Are You Overwashing Your Face?

Are You Overwashing Your Face?

Posted by Alison Butijer on

If you've been having skin problems, one thing to consider is your skincare regimen. You might be simply over-cleansing your skin.

Your skin naturally acts as a barrier, meaning it keeps out what it's supposed to (dirt and free radicals like environmental pollution) while keeping in the good stuff (moisture and yes, some oils). When you over-cleanse your skin, you might strip your skin of the oils that keep it healthy and balanced.

Skin that feels taut and tight after cleansing is a potential sign that you may be over-cleansing or using too harsh a cleanser for your skin type.

How often should you wash your face?

No matter your skin type, you want to wash your face at least once a day — in the evening of course, to remove any dirt, makeup, oil, and grime that's built up on your skin throughout the day. Whether or not to cleanse in the morning is up for some debate among skin-care experts. There are two sides of the camp for this debate:

Camp one: There isn't a need to rewash our face in the morning as there isn't anything to remove such as makeup or sunscreen. The natural oil our bodies produce is good for our skin, it provides a first defence barrier for the external factors of the day.

AMPERNA® Overwashing Your Face

Camp two: Twice-a-day cleansing removes the pollutants and irritants that our skin is exposed to 24/7 — even when we sleep, indoor pollution, oils, and irritants that build up on your pillowcase as reasons why you want to wash your face in the a.m.

At AMPERNA® we believe there isn’t a one single-pronged approach to cleansing & it all depends on each individual persons skin type & skin concerns.

For example, for someone who doesn’t have sensitive skin you may be fine with using a gentle cleanser both in the a.m. & p.m. But for someone who does has sensitive skin or is prone to dermatitis for example, you may be better off washing your face with water only in the a.m. & using a gentle cleanser in the p.m.

How can you tell if you're over-washing?

If your skin has a "tight and dry feeling," you know you've gone overboard. Typically, this isn't so much about how frequently you're washing your face, but which cleanser you're using. Over washing usually results from using a cleanser that's too harsh for your skin.

It's an easy mistake to make. If dirt and oil are behind breakouts, it seems like it would make sense to be extra diligent about removing them, right? Not so. Drying products tend to make our skin overcompensate by producing more oils. The skin's oil levels and moisture levels are two different measurements, so oily skin can also lack hydration and be dry."

That being said, cleansing shouldn't lead to irritation. A cleanser should never dry out your skin or make it red or flaky.

AMPERNA® Overwashing Your Face

Signs you are over-washing your face include:

  • Rashes
  • Adult acne
  • Dryness
  • Breakouts
  • Skin feels irritated, tight/stripped
  • Increased oiliness

How to alleviate over washing

If you think you might be over-washing, the key is to give your skin time to repair itself. Try going on a product cleanse and not using anything on your skin at all for a few days.

The Ideal Cleanser

Cleansing is really a delicate balance between hygiene and barrier damage. It truly is the foundation of good skin care. You can do more harm than good by using the wrong cleanser.

Don’t get distracted by slick marketing campaigns. The function of a daily cleanser should be straightforward. It’s “to remove dead skin cells, oil, dirt and other pollutants from the skin, unclog pores, prevent skin conditions such as acne, and prepare the skin for the next step in your skin-care regimen.”

A good cleanser must whisk away the bad stuff, yet leave your skin microbiome (that is, microorganisms that naturally live on your epidermis) relatively unscathed.

AMPERNA® Overwashing Your Face

What’s the Deal With pH?

The idea is that if the cleanser mimics the skin’s naturally acidic pH (5.5), it will be gentler on your skin’s acid mantle (the protective, slightly acidic layer made up of natural oils, dead skin cells and sweat). The acid mantle is what maintains skin health and staves off bacterial infections.

Unfortunately, many traditional cleanser options, like soap and sulphate-based formulas (think those that lather up easily), can skew high on the pH scale (soap is generally between nine and 10) and strip down the acid mantle.
If, after washing, your skin feels tight, dry or inflamed, that means the cleanser or cleansing mechanism was too strong & that’s an unhealthy state for our skin to be in. 

When it comes to skin health, Kiri, founder of AMPERNA®, helps many people suffering from a variety of skin & health conditions. You can book a Holistic Skin Coaching Service to discuss your skin concerns and develop a tailored plan to work towards healthy skin. 




Signs You Are Over-Cleansing Your Skin (

Are You Overwashing Your Face? Signs You're Cleansing Too Much | Allure

Are You Overwashing Your Face? - The New York Times (

Blog article author

Written By Alison Butijer

Alison Butijer has a background in Visual Merchandising but in 2020 started on her own health & wellness journey, helping other people on theirs too. Alison is passionate about holistic living, encouraging others to create healthy lifestyle habits & feeling confident in their own skin. Everything that AMPERNA® embodies.

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