How Often Should You Wash Your Face If You Have Acne?

How Often Should You Wash Your Face If You Have Acne?

Although acne isn’t caused by not cleansing your face, regular cleansing is an important step in your acne treatment routine. But exactly how many times a day should you be washing your face?

Twice a day is the magic number:

The magic face-washing number is generally agreed to be two. A twice-daily cleansing – morning and night – is just enough to clean away makeup, dirt, and extra oil hanging around on the skin, but not too much to be irritating. A pre-cleanse using micellar water can assist to remove make-up and sweat prior to cleansing at night.

Stronger isn’t always better:

The products you use to cleanse your face are also important. The skin on your face is delicate, so you don’t want to use harsh cleansers or soaps. Antibacterial hand soap and bar soaps are NOT good for your skin if you have acne. And you should never use rubbing alcohol to cleanse your face!

Stronger isn’t always better. Instead, choose a cleanser that leaves your skin feeling clean but not overly dry, stripped or tight.

Acne isn’t caused by a dirty face:

If you’re breakout-prone it doesn’t mean you aren’t taking proper care of your skin. It’s important to remember that acne isn’t caused by a dirty face. In fact, many people with acne are fastidious about keeping their skin clean — but breakouts still happen. This is because acne is caused by numerous factors that are completely independent of skin care regimen.

People with acne have skin cells that don’t shed away properly and are more sensitive to irritation caused by acne-causing bacteria called Propionibacteria acnes. Hormones play a role in the development of acne too.

Washing too often can worsen acne:

Over-washing your face can be just as bad as not cleansing at all. If you wash your face too often, you can easily strip away all of the good oils your skin needs to stay supple.

You can also break down the acid mantle, which is a protective coating that we have over our skin that’s made up of sweat, oil, and good bacteria. For strong, healthy skin you need a strong, healthy acid mantle.

If you cleanse too often, you can easily end up with skin that is dry, red, flaky, and irritated. Probably not the result you’re looking for. Scrubbing is also a no-no. Harsh scrubs won’t clear your skin any faster, but they can irritate your skin and aggravate breakouts.

But cleansing alone isn’t enough for acne:

Think of your skincare routine as a daily practice with a number of simple steps. Good skincare helps remove dirt, excess oil, and makeup, and can help reduce pore blockages. But cleansing with simple soap or face wash and water isn’t enough to clear up acne.

Consider your twice-daily cleansing as step one in your acne treatment routine. Step two should be the regular use of an acne treatment product.

For mild breakouts, you might try and over-the-counter product first. Those with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide are the most effective. Use them regularly for a few weeks and see if that helps smooth away bumps and clear pimples.

However, more severe or inflamed breakouts usually won’t improve with store-bought acne products. Instead, you’ll need a prescription acne medication from your dermatologist. These will give you a far better foundation for clearing your skin.

Just remember, all topical acne treatment medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription, work best when applied to freshly washed and thoroughly dried skin.

Remember, acne is a normal part of growing up. But there’s no reason your teen has to struggle with it when there are so many great acne treatment options available. Dr Kate DeAmbrosis is a specialist dermatologist who is nationally recognised for advising on teen skincare.

Contact Valley Plastic Surgery HERE to schedule a consultation with Dr DeAmbrosis.