We Debunk 7 Cleansing Myths
Cleansing is the first step of every skin care routine. The ritual itself is pretty uncomplicated, but that’s not to say everyone has all the fine details down pat. What’s more, there are a lot of myths floating around that could be leading you down the wrong cleansing path. Are you falling for them? There’s only one way to find out. Below, we’re setting the facts straight on seven common face washing myths.
MYTH #1: ALL CLEANSERS ARE CREATED EQUAL
Cleansing daily is a non-negotiable step in a skin care routine, but picking a cleanser to use in your routine requires some thought. In other words, don’t pick up any formula off the drugstore shelf and expect to see results; not all cleansers are created equal. They come in different shapes, sizes, textures, and bases—think: foam, gel, oil, cream, and more. Some should be rinsed off, while others can be used without close proximity to a sink. Long story short, cleansers are not one in the same. “Many people think they are helping their skin by cleansing with water only or using any type of soap or wash,” says board-certified dermatologist, and CeraVe ambassador, Dr. Shari Marchbein. “But the truth is, your cleanser should be tailored to your skin type and concerns.” According to a recent survey conducted by CeraVe, one-third of Americans feel that they don't fully understand the purpose of ingredients or know what ingredients to look for in a cleanser. That's where we can help.
For normal to dry skin types, Dr. Marchbein recommends a gentle and hydrating cleanser that contains ceramides. “Ceramides help to restore the skin’s natural barrier, lock in moisture and seal impurities out,” she says. She likes to recommend CeraVe cleansers to her patients since the brand’s full range of products are formulated with three essential ceramides, in addition to being non-comedogenic (won’t clog your pores).
Need a little help deciding which CeraVe cleanser to use? Follow our guide below:
For normal skin, try CeraVe Hydrating Micellar Water. This no-rinse French beauty favorite utilizes gentle micelles to remove impurities without stripping the skin of moisture thanks to its formula rich in three essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide. In addition to cleansing the skin of impurities, this micellar water hydrates the skin, removes makeup, and helps restore the skin barrier. Best of all? All skin types can use it! Simply saturate a cotton pad with the liquid and sweep it over your facial contours.
For dry to very dry skin, try CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser. This gentle cleanser is one of Dr. Marchbein’s favorites. “It effectively cleanses the skin to remove oil and toxins from the day,” she says. “It also features hyaluronic acid to retain the skin’s natural moisture, and patented MVE technology for all-day moisturization.” In celebration of National Cleanse Your Skin Week, CeraVe is giving out free 1 oz. samples of their Hydrating Facial Cleanser. If you'd like to try the formula before committing, be sure to sign up for your sample here!
For oily skin, try CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. Foaming cleansers start out as a liquid and transform into a foam upon contact with water to help lift away surface impurities. They often get a bad rap as being incredibly drying, but this formula by CeraVe won’t disrupt the skin’s natural protective barrier as it cleanses the skin and removes oil.
For sensitive skin, try CeraVe Makeup Removing Cleanser Cloths. If you enjoy cleansing your skin with wipes, you’ll love these ultra soft, non-irritating cloths that cleanse, remove makeup, dirt, and oil, and hydrate the skin.
MYTH #2: YOU SHOULD WASH YOUR FACE WITH HOT WATER
Despite what you may think, lukewarm water is the optimal temperature to wash your face with. Cleansing with water that’s too hot can cause unwanted dryness. While we’re on the topic, allow us to dispel another common myth. That cleansing your skin with cold water will “close” your pores. The truth is that pores do not open and close, so don’t worry about splashing cold water onto your face during cleansing. Lukewarm water is the way to go.
MYTH #3: HARSH SCRUBBING MEANS A DEEPER CLEAN
Trust us, we want impurities and dirt off our skin’s surface too, but scrubbing aggressively won’t help remove grime more effectively. In fact, harsh scrubbing may only make matters worse. When it comes to skin care, gentle should be your motto. Treat your skin with a tender touch and you’re more likely to avoid damaging your skin. When cleansing, use a gentle face wash—like CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser—and apply it in light, circular motions with your fingertips.
MYTH #4: YOU DON’T HAVE TO MOISTURIZE AFTER CLEANSING
Everyone should moisturize after cleansing—oily skin types included. Even if your cleanser is formulated with hydrating ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid, it’s important to hydrate your skin post-cleanse with facial creams, lotions, serums, and more. Oily skin types naturally have more oil residing on the skin’s surface, but they too need to introduce moisturizer to the skin post-cleansing. For best results, apply moisturizer while skin is slightly damp for better absorption.
Bar soaps have received an unfortunate reputation of causing dry skin. Some bar soaps can strip skin of moisture, but the right soaps will not.
MYTH #5: STEER CLEAR OF BAR SOAP
A big cleansing misconception is that all bar soaps are bad for your skin, and should be avoided. “Bar soaps have received an unfortunate reputation of causing dry skin,” says Dr. Marchbein. “Some bar soaps can strip skin of moisture, but the right soaps will not.” One such bar soap is the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar, which effectively cleanses the skin without disrupting the skin’s barrier. In fact, it’s formulated with CeraVe Moisturizing Cream to help add moisture to the skin.
MYTH #6: THE MORE YOU WASH, THE BETTER
The question of how often one should cleanse is a tricky one. Some derms will suggest twice per day (morning and night), while others may say one face-washing session per day will suffice. While we may not have a definitive answer for how often to cleanse, most derms will agree that over-washing your skin is a terrible idea. “Despite how important cleansing the skin is, it can be damaging if overdone which many people don’t realize,” says Dr. Marchbein. Cleansing your skin excessively can strip the skin of moisture and caused unwanted dryness. If you have oily skin, excessive cleansing can not only cause dryness but a hypersecretion of oil. Create a routine that makes the most sense for your skin type and concerns. If you’re concerned about drying out your skin with your face wash, make sure your arsenal is stocked with gentle, hydrating cleansers only that won’t strip the skin of moisture, such as those offered by CeraVe. Remember, the right cleanser should make your skin feel fresh, clean, and light.
MYTH #7: YOUR SKIN SHOULD FEEL “TIGHT” AFTER CLEANSING
If your skin feels tight after cleansing, it likely means the product you’re using is too harsh. That tight, squeaky-clean feel can allude to your skin being overly dry due to a loss of natural oils. If this is the case for you, swap your current cleanser out for a gentler formula, such as those mentioned at the beginning of this article.
Looking to add a new cleanser to your routine? Take our cleanser quiz to find the best type of cleanser for your skin type and concerns!