Celebrity facialist Kate Somerville shares 7 ways to get a deep clean without drying out or irritating your skin.
The secret is in the steam
Here’s the most common mistake people make when washing their face: using water that’s too hot or too cold. But once you get that perfect temperature (warm, like the temp that salons use when they wash your hair) you get the beauty bonus of steam. This opens the pores and softens the sebum. Voila: spa-level facials every time you step in the shower!
Finish with a splash of cold water to calm the skin then pat dry.
You’ve probably heard this one, but it’s worth repeating. You need cleansing balms and oils to break down makeup, oil and grime. But this may surprise you: you also need it even if you don’t wear any makeup at all.
Cleansing balms help break down sunscreen (and you really should be wearing that even when it’s rainy or you’re indoors, because UV rays penetrate clouds and windows).
Don’t overdo the cell turnover
If you’ve got an exfoliating scrub and chemical peels and products with skin acids and AHAs, you are overdoing it. All those ingredients and products help break down dead skin cells. But use them every day, or use all of them at the same time, and you’re wearing down your skin’s barrier function. That leads to dryness, early wrinkles, sensitivity and irritation, and even breakouts.
- Choose either a physical or chemical exfoliator and use twice or thrice a week.
- Make sure you’re not using too many acids on your face, and read our article on skincare ingredients you should never ever mix.
- Don’t use a Clarisonic or facial brush every day. If you have dry, sensitive or mature skin, use the softest brush head.
Pick the right exfoliator
If you use a facial scrub, pick one with round and small particles. Avoid sharp or very gritty bits. These can actually damage your skin or cause really ugly redness.
Spot-apply acne wash
Use acne facial wash only where you need it, and then use a gentle cleanser for washing your face. “You have to look at your skin and face as having different ecosystems,” said Somerville. (If you get acne breakouts a lot, read 7 habits that can make your acne worse.)