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4 Reasons Your Skin Will Look Healthier If You Stop Washing Your Face

You might be doing your skin a favor by skipping this part of your routine.

Washing your face is a mixed bag. Yes, it can be an invigorating start to your day, but it may also dry out your skin. You want your face to be clean, but in the mornings you might wonder, "Why am I washing off all the skincare I put on before bed?" Here's some good news: According to some experts, you can stop washing your face.

Specifically, you can stop washing it every day. If you don't wash your face at all, dermatologist Leah Ansell warns, a buildup of icky stuff will occur, "leaving a film on your skin. Worse, it can lead to bacterial infections such as folliculitis or acne," she tells Best Life.

Still, a daily face wash might not be totally necessary, some say. Read on to find out why skipping this step (sometimes!) can be good for your skin.

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You'll protect your skin's natural barrier.

older crows feet
MIA Studio / Shutterstock

In addition to the various serums and creams you may apply each day (or night), your skin actually has a natural barrier of its own. "Over-washing your face can strip it of its natural oils, leading to dryness, irritation, and even breakouts," says Marina Sominsky, RN, the owner and founder of Capital Aesthetics Clinic in Ottawa, Canada. By giving your face a break, "you give your skin a chance to restore its natural oils and maintain its moisture balance."

Dry skin will get a break.

oman wear white bathrobe looking in mirror see first mimic wrinkles feels stressed, face skin lose elasticity changes after 30s, aging process, need cosmetology facial treatment concept

Getting that "extra-clean feel" by washing too much can leave your skin feeling parched, cautions NYC-based dermatologist Barry Goldman. If you have dry skin, forgoing a daily wash gives it a chance to recover and absorb the moisturizing products you're (hopefully!) using.

Your skin knows how to repair itself.

Woman sleeping in bed.
Adene Sanchez / iStock

Washing your face isn't the only thing that keeps your skin healthy. While you're sleeping, your body is busy at work restoring your skin, says Valerie Aparovich, certified cosmetologist, esthetician, and Science Team Lead at OnSkin. "The body is smart. Its cells can heal and repair, and replenish the deficiency of essential substances they need."

Aparovich explains that air pollution, numerous bacteria and viruses, sun damage, makeup, and other elements pose a challenge to our skin's general wellness and its natural barrier. Keeping that barrier "solid and efficient is a necessary cornerstone of its health," she says.

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You can still have a clean face.

Woman wrapped in a towel washing her face in the bathroom sink.
Liudmila Chernetska/

The idea of skipping your face-washing some days be daunting simply because you imagine that you'll have a dirty face. But rinsing, which is different from washing, can alleviate that feeling—and Aparovich says some people's complexions might be fine with nothing more than a splash of water.

"Rinsing means you wash your face with water only, while washing [is] the usage of a cleanser," explains Aparovich, who cautions that the efficacy of a rinse-only routine depends on your skin type. "It can work for dry and normal skin [to] help it save more beneficial oils and keep it more moisturized. But oily skin may require a specifically-designed cleanser to remove overly produced sebum, she says.

Not sure whether you're washing too much, too little, or just the right amount? Consult your dermatologist or esthetician to see what works best for your particular skin type.

Luisa Colón
Luisa Colón is a writer, editor, and consultant based in New York City. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, Latina, and many more. Read more
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