Too Much of a Good Thing Is a Real Thing

Is it possible to wash your face too frequently?

Allure magazine says yes, and while washing your face each day should be a part of your daily hygiene regimen, if you’re cleaning too often or using the wrong products, you could end up with unexpected skin problems, such as oily skin, dry skin and breakouts.

According to the article, most people just need to wash their face one time per day, in the evening to remove the makeup, oil, dirt and pollution that has collected on the skin through the course of the day.

The authors also maintain that over-washing can strip the skin of its natural oils that help to protect it from the elements and bacteria.

“The skin has a natural defense system that is made up of skin cells and natural oils. When the barrier is damaged by overwashing, bacteria can get into the skin and cause breakouts,” said Dr. Mona Alqulali, a Bettendorf, Iowa, cosmetic surgeon.

Using the wrong cleanser can dry your skin out by stripping it of moisture. When this happens, the skin is at risk of developing wrinkles and other signs of aging.

When the skin is dry, it cracks with natural movements, such as those used to make facial expressions like smiling or frowning. When skin stays dry and these movements continue, the cracks get larger and turn into wrinkles.

Although Allure maintains washing your face just once per day is enough, others are not so sure. Some skin care experts and dermatologists feel that washing in the morning is a step that most people shouldn’t miss.

Although the skin is not usually exposed to dirt and pollution overnight, it can be exposed to oils and sweat overnight.

“If you aren’t changing your pillowcase often enough, you could end up with breakouts,” Alqulali said.

Whether you are in the once-a-day or twice-a-day camp regarding face-washing, there is one thing that everyone should do before going to sleep: remove makeup.

“Going to sleep regularly in your makeup is going to have negative consequences for your skin,” Alqulali said.

And not just the risk of breakouts. The May 2018 issue of Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, reported that an Australian woman who slept in her eye makeup for 25 years without ever washing it off had developed hard deposits on the inside of her lower eyelids, which caused tiny scratches to her eyeballs.

Of course, this case is extremely rare, but it shows exactly how bad sleeping in your makeup regularly can be.

“It occasionally happens to all of us, but take the time before you go to sleep to wash it off,” Alqulali said.

Besides, if you go to bed still wearing makeup, that makeup is transferred to your pillowcase and then onto your skin every night until you rewash your pillowcase.

So, how do you know if you’re washing too often?

“If you’re washing too much, your skin will feel dry and tight. You may also notice flakes, dry patches or redness,” Alqulali said.

Overwashing can also cause the development of a skin condition known as peri-oral dermatitis.

“Peri-oral dermatitis is characterized by tiny bumps, redness and itchy and flaky skin,” Alqulali said.

After using a gentle cleanser free of alcohol and skin-damaging sulfides, Alqulali recommends following up with a moisturizer to help to rehydrate skin cells.

“Use a product that contains hyaluronic acid to help restore the skin’s natural defense barrier,” Alqulali said.


Allure. How to Tell If You’re Overwashing Your Face. 23 October 2018.

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