You splurge on retinoids, never leave the house without sunscreen, moisturize every morning, even stay—mostly—away from alcohol and sugar.
But did you know that all of these efforts in the name of dewy, beautiful skin may work against you if you’re not cleansing your face?
Most of us realize that washing our faces is a must—even as children, our moms made us scrub down with soap and water before we hit the sheets.
But, as the adage goes, just because we know better doesn’t mean we always do better. Indeed, as acclaimed dermatologist Dr. Doris Day reports, an astounding 66% of women neglect to wash their face before going to bed.
On one hand, it makes sense. After all, most of us rarely pause from sunup to slumbering down—and some nights the mere idea of spending a few minutes cleansing our face sounds downright exhausting.
On the other, if there’s one skincare practice you should absolutely make a habit out of, it’s religiously cleansing your face.
Consider what your skin encounters on any given day. From foundation and car exhaust to your child’s greasy fingers and particles in the environment, your face inevitably well, faces, a great deal of dirt, bacteria, pollution, and debris.
In addition, dead skin cells accumulate throughout the day—the buildup of which can render it difficult for your skincare products to penetrate (and, thus, function).
Not washing your face invites a layer of grime that can lead to inflammation, dry, itchy skin, a dull pallor—even advanced signs of aging.
What’s more, bedtime isn’t just to rest your brain and body. As you sleep, your skin works double-duty to repair itself from the ravages of the day—and requires the oxygen found in a clean face to do so properly.
“When makeup is left on, it blocks the natural exfoliating process, which can leave your skin looking dull,” says Dr. Robins Ashinoff, Director of Cosmetic Dermatology at Hackensack Medical Center in New Jersey.
Due to this natural exfoliating process that occurs while you sleep (wherein your skin secretes sebum and toxins), it’s also critical to cleanse your face when you wake.
“Generally speaking, cosmetic dermatologists recommend that patients cleanse their face twice daily (morning and night),” says leading dermatologist Dr. Melanie D. Palm, who cites that morning cleanses help remove dead skin cells and unwanted debris (such as dust and mold in your bedroom), allows for better penetration of makeup and facial products, and may bolster hydration levels by sealing in the water when cleanses are paired with a moisturizer.
(On the same token, don’t neglect your neck—the skin here is vulnerable to the same dirt and debris as your face, and is often one of the first places to show the signs of aging.)
Not all facial cleansers are created equal, however. Some may contain harsh irritants that strip the skin of its essential oils; others may contain potentially harmful ingredients like triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, formaldehyde (yes, you heard us right!), fragrance, sulfates, and parabens.
Rather, you should reach for a facial cleanser that removes debris, yes, but also restores, polishes, and softens naturally—much like our own Botanical Facial Cleanser.
Made with a heavenly blend of organic green tea, organic tamanu oil, Vitamin E, charcoal, and organic coconut oil, this nourishing, chemical-free, anti-aging cleanser renews, detoxifies—and beautifies.
Take it from Insider Beauty Buzz, who raved “I couldn’t possibly ask for anything more. The fruity scent is amazing, and I just love how my skin feels after using it.”
So while it may be tempting to forgo your facial cleanser and head straight for shut-eye (or Starbucks), pause for a cause—the health, youth, and radiance of your skin, that is.