Most of us have a skincare cleansing routine that we stick to — it’s all about the arduous repetition of steps (see: our guide to the best skincare routine to stick to) we diligently follow day in and day out.

But what if you are actually doing the wrong thing for your skin? Instead of reaping the benefits, you might be unknowingly damaging your skin for days on end, not caring for your individual skin type in the proper way. For better skin days ahead, here are the three most common skin cleansing mistakes to avoid — once and for all.


#1. Relying solely on makeup remover wipes

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We all know how detrimental sleeping in your makeup can be. So, having something that makes the removal process easier can’t hurt, right? Wrong — there’s always a catch. Makeup wipes might work in a pinch every once in a while, but they’re in no way effective enough for cleansing your skin properly. Cleansing agents and surfactants in wipes help to break down makeup and debris, but you actually need to rinse your face after in order to remove the layer of bacteria that wipes leave behind. In other words, makeup remover wipes are not a substitute for old-fashioned facial washing. Plus, if they contain alcohol, they can be irritating and dry you out. Bottom line: use gentle, alcohol-free wipes and follow up with a gentle cleanser every time.


#2. Over-exfoliating

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It’s highly damaging in the long term to buff away too much of your top skin layer while exfoliating. Too much exfoliating may accelerate the aging process of your skin by causing micro tears on the skin’s surface and can also destroy your skin’s moisture barrier — the thing that exists to keep bacteria out of your pores and hydration in. For the love of better complexion, stick to exfoliating only one to two times a week, max and don’t go overboard with the scrubbing while you’re at it.


#3. Cleansing in the shower too frequently

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Don’t get us wrong, washing your face while in the shower does have its pros: the hydration and warmth makes your skin particularly amenable to gentle exfoliation and thorough cleansing. But doing it too often in a shower that’s too long or too hot has its drawbacks. Hot water and temperatures can widen the blood vessels and capillaries in your face, leaving your skin red and irritated. It can also aggravate conditions like rosacea, which ultimately leads to broken and permanently dilated vessels. Facial skin can also become too dry if there is too much contact with water. That’s not all; the unstable temperature in a shower can also break down your cleansing products at an accelerated rate. The otherwise mild surfactants in your cleansers will then irritate skin when applied while in a hot shower. It’s best to store your cleansers in the medicine cabinet where temperatures are more controlled, and to avoid showering with water that’s too warm now and then. Always wash your face with cool to lukewarm water at your sink before stepping into a steamy shower alternate days where you’ll cleanse in the shower and after a shower.


For recommendations of the best facial cleansers for different skin types, check out our gallery below: