How Often Should You Wash Your Face? (2023)

When wondering how often it’s necessary to wash your face, you might hear conflicting advice––some people say they wash their face upwards of three times a day, others might say they don’t wash their face at all. So who’s right? Is there a correct number of times to wash your face a day? And what kind of facial cleansing regimen is going to work for you?

To answer these questions and more, we’ve put together this helpful guide.

How Necessary Is Washing Your Face?

Washing your face is an important part of maintaining the health and appearance of your skin. After all, it is the largest organ in your body and should be treated with respect. Dirt, oil, pollution, and bacteria build up on the skin and can clog pores throughout the day; cleansing your skin to remove excess dirt and dead skin cells is a vital step in your routine.

Benefits to washing your skin include:

  • More youthful skin
  • Clearing blemishes
  • Reducing pimples or bumps under your beard
  • Soothing skin
  • Cleaning pores
  • Prepping skin for other products

When Should You Wash Your Face?

Most dermatologists seem to agree that the best time to wash your face is once in the morning and once at night. There is one exception to this: if you’ve done a lot of exercise or have been sweating a lot for whatever reason, it’s a good idea to wash your face after a workout.

Should Your Skin Care Routine Change Throughout the Day?

Although your nighttime and morning routine can remain fairly simple––with as few as two or three steps––there are usually some differences between the two. Let’s take a look at the difference between a morning and a nighttime skincare routine:

In the Morning

Skincare in the morning should focus mainly on preventing skin damage and protecting your skin.

This means that a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF are essential. Even if you aren’t spending much time outside, you should get in the habit of using sunscreen every day (with an SPF of 30 or higher); even a few trips to your car can build up over some time. Sun damage can lead to wrinkles, age spots, and skin cancer.

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At Night

Nighttime skincare is mostly about cleansing and repairing the skin. At night is when the top layer of your skin regenerates itself; to make this process as effective as possible, it’s important to remove obstacles like excess dirt and oils. Washing your face at night can even soothe you and help you sleep better.

It’s best to exfoliate before you apply any products so that they can absorb better into your skin. Unless given different directions by your healthcare provider, nighttime is also the best time to apply skin medications or acne creams.

Can You Ever Skip Washing Your Face?

In general, it’s good to stick to washing your face in the morning and in the evening, seeing as bacteria can build up on your skin even at night. However, depending on your skin type, you might be able to get away with skipping the morning cleansing routine. Rinsing your face with lukewarm water will at least wake you up and can wipe away some of the sweat from the previous night. Just keep in mind: the key to good skincare is consistency. Suddenly switching up your routine too often can end up irritating your skin.

What Should You Do If You Have Sensitive Skin?

Around 50-60 percent of men report having sensitive skin. As long as you’re using gentle products that don’t cause you any itching, irritation, or redness, even those with sensitive skin should be able to wash their face twice a day.

In fact, some people with skin conditions, such as rosacea, have found that gently cleansing their face twice a day has improved their condition. The most important thing to keep in mind is to stick to products and methods that work for you. If you have a skin condition, talk to your doctor about what to do.

How Often Should You Exfoliate?

Exfoliating cleansers are a good addition to your skincare routine, but they should only be used once in a while. Exfoliating your skin can help remove the buildup of flaky, dead skin cells; it can also help encourage new skin to develop, giving your skin a fresher appearance.

Too much exfoliation, however, can strip your skin and even lead to acne. Therefore, you should only exfoliate once or twice a week at most. To prevent skin damage, you should also stick to chemical exfoliators over physical ones like scrubs.

Is It Better to Wash Your Face More or Less?

The short answer to this is: it depends. Everybody’s skin is different, so you might find that yours requires more or less attention or can handle products differently than others.

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Washing your face twice a day has been shown to lead to improvements in blemishes over those who wash less; therefore, if you have acne-prone skin, washing twice a day is probably best. However, if your skin is very dry or sensitive, cutting it down to just once a day might be ideal.

With What Should You Wash Your Face?

The right face wash can make a big difference. Choosing the right products to wash your face with is as important as how often you wash your face. You’ll want to make sure you’re using products with non-irritating and beneficial ingredients that address your specific concerns. In addition to the right facial cleanser, you should wash your face with your hands––scrubs or harsh face cloths can irritate your skin––and lukewarm water, seeing as hot or freezing water can dry out your face.

How Often Should You Wash Mature Skin?

Elasticin is the protein component in your skin that lends elasticity to the skin tissue and keeps it flexible. Collagen is the other major protein component in your skin that makes it strong and supple. Both of these proteins break down as you age, making skincare all the more important.

Washing your face once or twice a day is ideal for mature skin, as cleansing can allow other products, like moisturizers, to penetrate deeper. It will also allow your pores to breathe and keep you looking fresh.

When Should You Use a Face Mask?

Sometimes you might find that your skin needs some extra attention. Whether through physical activity, weather, age, or stress, environmental and internal factors can have us going through rougher skin periods; it’s also possible you have an event coming up where you just want to look your best.

Using a face mask now and then can help address specific issues you have with your skin. Face masks can help clean pores, fight blemishes, moisturize, and firm the skin depending on their ingredients. Just make sure it doesn’t conflict with the rest of your routine; you should only use a face mask about once a week.

How Often Should You Moisturize?

In general, you should moisturize as often as you cleanse your face––meaning about twice a day. Washing your face can cleanse your skin both of pollution and products, meaning you’ll want to replenish your skin’s moisture afterward. Especially as we age, moisturizing is important to replenish the skin’s barrier and prevent fine lines.

How Often Should You Switch Cleansers?

If you’ve found a face wash that works for you, there’s no reason to change it. A consistent skincare routine can work wonders, whereas constantly changing products can end up irritating your skin. With changing lifestyle or weather conditions and aging, you might find that your old routine needs some switching up. In that case, use a product for six to eight weeks to understand how it works for you (unless, of course, it irritates your skin).

(Video) Cleanse, Treat, Protect - Foundations of Skincare

Can You Overwash Your Face?

Although people rarely have the time to wash their face too much, it is possible to overwash your face. Washing your face several times a day, or using harsh products, can end up stripping and drying out your skin.

Similarly, people who scrub their face aggressively, hoping to clean it, can actually be doing more harm than good. Gently washing your face once or twice should be sufficient.

The Bottom Line

Everybody’s skin is unique. A routine that works for one person might not work so well for the next. In general, you should wash your face twice a day–once in the morning and at night, with some exceptions. Heavy workouts or skin conditions can require more or less facial cleansing.

Ultimately, the best way to find out what works for you is to try out different things, giving each product and method a few weeks to see how it develops (unless your skin has a bad reaction). Remember, your skin changes as you age, so your old routine might have to be adjusted over time.


A single-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical trial evaluating the effect of face washing on acne vulgaris | NCBI

Do You Really Need a Skin Care Routine? | Northwestern Medicine

Face Washing 101 | AAD

(Video) What to NEVER Put On Your Face! - Dr. Anthony Youn

Facial Care Helps to Control Rosacea | National Rosacea Society

Growing a Pandemic Beard? Solve Skin Problems Caused by Your Facial Hair | Yale Medicine

The Prevalence of Sensitive Skin | Farage MA

Skin Care Tips for Men | AAD

Washing Your Face Before Bed | Sleep

What is Elastin? | News Medical

10 Skin Care Habits That Can Worsen Acne | AAD


Is it OK to not wash your face everyday? ›

You could experience dryness, breakouts, or dermatitis.

As Dr. Kikam explains, a one-night break from your face wash routine won't cause too much damage, but it is important to rid your skin of dirt before dozing off.

Is it OK to wash your face 3 times day? ›

There's no need to wash the face more than twice a day. In fact, doing so may dry out your skin. When this happens, Ivonne says skin “does whatever it needs to do to regain moisture.” This includes “making its sebum production work in overdrive, causing more oil and more acne than there was originally.”

Can you overwash your face? ›

Over-cleansing, she said, “takes the skin's lipids away and destroys skin barrier function, which in turn allows bacteria to enter and cause breakouts, redness, irritation, neurodermatitis and decreased natural resistance to UVA and UVB rays.”

Is it better to wash your face at night or morning? ›

Both Emer and Zeichner agree that if you're only going to wash your face once a day, nighttime is the best time to do it. "Most dermatologists recommend face-washing twice daily, once in the morning and once before bed," says Zeichner.

Why does my face look better when I don't wash it? ›

You may be using unnecessary products. "Some people may just not be genetically predisposed to breakouts or may produce less [oil],” says Batra. If that sounds like you, you may actually find your skin looks better when you ditch your cleanser.

Why does my skin look better when I wake up? ›

Do you ever feel your skin looks better in the morning? The reason is often attributed to the fact that your skin gets thicker in the morning, as it prepares to protect against stressors throughout the day. And yet, even at its thickest point, our skin is less than a tenth of an inch thick.

Is washing your face 1 time a day good? ›

How often should you wash your face? No matter your skin type, you want to wash your face at least once a day — in the evening to remove any dirt, makeup, oil, and grime that's built up on your skin throughout the day.

Can Overwashing face cause acne? ›

Washing/Exfoliating Too Much

The truth is that over-washing can make your acne worse. Scrubbing your face too much can dry out your skin and cause more breakouts.

What should be applied on face before sleeping? ›

The application of moisturising cleansing milk before bedtime hydrates your skin for the night and allows your skin to breathe. After you've applied the cleansing milk, complete the ritual by applying a toner that suits your skin type.

How do I know if Im over cleansing? ›

How Can You Tell If You're Overwashing?
  1. Your Skin Feels Tight. If your skin has a “tight and dry feeling,” this is a strong indication you've gone overboard. ...
  2. Your Skin Becomes Oilier. ...
  3. You Develop Acne. ...
  4. Rashes May Appear. ...
  5. You Experience Atopic Dermatitis.

Should I wash my face with hot or cold water? ›

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends washing your face in lukewarm water. It's the perfect middle ground for all skin types, as Beal explains that hot water strips your skin of the protective oils that help hold in moisture.

Is it good to splash cold water on your face? ›

Lukewarm water is advisable to wash your face with, but cold water has its benefits, too. Cold water tightens the appearance of your skin, so it may make you look renewed and refreshed. It also helps boost your circulation, which can help give your skin a healthier appearance, albeit temporarily.

What happens if you don't wash your face? ›

So what's the big deal? If you don't wash your face twice a day, your skin is in danger of breakouts due to oil, dirt and makeup clogging pores. Your pores will appear larger and your skin will look dull and textured, instead of having a radiant, youthful glow.

Should I let my skin breathe at night? ›

You should always use a moisturizer at night. Some people avoid using night cream to let their skin breathe, but this is far from the truth. Avoiding using a night cream offers no positive benefit to the skin. When skin is bare, any existing moisturize evaporates right out of it.

Does not washing your face at night age you? ›

2 You'll prevent wrinkles

Not washing can lead to premature aging. Makeup tends to hold on to the free radicals our skin is exposed to every day. If you don't wash your face at night, your skin has to fight off these free radicals which causes the breakdown of healthy collagen.

What should I drink before bed for glowing skin? ›

Drink plenty of water in the evening.

Holistic nutritionist Joy McCarthy recommends drinking at least a liter of water overnight for glowing skin in the morning. “Keep it beside your bed, and if you wake up thirsty, take a couple sips.

How many hours is beauty sleep? ›

When it comes to your beauty routine, sleep may be the closest thing there is to a fountain of youth. Your body repairs itself and recovers while you snooze, and that leads to a long list of benefits for your looks. The key is to get enough shut-eye -- 7 to 9 quality hours each night.

What is double cleansing? ›

Double cleansing is as simple as it sounds. It involves thoroughly washing your face with two cleansers. The only catch is that the cleansers need to be two different types to have the desired effect. The first is usually an oil-based cleanser. This is followed up by a water-based one.

How often should I shower? ›

Many doctors say a daily shower is fine for most people. (More than that could start to cause skin problems.) But for many people, two to three times a week is enough and may be even better to maintain good health.

Should I wash my face for 30 seconds? ›

Keep it simple: Try to aim for 20 to 30 seconds of washing, or until the product lathers up on your face, because doing more than that could be too much for your skin.

How do stress pimples look like? ›

Given the increase in oil production, she says your skin will usually look greasier and slightly more inflamed. Zeichner adds that stress acne can also look like a combination of blackheads, whiteheads, red bumps, and pus pimples.

Why do I wake up with a new pimple everyday? ›

Sudden acne breakouts can be because of numerous reasons, including hormonal changes or hormonal imbalance, an unhealthy diet including lots of deep fried and junk food, release of cortisol hormones because of excessive stress, excessive production of sebum and much more.

What does over cleansed skin look like? ›

Signs You Could Be Over Cleansing Skin.

Here are three tell-tale signs of over cleansing your skin: Your complexion looks super-oily. New breakouts are popping up. Your skin looks and feels super-dry.

What foods clear your skin? ›

Some skin-friendly food choices include:
  • yellow and orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apricots, and sweet potatoes.
  • spinach and other dark green and leafy vegetables.
  • tomatoes.
  • blueberries.
  • whole-wheat bread.
  • brown rice.
  • quinoa.
  • turkey.

Does drinking water clear your skin? ›

Improved Complexion. Drinking enough water can help you combat a variety of skin issues including psoriasis and eczema. It does this by helping your digestive system flush out toxins from the body. This, in turn, will improve your complexion for healthy and glowing skin.

Does drinking water help your skin? ›

If the outermost layer of the epidermis doesn't contain enough water, skin will lose elasticity and feel rough. Despite this connection, however, there's a lack of research showing that drinking extra water has any impact on skin hydration or appearance.

How can I look 10 years younger than my age? ›

10 Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, Say Experts
  1. Maintain Good Posture.
  2. Don't Forget to Wear Sunscreen on Your Hands.
  3. Eat Anti-Aging Foods.
  4. Smile More.
  5. Exercise.
  6. Get A Good Night's Sleep.
  7. Take Care of Your Skin.
  8. Eat Lots of Veggies.
5 Sept 2021

What is the best sleeping position for your face? ›

Sleeping on your back

According to Dr. Vasyukevic, the supine position is the best position all around for prolonging youthful skin. Not only does it prevent wrinkles due to the lack of wrinkle-inducing friction, it also stops the skin from feeling the pressure of your face "folding" into the pillow.

What should you not cover your face while sleeping? ›

We should not cover our faces while sleeping because it blocks the incoming of oxygen and the escape of carbon dioxide. As a result of this, we may feels suffocated. So, to avoid suffocation or any such problems, we should not sleep with our faces covered.

What is the No 1 face wash? ›

Best Overall - Bella Vita Organic Vitamin C Face Wash for Oily to Normal Skin women & men. Bella Vita Organic Vitamin C Face Wash for oily to normal skin women & men is the best overall facewash on this list.

What should you put on your face after washing it? ›

While you do want to give your face a good cleaning, you don't want to overly strip the skin of essential oils or cause dryness, notes Zeichner. After washing, he recommends locking in hydration with a light moisturizer.

Is it OK to wash your face with your hands? ›

There's nothing inherently wrong with using only your hands to wash your face. Some people find that hands work just fine, while others need a tool to get the deeply clean, lightly exfoliated skin they want.

What comes first after cleansing your face? ›

Be sure to always start with a clean face.
  • Step 1: Cleanser. After removing all your makeup, cleanse your face with an oil-based or water-based cleanser—or both if you're doing a double cleanse! ...
  • Step 2: Toner. ...
  • Step 3: Serum. ...
  • Step 4: Spot Treatment. ...
  • Step 5: Eye Cream. ...
  • Step 6: Moisturizer. ...
  • Step 7: Face Oil.
10 Jul 2020

What damages your skin barrier? ›

Most of the barrier damage comes from stripping your skin of its natural oils with harsh cleansers, acne medication, and acids. Scrubbing too hard, waxing, and using DIY ingredients like lemon and baking soda, and on some skin types, alcohol and fragrance are also common culprits for damage.

How do you tell if you're stripping your skin? ›

“You know your barrier is stripped because the skin will typically feel tight, itchy, and really sensitive,” says Dr. Garshick of symptoms to look out for. “It may also appear red, flaky, and dry.” In order to prevent injuring or stripping your skin barrier, Dr.

Does washing your face make you look younger? ›

Washing your face doesn't necessarily speed up the process of aging. However, the way you wash your face and the products that you use may damage your skin. Damaged skin looks dry, unhealthy, and can be prone to fine lines and wrinkles.

How do you deep clean your pores? ›

Use an exfoliating scrub or chemical exfoliant 2-3 times a week to give the skin a deep clean and clear out the pores without stripping it of any natural oils. Clay masks are ideal for clearing out the pores, they can remove oil, dirt and dead skin that is found deep inside the pores.

Is Dove soap good for your face? ›

Can you use Dove beauty bar on your body and face? Our mild beauty bar is a handy head-to-toe multi-tasker, so yes, you can use Dove beauty bar on your body and face. It also works wonders at cleaning and moisturizing your hands – so we recommend keeping a bar by the sink.

Should I ice my face in the morning or night? ›

In the event that you wear a significant amount of makeup, consider applying ice to your face each morning before putting on your makeup. If you suffer from acne or similar skin blemishes, ice your face every other night before you go to bed.

Is it better to wash your face in the morning or at night? ›

Both Emer and Zeichner agree that if you're only going to wash your face once a day, nighttime is the best time to do it. "Most dermatologists recommend face-washing twice daily, once in the morning and once before bed," says Zeichner.

Why do people put water on their face in the morning? ›

“The simple step of slashing the face with cold water in the morning can really invigorate and stimulate sluggish and 'sleepy' skin,” explains aesthetic nurse Anna Baker. No, it won't magically make your pores disappear – that's a common myth in skincare.

Is it OK to wash face with water only? ›

Those with very dry skin or eczema will find that water-cleansing helps to retain the skin's natural moisture. However, persons with oily, acne-prone, or combination skin might need soap or liquid cleanser to dissolve excess oil which often clogs pores and causes breakouts.

Should I wash my face 3 times a day if I have acne? ›

The first thing to know about your acne is that how often you do (or don't) wash your face is not the cause. But you can make things worse by washing too often and using the wrong cleansers. Twice a day is enough for most people unless you get sweaty or dirty. Be sure to choose a product that won't irritate your skin.

Is it OK to wash your face 2 times a day? ›

“Cleansing twice a day is ideal unless you're noticing your skin getting flaky, dry, or irritated, then it's ok to take a break,” she advises. “Combination skin will need a thicker moisturizer than oily skin, especially in dry winter weather.

How many times can I wash my face in a day? ›

In an ideal world, you should wash your face twice a day.

Experts agree that two is the magic number: wash once in the morning, and once at night.

How do you know if you're over cleansing? ›

How Can You Tell If You're Overwashing?
  1. Your Skin Feels Tight. If your skin has a “tight and dry feeling,” this is a strong indication you've gone overboard. ...
  2. Your Skin Becomes Oilier. ...
  3. You Develop Acne. ...
  4. Rashes May Appear. ...
  5. You Experience Atopic Dermatitis.

Why do I still get pimples when I wash my face everyday? ›

Hormones are the real reason for your acne situation. If you're keeping up a regular cleansing regimen and you're still having breakouts, the problem could be under your skin — hormones.

Should I wash my face with cold water? ›

Lukewarm water is advisable to wash your face with, but cold water has its benefits, too. Cold water tightens the appearance of your skin, so it may make you look renewed and refreshed. It also helps boost your circulation, which can help give your skin a healthier appearance, albeit temporarily.

Is it OK to not wash face in the morning? ›

You should wash your face in the morning for various reasons,” she says. “Bacteria can accumulate throughout the night and, also, you should prime your skin by cleansing it for your morning skincare routine, not to mention to remove your nighttime creams and serums used the night before.”

How often should I moisturize my face? ›

How Often Should You Use a Face Moisturizer? Generally accepted advice about the use of moisturizers is to apply it twice daily––every morning and every night. It's the most commonly accepted practice because it ensures that the moisture content of your skin remains constant throughout the entire 24 hour period.

Should you moisturize after washing your face at night? ›

While you do want to give your face a good cleaning, you don't want to overly strip the skin of essential oils or cause dryness, notes Zeichner. After washing, he recommends locking in hydration with a light moisturizer.


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