wash face at night

whatever you do… wash your face at night

Didn’t you know, things go bump in the night?

The number one question I ask my clients in response to their skin woes is “Are you cleansing your skin before you go to bed?” Like actually cleansing your skin, with a cleanser, every night? Whatever you do… wash your face at night. Though it is ideal to cleanse your skin and have a morning and night time routine, more can go wrong if you skip it at night and here’s why.

If you’re breakout prone, experiencing clogged pores, or seeing dullness, the way you’re washing your face could be the culprit. The proper way to cleanse is not by using wipes, plain water, or a quick ten second cleanse. It is important to use a non foaming cleanser appropriate for your skin type and use upward, outward, circular motions to cleanse your skin for a good minute and a half. Remove your cleanser with luke-warm water and a face cloth. Don’t forget your neck! Never use scolding hot water and never scrub your skin aggressively. This can break down capillary walls and cause telangiectasia. Never use soap either. Soap has alkaline properties while our skin is slightly acidic, so it disturbs the ph balance of our skin daily. This strips the lipid layer which acts as a protective barrier and dehydrates our skin. To compensate for the dehydration, our skin produces more oil and all that oil eventually gets trapped under a layer of flaky skin caused by dehydration. Voila, our skin is dull and full of clogged pores.

The most common skin issues I see in soap users are dehydration, lack of tone, fine lines, increased sensitivity, and milias (hard white bumps under the skin). If you’re sleeping with makeup on, you’re asking for breakouts. Even non-comedogenic makeup will clog your pores if you sleep in it.

If you don’t wear makeup, you still need to cleanse your skin at night because it’s not only makeup that lingers there. Your skin collects debris and impurities during the day and free radicals in the air attack your cells and damages them. Free radicals restrict oxygen flow to cells and deplete collagen production, which speeds up the aging process. Using products with antioxidants in them with help fight free radicals in the air throughout your day. When you sleep at night, your skin absorbs more. If you didn’t cleanse your skin and apply your night cream, it’s not the luxe cream your skin is absorbing, but instead free radicals that will wreak havoc on your skin. The French believe that for every night you don’t cleanse your skin, it ages three days. THREE DAYS! I want you to think of that every time you’re too tired to hit the sink.

Before you reach for every acne or anti-aging product on the shelf, ask yourself if you are really cleansing your skin every night. Practice a full week of proper cleansing and see if your skin changes.

Bed time fixes: If you’re oily, flaky, and/or breaking out: use a gel or clay based cleanser. Follow with a hyaluronic acid serum and an oil free moisturizer without SPF. I love a Dermalogica combination of Skin Hydrating Booster and Active Moist. This duo will drastically improve your skin’s condition. Use spot treatment only in the spots you see a blemish. Salicylic acid works best for white heads, and benzoyl peroxide is best for red bumps or cystic acne. Exfoliate twice a week after cleansing. Do not use your cleansing brush or grainy scrub if you are experiencing white heads, as the bristles and beads can pop the blemish and spread bacteria to other spots on your face. If you’re dry, sensitive, and/or concerned about aging: use a gentle creamy cleanser. Follow with a soothing toner or serum and a medium to heavy weight moisturizer and eye cream. Any retinol products should be used at night only, cleansed off in the am, and not recommended for especially sensitive skin. Exfoliate one time a week after cleansing.


  1.  Wash your face for at least a minute every night
  2.  With a cleanser because soap is horrible
  3.  Do this before you use harsh treatments
  4.  Take care of your skin according to skin type after cleansing
  5.  Repeat

Featured Image Photo Credit:

Cleansers Photo Credit: 2

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More about Erika Lauren

Erika Lauren is a Boston born French girl spending her days as a workin girl and dog mom, and her nights as a nocturnal writer. She's a content creator for The Haute Mess, XOJane, and Narrative.ly. Email: ErikaLauren9@yahoo.com

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