The Skin Care Step You Can't Skip If You're Afraid of Aging

If you haven't been washing your face daily, it turns out you could be doing some serious damage to your skin. Our friends at MIMI got the scoop on the benefits of daily cleansing.


When I confessed to my co-workers that I had probably washed my face only three times in my entire life, they freaked out. And for good reason, I now understand. They told me I was going to age terribly and accused me of not taking care of my skin.

"How dare they?!" I thought in my head (and said out loud). I argued that I don't have acne, which means I don't need to wash my face. Logical, right? Plus, I religiously (I mean religiously) take off my makeup each night and am moisturizer-obsessed.

Well, turns out they were right.

I spoke with Rachel Nazarian, M.D. of Schweiger Dermatology Group, who confirmed my co-workers claims. She sympathized with me, saying that there is still a lot of confusion out there as to why we actually wash our faces and how to do so correctly.

Here's the skinny on why face washing is so important. I'm on day three people, and I can tell you, though the lazy girl inside of me is furious, I know I'll thank myself when I'm old and gray.

  1. If you have acne, it's essential to wash away the sources of your acne.
    Think oil, grime, the likes. This is so self-explanatory even I, the uninformed, newly converted face washer, understands.
  2. It really, truly ages your skin if you don't.
    Again, not tough to wrap your head around. All the pollutants floating around in the air (especially in cities, like New York) can get into your pores and wreak havoc. Not great.
  3. Washing your face not only washes away the bad stuff, but lets the good stuff in.
    I probably felt the most stupid after Nazarian communicated this point. (A big "duh" moment for me.) If you don't wash your face, you're allowing all the pollutants, smog, exhaust, and other garbage found in the air to settle into your pores. This then prevents the skin-fixing products you're trying to apply (think: serums, moisturizers, anti-agers), from penetrating your skin. Repeat after me: Washing your face = Receiving the full benefits of your expensive (or inexpensive) serums, moisturizers, and creams.
  4. "But isn't taking my makeup off enough?" I pleaded. "Those little wipes are my guardian angels!"
    Think again. While Nazarian does note that they are especially effective in dissolving makeup and physically removing it from your face, there are chemicals in your wipes that you need to wash off, putting us right back to square one.

I am proud to report that I have washed my face twice daily (with a gentle, non-foaming cleanser!) since receiving this shocking information. After all, it only takes a few minutes. But if you are going to skimp and go the once-a-day route, Nazarian strongly suggests making this "chore" part of your nightly routine. This way, your leftover makeup and pollutants from the day are washed away. You can fully maximize your product's benefits, and your skin is able to renew itself throughout the night while you sleep. Sounds like a win-win-win to me.

Check out more from MIMI:
You're Washing Your Face Wrong
How My IUD Saved My Skin
Why You Need to Add Powder Cleanser to Your Beauty Routine
The Face Washes Your Man Should Be Using