How to Wash Your Face
- First wash your hands. Touching your face with dirty fingers can spread bacteria, which may lead to clogged pores and breakouts.
- You may not need to cleanse in the morning unless your skin is oily or you’ve just exercised. At night, if you use long-wear makeup, take it off with a waterproof-makeup remover or a wipe. This will allow the cleanser to really penetrate the skin.
- Splash your face with cool or lukewarm water, then, with your fingertips, massage a dollop of cleanser into your skin in a gentle circular motion to emulsify the product fully, advises Luigi Polla, a dermatologist and the founder of the Alchimie Forever skin-care line. Rinse with more water, then lightly pat dry with a towel.
Extra credit: Cream cleansers don’t always lather and dislodge debris as effectively as gels do, so use them with a washcloth, says Elizabeth Tanzi, a dermatologist in Washington, D.C. Don’t forget to wash the cloth after each use to avoid germs.
How to Handle a Blemish Without Leaving a Scar
- Soak a washcloth in hot water, then wring it out. Hold it on the top of the whitehead until the washcloth cools.
- Press down gently around the blemish for about 30 seconds with the cloth. This should be enough to draw out the whitehead without squeezing, says Katie Rodan, a dermatologist in Oakland and a cofounder of the Proactiv Solution skin-care line.
- Apply a treatment that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
Extra credit: Handling a blemish before it’s ready (that is, before it’s white at the top) may only push oil and debris in deeper, making the problem worse. To help bring the pimple to the surface, use an oil-free medicated concealer (such as Clinique Acne Solutions Clearing Concealer, $17, clinique.com) during the day; at night, apply a drying treatment with sulfur or clay (like Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, $17, mariobadescu.com).