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This Is How Often You Should Really Be Washing Your Face, Doctors Say

Doctors weigh in: the answer lies in your skin type.

For those of us with extensive skincare routines (guilty!) face washing may seem like the simplest of steps in attaining a luminous glow. But as dermatologists are quick to point out, a stellar complexion can be more complicated than meets the eye: there's no one-size-fits-all rule for how often to cleanse. For better or worse, your skin will let you know if it's unhappy in the form of breakouts, a dull complexion, excessive oil, or dryness—unless, that is, you find just the right routine for your skin. Read on for expert perspectives on just how often you should really wash your face, and for more can't-miss skincare tips, check out How To Get Meghan Markle's Glowing Skin.

Once per day

woman washing face

Washing your face just once every evening allows you to clear away impurities from the day without stripping your skin of its natural oils by over-washing.

"Realistically, you only need to wash your face once a day," Todd Minars, MD, a Miami-based dermatologist recently told NBC News. "Most of us when we sleep have a clean face from removing the day's grime or makeup off, so I tend to think that in the mornings you don't need a thorough face washing outside of your normal showering routine," he explained. "If you experience specific issues that require attention in the morning it's fine to do it then, but I see more benefits at the end of the day when you return from work or go to bed."

Twice per day

Man washing face at sink

Washing your face twice per day is considered the gold standard in most households. Doing so allows you to start each day fresh, and gets rid of makeup, dirt and residue for a clean slate when the day is done.

As Miami dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo, MD, recently shared with Allure, "Twice-a-day cleansing removes the pollutants and irritants that our skin is exposed to 24/7 — even when we sleep." As Ciraldo explained, indoor pollution and irritants on your pillowcase can both necessitate an extra morning rinse, even if you already wash before bed. And to get to the bottom of your skincare woes, check out the 30 Reasons Your Skin Is Getting Worse In Your '30s.

Three times per day

Man washing his face with a washcloth

New York City-based dermatologist Hadley King, MD, told Insider that you should plan on adding an extra cleanse into your routine immediately following any rigorous exercise. This means if you typically wash twice a day on a non-workout day, you'll want to wash three times on days when you hit the gym—once directly after breaking a sweat.


overnight, young woman

Some people swear by skipping the cleanser altogether, saying their skin has restored its own natural glow without excessive product to strip away healthy oils. Worried that this will cause an immediate skin meltdown? According to King, it doesn't necessarily work that way.

"If you have oily skin and are acne-prone, then yes, you may get more clogged pores and acne breakouts if you are not washing your face regularly," King said. "But if you are not particularly oily or acne-prone, not washing your face every day is not so likely to give you acne."

The one caveat? If you wear makeup, you should still use something like micellar water, a purifying face oil, or makeup wipes to remove any lingering product before bed. And for more tips for a glowing complexion, check out the 30 Best Ways To Have Your Best Skin.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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