How long should you wash your face? Plus, more cleaning tips

April 7, 2023 0 Comments

Some people say to leave the cleanser on for 30 seconds, others say two minutes, and some say it doesn’t even matter. What is the correct answer? According to board-certified dermatologist Divya Shokin, MD, FAAD, it’s not a one-size-fits-all move.

“Ideally, we recommend washing for at least 30 to 60 seconds,” she says. “This is enough time to remove dirt, oil and impurities from the skin without drying it out.”

Why this range? Well, some people use an oil cleanser to remove dirt, makeup, and SPF before washing with a water-based formula (this is called a double cleanse). 30 seconds will be enough for these people. But if you’re using just one cleanser to get it all off, make sure to rub it into your skin for a full minute to really dissolve all the dirt.

Another caveat: If you’re using an active cleanser with ingredients like AHAs or BHAs (exfoliating acids) or benzoyl peroxide, you should leave it on for 60 seconds to make sure those ingredients work, Shokin says. (Otherwise, you’re literally washing those actives down the drain.) You can only use these special cleansers two or three times a week to keep your skin from drying out, but you’ll want to get the most out of them when you indulge.

A few additional cleaning tips:

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