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In addition to wearing sunscreen, washing your face is a cardinal rule of skincare, regardless of your skin type. Whether you’re dry or oily, combination or sensitive, getting rid of dirt and grime through cleansing is a crucial first step in any skincare routine. But for many, the question remains: how often? What are the signs that you have washed your skin too much? And is it possible to underwash your skin?

Below, skincare experts discuss the optimal frequency for washing your face.

How often should you wash your face?

There are several things to consider when it comes to your cleansing routine (including skin type, environmental conditions, and level of physical activity), but in general, most experts recommend washing your face once in the morning and once in the evening. Specifically, dermatologist Geeta Yadav recommends gentle cleansing in the morning and deep cleansing in the evening.

As for your skin type? It definitely plays a role in your cleansing routine. “For those with very oily or acne-prone skin, a dermatologist may recommend cleansing twice a day (or even more frequently), especially if you’ve been prescribed a cleanser with a high percentage of active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide,” Yadav told HuffPost. “Drier skin types may benefit from less frequent cleansing, although gentle cleansing in the morning and deep cleansing in the evening are likely to be effective.”

Weather conditions can change your skin, but not necessarily your washing frequency. celebrity beautician Shani Darden said that dry, cold weather as well as the use of heaters and hot water during the winter can cause your skin to dry out, which may cause you to cleanse yourself less frequently. However, she still recommends cleansing with a gentle cleanser morning and night, even in the dry winter months. The key is to be aware of the temperature of the water you use, as well as to avoid unnecessarily harsh cleansers that strip the skin of its natural oils, which are essential for maintaining the strength of the moisture barrier. especially in dry winter climates, Yadav is noted.

During the summer season or in very hot and humid climates, Yadav recommended cleaning more frequently, as “sweat, oil and other dirt can accumulate on the skin more quickly, which could cause congestion. pores and blemishes,” she said. Try increasing your cleansing routine to three times a day if you notice your skin getting very oily.

Why should you clean in the morning

Although the number of times a day you should wash your face is the same for all skin types, the way you clean will be different.

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If the full “splashes in the sink” experience is too much for you in the morning, try a gentle micellar water, which can be applied with a cotton ball.

Your morning cleanse will kick off the rest of your skincare routine, but it should be gentle and gentle. “I recommend cleansing with a gentle micellar in the morning, provided you’ve done a deep cleansing and skincare routine the night before,” Yadav says. “The skin can pick up some bacteria while you sleep, especially if your pillowcase isn’t clean enough, but the micellar water should be enough to cleanse the face of any dirt, as well as excess oil that your skin may have produced while you slept.”

Your morning cleanse will also help your other skincare products work better. “If you don’t start your day with freshly cleansed skin, it can affect the effectiveness of your antioxidant serums and sunscreen,” Darden warned. “Plus, not removing excess oil and impurities that inevitably build up overnight can lead to clogged pores and congestion.”

Why should you clean at night

While your morning cleanse can help create a fresh, glowing canvas for your other products, your evening cleanse is essential for removing dirt, oil, and impurities from the day, even if you haven’t put on makeup that day. -the.

“The evening is the most important time of the day to cleanse your skin, whether you’re wearing makeup or not,” Yadav said. “Of course, makeup can congest the skin, but so can sunscreen (which you should wear daily) as well as excess oil and pollutants that can build up on the skin’s surface throughout the day. .”

Like your morning cleanse, your nighttime cleanse will allow your formulas to better penetrate the skin before you sleep. This is crucial because your body (and your skin) regenerates itself while you sleep, and having a clean canvas will help support and enhance this regenerative process, Yadav said.

Signs that you are washing your skin too much

If you feel a dry feeling on your skin after cleansing, you may have washed your skin too much. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve washed your face too often — it could just mean you’ve used too harsh a cleanser, which Darden says can contribute to a “tight” feeling, as well as dry patches and flaking.

If you suddenly experience excessive oil production, Yadav said that could also be a sign of overwashing, as your skin will try to overcompensate for the loss of its natural oils by producing more oil.

While it’s possible to over-wash your skin by using the wrong cleanser for your skin type, there may be times when you want to increase the frequency of cleansing. As Yadav noted above, this can be the case if you have acne-prone skin or experience excess oil in the summer.

You should also cleanse your skin after a workout, as it’s important to remove dirt, sweat, oil and even sunscreen, as chemical formulas can clog pores for some skin types, a noted Yadav.

Learn more: The best way to wash your face, for every skin type

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