Face Wash: Myths/Facts

1. Back in Oct. 2017, Soko Glam founder, Charlotte Cho, came out and said that you shouldn’t wash your face in the shower.

Is this myth, or truth? If it’s myth, how might one go about washing  their face in the shower the correct way?  This is a total MYTH.  In fact, when you wash your face in the shower, the warm mist from the shower promotes deeper exfoliation and unclogs the pores.  As long as you are using scorching hot water or harsh soaps, washing your face while you’re in the shower will save you time, save water and give you a deeper cleaning to prep your skin for the rest of your skin care routine. 


2. Is it true you should wash your face twice a day?

NOT an absolute truth.  Washing your face at the end of the day is essential so that makeup, dirt, oil, environmental pollutants don’t stay on your face overnight.  For most people, washing face with a gentle cleanser in the morning will allow for a bare base so that your morning products will be more effective.  However, for people with very dry, sensitive skin, and who don’t wake up with oily T-zone, then skipping the morning face wash is fine.  


3. Is double cleansing with both an oil- and water-based cleanser necessary?

I recommend double cleansing for most of all my patients/ clients who wear makeup or have blemish-prone skin. Contrary to popular belief, oil cleansers don’t clog your pores, in fact, because “like attracts like”, a good oil cleanser will melt away all the layers of products and excess oil that has built up throughout the day, without the need of harsh mechanical exfoliation.  Then you follow up with a gentle water-based, ph-balanced cleanser suited for your specific needs, whether it’s for declogging pores or for brightening the complexion.  This double cleansing technique ensures that you “detox” your skin at the end of the day and that your evening routine starts on a fresh canvas.


4. Face products that burn, or tighten the skin a little are working.

This really depends on the degree of burning/ tightening sensation, and whether how long the symptoms last.  In most cases, when you start AHA/BHA/retinol or prescription-strength retinoids, your face will go through an adjustment phase where irritation, slight burning sensation, or even peeling may occur, but in general, these symptoms subside as the cellular turnover gets re-equilibrated by the active ingredient.  Persistent burning, tightening sensation, on the other hand, especially when it is associated with redness of your face, and itching, can be a sign of over-use of antioxidants or retinoids, or sensitivity to the ingredients.  Additionally, on the cellular level, burning or tightening sensation usually correlates with a compromised skin barrier. An array of skin issues such as contact dermatitis, rosacea, and eczema can be triggered when the skin barrier is compromised. 

Please feel free to check out https://bialife.com/tips/bia-glossary/ for a complete definition of various active ingredients. 


5. Washing your face with regular soap and water will suffice as a routine.

Only if you don’t have any skin issues from regular soap/ water, then that’s fine.  For most people who are avid skincare lovers, effective yet gentle cleansing is an essential start of a routine so that the skin is clean enough to allow penetration of active ingredients such as antioxidants, vitamins, and retinols, but protected enough to minimize irritation from these active ingredients.  In other words, if washing with regular soap/ water is all you need, then go for it.  But for most people who layer products after cleansing, it’s important to find the right cleanser that fits your specific skin needs and that is compatible with the rest of your routine. 


6. Washing with hot water opens your pores, and rinsing with cold water closes them. 

Yes, this is a FACT.  Medical studies that evaluate the effect of temperature on skin barrier and penetration of products have supported that temporary heat essentially loosens up the connection between your skin cells.  These studies were focusing on the feasibility of transdermal medication delivery, but their findings support the effects of thermal heat on the skin.  


7. Scrubbing is the best way to get a deep clean.

 MYTH!!!!!  Scrubbing does not take away oil or makeup polymers that tend to stick on the surface of the skin.  In fact, mechanical scrubbers often lead to microscopic fissures on the skin, that can potentiate allergic reaction or irritation to your skin care ingredients.  Overtime, your skin responds to aggressive mechanical exfoliation by producing more sebum/oil which can lead to clogging.  This often then becomes a vicious cycle.  If you have to scrub, then use a soft muslin clothe or use cleansers that have spherical beads, to minimize unnecessary injury to your skin barrier.  


8. If you don’t wash your face every day, you’re likely to develop acne.

FACT. Acne is caused by 3 main factors: clogging of the pores, bacteria overgrowth (mainly Propionibacterium acnes), and inflammation as a response to bacteria colonization and pore congestion.  If you don’t wash your face daily, then your pores are more likely to be clogged with dirt, and excess sebum, which then promotes colonization by P. acnes, and eventually lead to increased risk for acne. 

9. In order for it to be effective, you should have multiple steps to washing your face.

HALF MYTH/ HALF FACT — this is why nothing is absolute in skincare. As long as you are thoroughly removing the makeup, dirt while not stripping your skin, then you’re achieving the goal of cleansing.  The simple test is to wash your face with your current cleanser, then take a makeup wipe and go over your forehead and cheeks. If the wipe is dirty/ stained, then your current routine is NOT effective, and you may need to consider a double cleansing with oil/ cleanser.  If the wipe is clean, then stick with what your doing. 


10. You shouldn’t use a washcloth to dry your face.

MYTH. There is no medical data to suggest that drying with a washcloth is harmful to your face.  In fact, most of our tap water is NOT ph-balanced and contains pollutants/micro contaminants.  Why would you let tap water dry on your face and potentially get irritation from the particulates in the tap water, and not to mention wasting your precious time waiting for your skin to dry?


11. Washing your face with only cleansing wipe at night will suffice.

MYTH. Cleansing wipes often contain antimicrobials, chemical preservatives, and scents that if that on the skin for too long, can sensitize your skin to allergic contact dermatitis.  Additionally, these chemicals may cross-react with the ingredients in your nighttime skincare products, and lead to irritation/ allergy.  If you are in a rush, then use cleansing wipe and follow with a quick splash of lukewarm water to get rid of the chemicals.


12. You don’t have to wash your hands before washing your face.

MYTH. Wash your hands before washing your face is important to minimize irritation, allergy, and potential infection of your eyes.  Most people use hands frequently for typing keyboards, or phones, or driving.  The bacteria and chemical on these surfaces can lead to skin // eye irritation or infection, esp in people with eczema-prone skin.

13. You don’t need to take your makeup off first.

MYTH. Makeup has pigment, preservatives, minerals, and metals that often can clog your pores if left on too long (when mixed with your natural oil) and prevent penetration of your skincare products. It is essential to remove makeup as the first step in your nighttime routine.


14. Any cleanser for your skin type will work.

MYTH!!!! Unless you’re genetically blessed with “tough” skin, picking the right cleanser is crucial.  For example, people with rosacea-prone skin requires gentle cleanser and should not use a cleanser with beads as they will experience more redness and irritation.  Blemish prone or oily skin may benefit from cleansers with AHA/BHA.  Dry skin may benefit from gentle, lotion-based cleanser rather than foaming cleansers to avoid over the stripping of sebum.  To further complicate the matter, your cleanser should be compatible with the rest of your skincare routine.  For example, if you are starting on a retinoid, then you may want to switch to a gentle ph-balanced cleanser to minimize “retinoid dermatitis”.  This is why speaking to a skincare expert, especially your dermatologist, is important in curating the best skincare routine for your skin type and your lifestyle.


15. Toner is necessary.

MYTH. Toner is not necessary at all.  However, I personally prefer an essence, which is similar to toner, but usually does NOT contain any alcohol or astringent.  An essence can help to balance skin pH and prep your skin for the remainder of your skin care routine.


16. Are there any other myths you’d like to address?

 At-home microneedling is my biggest pet-peeve at the moment.  The DIY microneedling system has no medical data and is far from achieving similar mechanism of action as medical-grade/ office-based microneedling. Additionally, the at-home systems increase risks for skin infection and irritation.

With love, Janelle & Shasa

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