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Back to the Basics: Face Washing

It's the little things that, if done properly, go a long way for our skin. And properly washing our face is one of them. As we mobilize throughout our day, our skin encounters various pollutants emitted from sources like road paving, power plants, construction sites, and cars (something Detroit isn't lacking in at the moment). Did you know these pollutants can cause premature aging, skin discoloration, and even skin cancer? Therefore, it is important to cleanse these pollutants away morning and night.

So, while our city works towards revitalization, we should want to look revitalized too. Using the following 5 steps can get you that much closer to healthier-looking skin.


Face Washing 101

1. Wash your hands

You want your tools to be really clean. Singing the "happy birthday" song two times in a row will help ensure that you've spent enough time hand washing.

2. Choose a cleanser appropriate for your skin type

A mild soap will be appropriate for most skin types (sensitive, dry, normal, or combination). Oily skin types may be able to tolerate stronger soaps in an effort to reduce oil production. But, there must be a balance. Not all oil needs to be removed from the skin. Otherwise the skin becomes irritated and/or ages prematurely.

3. Wet your face with lukewarm water and use your fingertips to apply the cleanser using gentle circular motions

That's right, use of a towel is not necessary. Just the fingers will do when the goal is to cleanse, not exfoliate.

4. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry with a soft towel​

Avoid the urge to scrub so that the skin does not become irritated.

5. Plan to wash the face once in the morning, once at night, and after sweating

If washing with soap twice daily is too drying, it is acceptable to eliminate the soap and just cleanse with water. Or mix it up. Wash with water in the morning, but with soap at night. It's all about what works best for you and your skin type.


Naldi L, Hufford D, Hall-Jordan L. Etiological Factors in Skin Cancers: Environmental and Biological. In Cancer of the Skin. 2nd ed. China: Elsevier; 2011. 56-65

Xu, F, Yan, S, Wu, M, Li, F, Xu, X, Song, W, et al, Ambient ozone pollution as a risk factor for skin disorders, Br. J. Dermatol. (2011) 165, 224–225

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