Why washing your face only once a day may be better for your skin

by Marianne Raterta, contributor

The most basic skincare practice is washing your face. It helps you feel more awake in the morning, refreshes you when it's hot out, and rinses away the icky feel of accumulated oil and dirt. We normally wash our face twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening. But consider this: how about washing your face with a cleanser just once a day?

This seemingly crazy idea flies in the face of everything we know about skin care, but it makes sense. Too much washing can be detrimental to your skin. Over-cleansing can cause dryness, which is a more pressing concern as we age. Washing, especially with soap-based cleansers, removes the protective acid mantle and leaves your skin vulnerable to bacteria. And that squeaky-clean feeling is actually a big no-no: it means you’ve stripped too much of the natural oils on your skin, leaving it more prone to flaking and irritation! 

Sebum, the oily secretion from our skin’s sebaceous glands, serves to moisturize hair and skin. Even the oiliest of skin types still need a bit of sebum – after all, sebum serves as a protective barrier against pollutants, bacteria, and anything else that might cause an irritation.

So, if you’re going to wash your face only once a day, when would be the best time to do it? 

Washing your face upon waking up generally removes bacteria and build-up that’s accumulated while sleeping but that shouldn’t be too much of a worry if you regularly change your bedding. At the end of the day though, your skin will be loaded with makeup, oil, and dirt so you should definitely make sure to do a thorough cleaning before hitting the sack! Also, those with extensive skincare regimens usually load up on products at nighttime, to enhance the natural effects of the body resting and regenerating itself. Cleansing at night preps the skin to receive the full benefits of any other products you apply after.

Of course, if you need to wear makeup for the day, you'll need an oil-free base. If you're not wearing makeup though it's not necessary to use facial wash; often, a quick rinse will be enough to clean your face.

(Liz's note: If I'm not leaving the house, I normally don't wash my face with cleanser until I do. A splash of water is all I need in the morning! It keeps my skin more, I don't know how to say it except that it feels nicer and more supple that way.)

When it comes to cleansers, you also have to find the right product for your skin type. Those with dry skin should opt for gentle, hydrating cleansers with a moisturizing cream base. For oily skin, foaming and gel cleansers should work best for you – look for these oil-controlling ingredients, too.

If you have acne-prone skin though, consider your regimen first. Some treatments must be applied on freshly-cleansed skin, so washing before you apply them is non-negotiable. To keep your skin from drying out, choose very gentle cleansers that maintain your skin's pH levels. Otherwise, you can check out cleansers with exfoliating ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid, which also double as acne fighters. You should never use ordinary body soaps regardless of your skin type – they're just too drying! 

To maximize the effects of your facial cleanser and make sure you get rid of all the buildup, learn how to cleanse your face properly. It's a simple technique that can really change the state of your skin, and the massaging action feels good after a long day, too!

What’s your favorite cleanser for your skin type? Have you tried washing your face only once a day? How did that regimen work for you?

Sources:  Allure, Stylecaster