Knowing When Your Skin Is Clean or Irritated
Think of red as a stop sign. When you're scrubbing your skin and it turns red, you're irritating it. Redness is not a clean sign. Try washing your face gently, using only your hands or a soft washcloth. Cleaning your face with a loofah or scrub mitts can irritate your skin without making it any cleaner. Rough scrubbing also can cause breakouts in those who are prone to acne.
Using very hot or very cold water -- or steaming or icing your skin -- can have an irritating effect as well. Instead, use warm water and limit your bath or shower to 15 minutes; any longer can strip necessary oils from your skin. You should avoid washing your face multiple times throughout the day for the same reason -- twice a day is the limit, especially for middle-aged or older adults, who are stripping the oils that can keep their skin appearing soft. Even people with acne will benefit the most from a mild cleanser twice daily because skin that's irritated from abrasive soaps, cleansers, toners or astringents is more likely to break out.
Overall, skin cleansers don't have to cause pain, redness or tingling to be effective. If your skin appears to have been irritated by your new cleanser, stop using it and find one that's milder and a better fit for your skin.
If you're tired of seeing redness on your face and want to learn more about how facial cleansers can cause irritation, visit the links on the following page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Twelve Ways to Get Better Results from Acne Treatment." 1/14/09. (Accessed 8/30/09)http://www.skincarephysicians.com/acnenet/twelve_results.html
- Bailly, Jenny. "The Clear-Skin Makeover." WebMD. 3/20/08. (Accessed 8/30/09) http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/clear-skin-makeover
- Begoun, Paula. "The Complete Beauty Bible." 2004. (Accessed 8/30/09)http://books.google.com/books?id=bII_4h77GI0C&pg=PA77&lpg=PA77&dq=irritating+ingredients+skin&source=bl&ots=SdUCRStBR-&sig=attqEkR7gbTawr0LiE0AMuumuNw&hl=en&ei=3oSYSpP4JpO8Nuy9kJ8F&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8#v=onepage&q=irritating%20ingredients%20skin&f=false
- Larson, Elaine. "Hygiene of the Skin: When Is Clean Too Clean?" Emerging Infections Diseases 7(2): 2001. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol7no2/larson.htm
- Mayo Clinic. "Skin Care: Top Five Habits for Healthy Skin." 12/28/07. (Accessed 8/30/09) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/skin-care/SN00003
- Mayo Clinic. "Acetone, Isopropyl Alcohol and Polysorbate." 6/1/09. (Accessed 8/30/09) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600003