This might sound funny but there is a right and wrong way to wash your face. Facial skin is rather delicate. If you’re scrubbing your face too vigorously with your hands or washcloth, you might cause further skin irritation, redness, and even accidentally scratch yourself or cause a nosebleed. Be gentler to your face! Read some of the following tips to see whether you need to rethink your face washing technique.

Whether at the vanity sink or in the shower, start first with a splash down. Not only is this a great way to wake yourself quickly in the mornings, but it helps remove the more obvious dirt and grime. It clears the canvas, so to speak, for the next stage.

Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the water temperature should be not too cold, not too hot, but just right. To state the obvious, water that is too hot will burn your skin. But why not cold water? I’ve heard that some facial cleansers don’t work well in cold water, but my personal thought would be that cold water tends to close pores so it’s harder to get the “stuff” out of the pores. Warm water tends to open pores, which is why washing your face while you’re in the shower is a good idea. Or if you’re at the sink and have some time, soak a washcloth in warm water and hold it on your face for a minute before washing.

Now get your favorite facial cleanser ready. Some people claim soap is much harsher than facial cleansers but that is not entirely true. Bar soap for the body is harsh on the face because it contains more detergents, but facial bar soap has been formulated and tested to be less irritating for the face. The bottom line is that any form (bar, liquid, cream or gel) of facial cleanser will work.

Rub, squeeze or pump a quantity of facial cleanser on your hands. Less is more, and if you use too much, you might end up leaving some on your face. Leaving cleanser on your face can be drying or irritating, and in some cases, may actually attract dirt and oils. So use just enough (go with the “dime” or “nickel” size comparisons) to spread a thin, even coating over your entire face. Oh, and most experts recommend rubbing the cleanser first in your hands to produce a foam before applying to your face. I suppose this thought is to avoid over-rubbing your face. However, some modern cleansers don’t foam so the purpose of rubbing in hands is more to spread it out for easier application.

For how long should you wash your face? I would bet the average face washer takes less than 15 seconds to wash their face. What the “optimal” cleaning time is, I am not sure, but I did read that the newest facial cleaning gadget has a built in timer for one minute. One minute! My advice would be to map out your face- forehead, nose, cheeks, chin- and spend 10 seconds on each of those areas. Or count the number of times you rub each area and try to do 20 strokes (more or less, your preference). If one particular area is of concern, such as oily chin, then maybe spend a little longer there and shorter on another area.

Rub gently. My mother told me to always rub upwards but I admit I do not always follow her advice. I would recommend using both hands, although sometimes I tend to be lazy and only use one. I would imagine using both hands ensures even distribution of cleanser and applied pressure. One last step: I do remember to wash and massage my neck.

When you’ve washed for sufficient time (aim for at least 30 seconds), now rinse away the facial cleanser with several rounds of fresh water. Pat dry with a towel, follow up with any toners or lotions. Then smile at your freshly washed, glowing face in the mirror!

Author's Bio: 

Mark Daniels is an expert in skin care and beauty, and offers product reviews on products like the best facial cleansers or wrinkle creams. His goal is to help consumers navigate the tricky waters of the skin care world, by offering unbiased and easy-to-understand reviews of the products they will encounter.