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How often should you wash your face?

It’s a question that I’m sure many people think they know the answer to, and I thought I did too.

The truth is, it can vary from person to person, so there is no single answer.

But there is a correct frequency for you.

Because of an odd period of dry skin I experienced, I decided to test out different face washing frequencies to see what would remove dirt while leaving my skin hydrated.

This article will cover how often you should wash your face depending on your skin type, and what happened as a result of me washing my dry skin at different frequencies.


How Often Should You Wash Your Face Depending on Your Skin Type

Jaipur Skincity has a good infographic of what different skin types look like.

Skin type graph.


How often should you wash your face when you have dry/dehydrated skin?

Dehydration and dryness are sources of skin damage, so it is essential that you are retaining enough essential oils by not over washing.

This means that it is recommended that you wash your face with product once a day in the PM.

Over-night, healthy oils are secreted which help with the repair of your skin’s barrier and hydration, which are key to perfect, great looking skin.

If you wash your face in the morning as well, you are just stripping this away and starving your face of what it needs.

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t wash it with lukewarm water. This won’t remove all of your oils, but does remove surface dirt that has built up over night.


How often should you wash your face when you have oily skin?

Unlike those with dry skin, oily skin has an overproduction of sebum (oils).

Because you produce more sebum over the night, washing your face with cleanser will only get so much off.

This means that even if you additionally wash in the morning, your face will still have enough oil to get your through the day.

This is providing that you use a non-stripping cleanser, though.

Consequently, concerns of dehydration and dryness will not arise.

But I do urge you to try out washing with cleanser only in the PM. If you don’t look like a human mirror (that is, have TOO much oil production), washing only once will be beneficial to your skin.


How often should you wash your face when you have combination skin?

You should wash in the PM with cleanser and in the AM with water.

In the AM, you should only use cleanser on the areas of high oil secretion.

This gives you the best of both worlds, as you aren’t drying yourself out, but are keeping your oil under control.


How often should you wash your face when you have normal skin?

You’re perfect.

Wash once a day with cleanser in the PM.


What type of Cleanser Is Best?

In any case, if you use a super harsh cleanser that strips all of your oils, it will do more harm than good.

In dry skin… this will just dry you out.

In oily and combination skin, it may reduce the amount of oil on your face at that point, but its removal will stimulate the production of new sebum, making you even oilier.

So, even if you are a super oily person, I would recommend using a gentle cleanser.

For dry skin, I would 100% recommend the CeraVe Hydrating cleanser.

Bottle of cerave hydrating cleanser.

For oily or combination skin, you might want to try the CeraVe foaming cleanser, for that extra boost.

How often should you wash your face - Bottle of cerave foaming cleanser.


What Happened When I Changed How often I Washed My Face With Cleanser?

Twice a Day

I have dry skin.

For the longest time I remember, I was washing twice a day.

I thought the ‘squeaky clean’ feeling was what you were supposed to be experiencing after you washed your face.

But alas, I was doing more harm than good.

Washing twice a day with cleanser dried my face out, and when combined with a product with stripping properties, led to a painful bout of dryness.

That said, as stated before, this may be the preferable frequency for you if you have oily skin.


Once a Day

This is the sweet spot for my dry skin, and is what I currently stick to.

It allows me to retain my healthy oils while removing excess dirt and oil build up.


Three Times a Week

This too wasn’t too bad, but I could really feel the build-up of grime.

Despite this, there were no adverse side effects other than the discomfort it caused.

However, if you have oily skin, it is likely that this would leave you very shiny and acne prone.


When I Didn’t Wash It

You have to wash your face once and a while to ensure proper maintenance.

So, when I didn’t, you can imagine how it felt and looked.

It felt very heavy and clogged, and I noticed a few break outs starting to occur.

All in all, my skin quality had just decreased.


Other Factors Affecting How Often You Should Wash Your Face

How intensely you exercise is another factor to take into account.

If you do light exercise, I would advise not to wash your face after.

However, if you do heavy exercise which is accompanied by heavy sweating, you should wash your face as the dirt and sweat gathered during the activity will clog pores and could lead to imperfections.


Conclusion – How Often Should You Wash Your Face?

One to two times a day depending on your skin type – perhaps even three if you exercise intensely.

You have to try different frequencies out and see what works for you.

But hopefully this guide has given you an outline of what you should typically be doing.

I must say that that, if you are used to washing twice a day, it will feel odd adjusting to anything less.

However, it will be worth it in the long run if you manage to change to the perfect frequency.