Overcleansing your skin may lead to irritation and dryness – think constant discomfort, signs of premature aging and peely-looking skin. That is not to say you shouldn’t wash; you should wash your face to remove dirt, makeup, accumulated oils and dead skin cells at least twice a day. However, you need to pay attention to how your skin reacts to the products you use and make some adjustments, if necessary.
Generally women have more issues with dryness, because they have less oil glands and their skin is affected by constant hormonal changes. (See how female skin compares to male skin here.) Even women with oily skin shouldn’t use aggressive cleansing products, although they can cleanse up to three times a day if they are using an appropriate cleanser.
Picking the right cleanser is a bit of trial and error. As a general rule, you need to pay attention to how your skin feels 30 minutes after washing your face when you don’t use a moisturizer right away. If it feels dry, taut or stiff, chances are you need to look for another product.
On the other hand, you should keep in mind that feeling slightly dry is normal. Even simply splashing your face with water will remove some of your skin’s lipids. What you need to do is to find a gentle cleanser that works well for your skin without making you feel excessively dry and moisturize your skin immediately after cleansing. If you always follow cleansing with moisturizer and use warm – not hot – water, your skin should be able to tolerate at least twice-a-day cleansing.
Warning: some cleansers create a greasy film on your skin. This might seem like a good idea for dry skin, but in reality it’s just as bad, because they will clog your pores and attract impurities.
Tip: if you have very dry skin, moisture-rich cleansers may be a good solution for you.