Wellness

You're doing it wrong! Here's the right way to wash your face

Oct. 25, 2013 at 10:25 AM ET

Video: Dermatologist Dr. Debra Wattenberg says you should was your face twice a day, be careful not to over-scrub, always clean your hands before you start and pat dry with a clean towel.

There is, apparently, a right and a wrong way to wash your face. Many of our mindless face-cleansing habits are actually causing as much harm as good to our skin, says dermatologist Dr. Debra Wattenberg.

It's true that some of these things are tips you've probably heard before -- but that still doesn’t mean you actually do them. Wattenberg identifies some common mistakes people make while washing their faces. (But, hey, you're still way ahead of this lady.)

1.      You don’t wash your hands first.

2.      You don’t take off your make-up first.

3.      You’re globbing on too much cleanser. “It’ll irritate your skin,” says Wattenberg, who is an associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. “You only need about the size of a dime, and if you use more than that you’re just going to increase your risk for irritation.”

4.      You’re using the wrong cleanser. For some people, surfactants – the stuff in soap that causes the bubbles – can be too harsh on the skin, Wattenberg says.

5.      You’re scrubbing the cleanser on way too hard. Be nice to your face! “Some people are actually very abrasive toward their skin; it can cause irritation broken capillaries and it can cause inflammation in their skin when they scrub too hard,” Wattenberg says.

6.      You’re rubbing your face with a towel to dry off. Wattenberg would rather you pat your face dry instead.

7.      You're using a dirty towel. Using the same washcloth for more than a day or two can irritate your skin, she says.

8.      You’re using way-too-hot or way-too-cold water. “Extreme temperatures can damage your skin as well and create more inflammation and irritation,” Wattenberg says.

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