6 mistakes you might be making when washing your face

6 mistakes you might be making when washing your face

Cleansing is one of the key steps in any skincare routine. It helps to wash away surface impurities (like excess oil, pollution and makeup) and it preps your complexion for the rest of your skincare products to soak in and do their jobs properly.

Although cleansing might seem like one of the simplest skincare steps, it’s important to do it well. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most common face washing blunders, and how you can avoid them.

You’re only cleansing once per day

If you’re already in the habit of cleansing once each morning *or* once each night, great job. But, now it’s time we levelled things up. Studies have shown that washing your face twice daily can significantly improve congestion and goes a long way in helping control both blackheads and pimples¹. 

You don’t fully remove makeup

Most of us are very aware that going to bed while wearing makeup is a big no-no. Research is emerging showing a connection between the use of cosmetics and acne². Needless to say, leaving makeup on at the end of the day may increase the chances of blocked pores which can in turn lead to breakouts³. But, even with the best cleansing intentions, not all of us remove our makeup properly.

To ensure your makeup is being thoroughly taken off, it might be necessary to do a ‘double cleanse.’ Start by sweeping a makeup remover-soaked cotton pad across your face to remove your cosmetics before following with your regular cleanser to remove any traces that remain.

Curious about whether your makeup has all been swept away? After drying your face, check your towel carefully for any signs of foundation or eye makeup – these are tell-tale clues that you might want to up the ante on your cleansing method.

You don’t wash your hands first

As the aim of cleansing is to – well, cleanse - the last thing you’d want to do is add bacteria, dirt or other impurities to the face. But washing your complexion without cleaning your hands first can do just that!

To avoid this, give your hands a proper cleanse with hand wash to ensure they’re clean before starting your skincare routine and touching your face.

You exfoliate too often

Exfoliating helps slough away dead surface cells and can in turn help lessen future breakouts. However, like many things in life, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing! Over- exfoliating can cause the skin to become sensitised – especially if rough physical exfoliants are used⁴. 

Instead of exfoliating every day, limit this skincare step to just once or twice weekly. It’s also a good idea to choose a gentle exfoliant that won’t irritate your skin. If you notice any skin discomfort, it’s time to pare back on the exfoliating and perhaps consider choosing another product that’s not as harsh.

You’re using the wrong cleanser

When choosing your cleanser, it’s very important to go for one that’s right for your skin type. Those with dry skin could benefit from creamy cleansing lotions or milks while gels and foams are well-suited to those with normal, combination or oily skin types⁵. 

If you’re dealing with excess oil or congestion, one of the best products for acne-prone skin is Azclear Action Foaming Wash. This gentle cleanser helps control pimples and acne while helping to maintain the pH balance of the skin.

You use water that’s too hot

As much as we all love the comfort of a hot shower (especially during the cold winter months!), having the water temperature too high can damage and dry out your skin as well as your hair. To look after your complexion and avoid scalding your skin, it’s best to keep the taps turned to a lukewarm temperature.


1. Choi JM, Lew VK, Kimball AB. A single-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical trial evaluating the effect of face washing on acne vulgaris. Pediatr Dermatol. 2006;23(5):421–7.

2. Suh D-H, Oh H, Lee SJ, Kim HJ, Ryu HJ. Relationship between acne and the use of cosmetics: Results of a questionnaire study in 539 Korean individuals. J Cosmet Dermatol [Internet]. 2020;(jocd.13853). Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jocd.13853

3. Suh D, Oh H, Lee S, Kim H, Ryu H. Relationship between acne and the use of cosmetics: Results of a questionnaire study in 539 Korean individuals. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2020;20(7):2172-2178.

4. Decker A, Graber EM. Over-the-counter acne treatments: A review. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012;5(5):32–40.

5. Rodan K, Fields K, Majewski G, Falla T. Skincare bootcamp: The evolving role of skincare. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2016;4(12 Suppl Anatomy and Safety in Cosmetic Medicine: Cosmetic Bootcamp):e1152.