Can I wash my face too much?

Fresh and lovely woman washing her face
Beautiful Skin Image Gallery Excessive face washing might dry out or irritate your skin. See more pictures of ways to get beautiful skin.
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Too much of a good thing sometimes ends up being bad. Take eating, for example. Food provides us with nutrients. We can't live without it, but if we eat too much, we can actually cause our bodies harm.

You can say the same for washing your face. Doing it a couple of times a day is normal, and it can help keep your skin looking healthy and blemish free. Follow it up by applying a good moisturizer and exfoliating a couple times a week, and you'll be in great shape. But, if you start washing your face more than that, you could end up doing more harm than good.


Most people are under the impression that bad skin is a result of dirty skin, and the obvious solution is to wash it more. The black substance in blackheads, however, has nothing to do with dirt. It's actually the result of a combination of sebum, which your body naturally produces to lubricate your skin, and dead skin cells. While it's true that washing your face a couple of times a day can help loosen blackheads up and clean out your pores, you don't want to start doing it too often. Washing your face excessively is likely to irritate your skin more than anything else, and that can actually make conditions like acne worse [source: American Academy of Dermatology].

Although most people agree that washing twice a day is all that's necessary, it really depends on your skin type. Some people have dry skin, some people have oily skin, and some people have a combination of both. People with dry skin might only need to wash once a day, while those with oily skin require more maintenance. If you have oily skin, try using a toner after you wash, instead of washing more often. You might want to switch to a medicated cleanser as well. No matter what your skin type, be gentle when you wash your face -- there's no reason to attack it by scrubbing too hard.

For lots more information on facial skin care, see the links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • American Academy of Dermatology. "The Stubborn Truth About Acne." Feb. 25, 2005. (Sept. 15, 2009)