6 Mistakes You’re Making When Washing Your Face

Learn how your basic skin care goes a long way toward preventing premature aging

Learn how your basic skin care goes a long way toward preventing premature aging

You might think you’re doing your skin a favour by scrubbing it clean morning and night, but odds are your day-to-day cleansing habits are actually aging your skin instead. We hear from Dr. Manish Shah, a board-certified plastic surgeon and anti-aging expert who specializes in optimizing skin care routines and the preventative measures we should be taking. “While skin treatments, injectables, and surgery can help maintain the visual appearance, your basic skin care goes a long way toward preventing premature aging.”

See below for Dr. Shah’s top tips on maintaining healthy skin…


1. You’re using too much toner

Toners are essential to any skin care routine and are designed to remove cleanser residue along with the chemicals found in tap water—but too much can cause your skin to become irritable and dry.

“Using too much toner can dry out the skin and may even lead to more sebum production as your glands attempt to overcompensate,” says Dr. Shah. “If you find your skin feeling tight or irritated after applying toner, you may be using too much, and this is especially true if you have sensitive or combination skin.” When applying toner, make sure to pour a few drops onto a cotton pad and gently swipe across the face.

Dr. Shah also emphasizes that It’s extremely important to always use an alcohol-free toner as the alternative, “will dry the skin completely and remove natural oils needed to keep the skin moist and healthy.”


2. You’re using the wrong ingredients for your skin type

With an encyclopedia of knowledge at our fingertips (thanks, Google), everyone and anyone can become a skin care expert. And with consumers becoming more aware of sophisticated ingredients but not understanding their own skin type, it can lead to misuse of a product.

Take retinol, for example. “Any credible doctor will first assess the condition of your skin alongside the products and treatments you are already using in order to determine if you need prescription retinol or if a less active form sold over-the-counter is better for you,” says Dr. Shah.

So whilst a quick Internet search may be convenient, always seek professional advice before changing up your routine. 


3. You’re scrubbing too hard

Exfoliating your skin a few nights a week is key for achieving that natural glow, but it’s easy to go overboard. Shedding old skin cells will keep your skin looking young and fresh; however, “the danger is that many people don’t think to consider their loofah or washcloth as an exfoliation tool. Even if you are only using an exfoliant a few days a week, scrubbing with a harsher material every day means you could be exfoliating more than you intend—and that can cause dryness, red patches, dehydration, and hyperpigmentation,” warns Dr. Shah.


4. You’re washing with hot water

Though using a hot cloth or warm water on your face may feel good, hot water can actually be abrasive and strip the skin of it’s natural oils leaving it dehydrated. Dr. Shah points out that, “Hot water enlarges your pores, and this can affect the oil production of the skin as well as the texture of it.” This can also cause breakouts, skin irritation and acne flare-up, so for best results, use lukewarm or cool water to rinse your face.


5. You’re washing too much

There’s no such thing as being too clean, right? Wrong. Over-cleansing or washing your face can damage the skin’s natural protective system and can have an effect on how easily the environment irritates your skin, how efficiently you retain moisture, and—over time—cause you to show early signs of aging through fine lines and dry patches.

“As a general rule of thumb, you should not be washing your face more than twice a day. If you have an activity like working out or an outdoor sport in the middle of the day, try to use a bland soap or cleanser to wash away dirt and sweat without further irritating the skin,” advises Dr. Shah.


6. You’re not moisturizing after you wash

Moisturizing can help heal, strengthen, protect and will give skin a smoother and healthier look. Dr. Shah says, “The best time to apply moisturizer is after the shower or after applying toner. This will help prevent excessive dryness, and it will help to skin retain moisture.”