2. Turn on the water. It is ok if it is hot
  3. Wash your hair and rest of the body first to let pores open
  4. Rinse shampoo and apply conditioner to hair
  5. Leave conditioner on hair
  6. Turn water temperature to warm
  7. Rinse conditioner out of hair thoroughly
  8. Squeeze 1/4 teaspoon of cleanser into wet hand
  9. Don't wash your face with shampoo
  10. Apply gently to skin in a circular movement
  11. Massage gently over cheeks, chin, forehead and nose
  12. Rinse for 30 seconds to remove all cleansers
  13. Once you leave the shower- pat dry

Can I just wash my face with water?

If you washed your face thoroughly before bedtime and did not apply any products, you can wash with water in the morning.

However, cleansers can help the products that follow it in the skin care routine absorb better.

So using the correct cleanser in a skin care routine customized for your Baumann Skin Type helps your other products work better.


Should you use a washcloth to wash your face?

You do not need to use a washcloth to wash your face unless you are trying to remove any of the following:

Sunscreen

Makeup

Face paint

Face Oils

Heavy creams


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How often should you wash your face?

How many times a day you should wash you face really depends upon your Baumann Skin Type® .

In general:

Oily skin types should wash the face 2-3 times a day depending on amount of sebum production.

Acne-prone types should wash 2 times a day

If you get clogged pores wash 2 times a day

Dry types can wash the face only at night

Rosacea- prone types can wash only at night

Melasma skin types need to wash 2 times a day

However, there are 16 Baumann Skin types and each needs a different skin care routine.

So to know for sure how frequently to cleanse your face, get custom skin care routine advice by knowing which of the 16 skin types you are.



Is it Ok to wash your face everyday?

Yes! You should wash your face every day.

Choose a cleanser that is right for your Baumann Skin Type.


Can I wash my face 3 times a day?

If you have extremally oily skin, you can wash your face in the am, in the afternoon, and in the evening.

Make sure you really have oily skin- because most people are wrong about how oily their skin is.

You can also wash 3 times a day if you exercise during the day, but make sure you use a gentle cleanser for your skin type.

Do not use a hydroxy acid cleanser more than 2 times a day.


How Often Should I Wash My Face If I Have Dry Skin?

When you have dry skin, you can skip washing your face in the morning if you went to bed with a clean face.

However, if you are using an expensive serum such as Vitamin C in the am, we recommend using a hydroxyacid cleanser in the morning.

This will help the serum absorb into the skin.


How Often Should I Wash My Face If I Have Oily Skin?

If you have oily skin you should wash your face in the morning and the evening.

If your skin is very oily, you can also wash it mid day using a face wash or cleansing pads.

Cleansing wipes for extremely oily skin:


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How Often Should I Wash My Face If I Have Acne?

You should wash 2 times a day if you have acne.

Make sure you are using the best acne cleanser for your Baumann Skin Type.

Cleansers will help your other acne medications and skin care products work better if you choose the correct face wash.


How Often Should I Wash My Face If I Have Rosacea?


If you have stinging and inflamed skin because your rosacea is flaring, you may choose to only wash your face at night.

Make sure you choose a rosacea cleanser that matches your sensitive Baumann Skin Type.

It should have soothing anti-redness ingredients.

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Should I wash my face with soap?

Very oily skin types may be able to use soap on the face. However, most skin types cannot use bar soap.

If you have dry or sensitive skin, or are using a retinoid, soap should not be used to wash the face or body unless it is a syndet bar such as Dove bar soap. Syndet means a synthetic detergent which is more gentle.

If you have dry skin, avoid any cleansers with strong foam because they have a lot of damaging detergents.


How Many Different Cleansers Do I Need?

The number of cleansers we recommend in the skin care routine customized for your Baumann Skin Type will depend upon:

Your Baumann Skin Type®

Your doctor’s preferences (if you are using a provider code then the routines are the ones recommended by your doctor)

Which Skin care routine option you choose: Pre-Built Kit or a Fully Custom Kit. These are options when you don’t have a STS approved doctor selected.

Which phase you are in the skin care routines. (Each month may have a different phase of products as your skin type improves.)

In some cases, you will have one cleanser in your regimen and in others, you may have 2 cleansers. In some cases, you may choose to use an exfoliating scrub to brighten the skin 2-3 times a week. (Use sparingly if you have sensitive skin or are using any other exfoliators including retinoids).

Is Double Cleansing the Skin Important?

You only need to double cleanse your face if you have waterproof or sticky sunscreen, streak-resistant makeup, or face paint that is hard to remove.

When you double cleanse, first use a cleansing oil or makeup remover, followed by the best cleanser for your skin type.

How to remove makeup?

A micellular water is a good cleanser to use as a makeup remover.

These are good micellar waters to use to remove makeup:

Avene Micellar Lotion

Bioderma Hydrabio H2O Micellar Water

La Roche Posay Micellar Water for Sensitive Skin



How to remove makeup without makeup remover?

You can remove makeup easiest with cleansing oils, creamy cleansers and foaming cleansers- but make sure you choose one correct for your Baumann Skin Type.

If you do not use a makeup remover before cleansing, use a double cleanse technique.

You can:

Use your normal cleanser twice

Use 2 different cleansers

Use a cleansing oil followed by your normal cleanser

Can I use the same cleanser for my face and body?

You can use a face cleanser on your body.

Do not use a body cleanser on your face.

Body cleansers are more likely to have comedogenic ingredients in them that can lead to clogged pores, blackheads, whiteheads and milia.

Can I wash my face with shampoo?

In general, you should never wash you face with shampoo. It has detergents that can be irritating.

Even using Baby Shampoo to wash the face is a bad idea.

There is only one shampoo that you can use on your face- dandruff shampoo.

Zinc pyrithione shampoos like Head and Shoulders can help a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis.

However, these dandruff shampoos it can be drying to the face so make sure you use a soothing moisturizer with anti-inflammatory ingredients like Zerafite Soothing and Calming.



Why Do I Have Dry Skin After Washing Face?


Many people, even most oily skin types, feel dry for the first 15-20 minutes after washing the face.

This dryness you are feeling and the tightness and skin roughness occurs from the lack of sebum (oil) on the skin’s surface.

It takes 15- 20 minutes for your sebaceous glands to begin replacing the sebum on your skin that you just washed off.

This is why when my research team is evaluating how dry the skin is, we wait 20 minutes before taking any measurements.

In my dermatology clinic, we also try to wash your face right when you arrive and do your intake interview before we take your photos with the Canfield Visia Camera System so we can more accurately assess oil production and skin texture measurements in the images.

The point is- many people think they have dry skin when they do not.

The best way to know is take the quiz.


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How to wash face if I have dry skin?

The best dry skin cleansers for the face and body should protect your skin barrier with fatty acids.

Many face washes dry out the skin. You need to use barrier safe cleansers with soothing and hydrating fatty acid and lipids.

If you have dry skin, choose a creamy non-foaming cleanser.

Avoid face washes and cleansers with a lot of detergent and a thick foam that damage the skin barrier



Should I Use Both A Face Wash And A Cleanser?

Face washes, soaps and cleansers are all words that mean similar things.

However, the word soap usually means a bar soap with a lot of detergents.

Avoid using soap on your face because it extremely damages the skin barrier. You can use the words face wash and cleanser interchangeably.


Let us help you build a skincare routine from many brands!



References and peer reviewed publications on cleansers:


  1. L. Baumann Ch. 40 Cleansing Agents in Baumann’s Cosmetic Dermatology (McGraw Hill, 2022).
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  3. Imokawa G, Mishima Y. Cumulative effect of surfactants on cutaneous horny layers: adsorption onto human keratin layers in vivo. Contact Dermatitis. 1979;5(6):357-66.
  4. Fulmer AW, Kramer GJ. Stratum corneum lipid abnormalities in surfactant-induced dry scaly skin. J Invest Dermatol. 1986;86(5):598-602.
  5. Downing DT, Abraham W, Wegner BK, Willman KW, Marshall JL. Partition of sodium dodecyl sulfate into stratum corneum lipid liposomes. Arch Dermatol Res. 1993;285(3):151-7.
  6. Denda M, Hori J, Koyama J, Yoshida S, Nanba R, Takahashi M, et al. Stratum corneum sphingolipids and free amino acids in experimentally-induced scaly skin. Arch Dermatol Res. 1992;284(6):363-7.
  7. Rawlings AV, Watkinson A, Rogers J, Mayo AM, Hope J, Scott IR. Abnormalities in stratum corneum structure, lipid composition, and desmosome degradation in soap induced winter xerosis. J Soc Cosmet Chem. 1994;45:203-220.
  8. Wilhelm KP, Saunders JC, Maibach HI. Increased stratum corneum turnover induced by subclinical irritant dermatitis. Br J Dermatol. 1990;122(6):793-8.
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  15. Togawa Y, Kambe N, Shimojo N, Nakano T, Sato Y, Mochizuki H, et al. Ultra-pure soft water improves skin barrier function in children with atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover pilot study. J Dermatol Sci. 2014;76(3):269-71.
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  18. Friberg SE, Goldsmith L, Rong G. The influence of calcium ions and 2-(alkoxy)-1-((alkoyloxy)methyl)-ethyl-7-(4-heptyl-5,6)-(dicarboxy-2-cyclohexene-l-yl) heptanoate on a simplified model of stratum corneum lipids. J Am Oil Chem Soc. 1988;65:1834-1837.
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  20. Löffler H, Aramaki J, Effendy I. Response to thermal stimuli in skin pretreated with sodium lauryl sulfate. Acta Derm Venereol. 2001;81(6):395-7.
  21. Berardesca E, Vignoli GP, Distante F, Brizzi P, Rabbiosi G. Effects of water temperature on surfactant-induced skin irritation. Contact Dermatitis. 1995;32(2):83-7.
  22. Ohlenschlaeger J, Friberg J, Ramsing D, Agner T. Temperature dependency of skin susceptibility to water and detergents. Acta Derm Venereol. 1996;76(4):274-6.
  23. Clarys P, Manou I, Barel AO. Influence of temperature on irritation in the hand/forearm immersion test. Contact Dermatitis. 1997;36(5):240-3.
  24. Fluhr JW, Bornkessel A, Akengin A, Fuchs S, Norgauer J, Kleesz P, et al. Sequential application of cold and sodium lauryl sulphate decreases irritation and barrier disruption in vivo in humans. Br J Dermatol. 2005;152(4):702-8.
  25. Halkier-Sørensen L, Menon GK, Elias PM, Thestrup-Pedersen K, Feingold KR. Cutaneous barrier function after cold exposure in hairless mice: a model to demonstrate how cold interferes with barrier homeostasis among workers in the fish-processing industry. Br J Dermatol. 1995;132(3):391-401.
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  31. Chen YF, Yang CH, Chang MS, Ciou YP, Huang YC. Foam properties and detergent abilities of the saponins from Camellia oleifera. Int J Mol Sci. 2010;11(11):4417-25.
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  33. Corazza M, Lauriola MM, Zappaterra M, Bianchi A, Virgili A. Surfactants, skin cleansing protagonists. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2010;24(1):1-6.
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