Dirty Secret: Do You Skip Washing Your Face at Night?
We’ve all got our dirty little skin and beauty secrets — but when are they a little bad, very bad, or not so bad at all? Each issue, a WebMD the Magazine reader confesses all, and one of our experts weighs in. In our July-August 2010 issue, a reader asks whether it’s OK to skip washing her face at night. Laurie Polis, MD, WebMD’s beauty and skin care expert, tells us why that’s not such a good idea.
Q: I tumble into bed most nights without washing my face. But since I won’t wear foundation most days, it’s not so bad — is it?
A: Well, it’s not good, but just going overnight without washing your face isn’t going to age you five years. It’s more of a missed opportunity because there’s great blood supply to the skin and a number of different metabolic processes going on in the skin at night. So you’re losing out on a chance to target problems. For instance, if your skin is dry, you’re not adding moisture to your skin. If you have acne, you aren’t applying clog busters. If you have pigmentation issues, you’re not applying products to even skin tone.
Then there’s the gunk factor: Think of all the stuff that settles on your face during the day — makeup, sweat, pollutants. Bacteria will eat all the nasty stuff sitting on your skin and cause increased breakouts.
I buy my college-age daughters packs of throwaway face cleansing cloths to keep at their bedside. I tell them, at the very least, pull out a cleansing cloth, wipe your face, and chuck it on the floor.