Are You "Over-Cleansing" Your Skin?

The woman is washing her face
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If you've been having skin problems, one thing to consider is your skincare regimen. You might be over-cleansing your skin.

Your skin naturally acts as a barrier, meaning it keeps out what it's supposed to (dirt and free radicals like environmental pollution) while keeping in the good stuff (moisture and yes, some oils). When you over-cleanse your skin, you strip your skin of the oils that keep skin healthy and balanced.

While you should wash your face every night to get rid of that dirt and those free radicals that can clog pores, you should be careful of over-cleansing skin so that it feels taut and tight. Be careful of cleansers with alcohol which will strip skin of its essential oils. Skin that feels taut and tight after cleansing is a clear sign that you may be over-cleansing or using too harsh a cleanser for your skin type.

Some effects of over-cleansing include:

  • Rashes. Products that should sit on the skin (think sunscreen) will permeate skin if skin's natural barrier is damaged.
  • Adult acne. Cleansing your skin more than twice a day can trigger a panic response and send your oil glands into overdrive. Plus, if moisturizers don't soak into the skin instead of sitting atop skin then you may be prone to acne.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis (flaking red scales around the scalp and on the t-zone).

The key here is balance.

You want your skin to feel "dewy." Taut and tight is bad, dewy and moisturized is good.