Gentle is the word that you should use to sum up the entire process of washing your face. And like every other step of the face-washing process, drying needs to be done with a light hand as well. Pat your face; don't rub it. Also use a clean towel so that you're not putting bacteria or dirt back onto your newly cleaned face.
After you have dried your face, don't rush to perform the next step. If you use a topical face medication, wait several minutes. Your skin is at its most absorbent after you wash, and applying a medication too soon can be irritating. The American Academy of Dermatology warns that applying medication too soon can irritate skin and help perpetuate a cycle of further breakouts. Waiting five to 15 minutes should do the trick [source: American Academy of Dermatology: Twelve].
What you put on your face after you have gently dried it can greatly affect your skin's overall health. Fragrances and preservatives in products are what usually cause allergic reactions. If you have a reaction to something in your facial care regimen, one or more of the following might be the culprit:
- Imidazolidinyl urea
- DMDM hydantoin
- Phenoxyethanol methylchloroisothiazolinone
- Formaldehyde [source: American Academy of Dermatology]
As you can see, proper face washing involves a bit more than soaping up your face in the shower. With the proper tools, the right cleanser and the most conscientious drying technique, your face will look and feel its best. To learn even more, check out the links on the following page.