5 Important Reasons You MUST Cleanse Your Face Morning and Night

Personal/Inspirational, Skin Care

girl washing faceAbout The Author:  FutureDerm is pleased to welcome Leah Argento to our staff as a Contributing Writer. For a complete bio please visit our About page.

It is extremely important to wash your face…morning and night

And yes, I do mean morning and night. OMG…how are you going to find 3 minutes twice a day??  Uugghh!  C’mon; you’re not that busy. And it’s MUCH more important than you think. And I don’t mean merely splashing your face with water in the shower (you know who you are). Rinsing ain’t washing. You need a cleanser. Here’s why…

1.  Research shows cleansing before bed is essential to looking younger, longer.

Every day your skin is aging. And the very simple process of washing your face before bed is an excellent way to mitigate the external factors associated with aging and to stimulate the internal processes that fight aging.

Research has shown that certain physiological changes in the skin do occur overnight. Like many of our organs, our skin can tell night from day. Biological processes vary over 24 hours as a result of time-sensitive “clocks” within our cells, said Dr. David R. Weaver, a neurobiology professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Some evidence exists linking circadian clocks to cell cycle (cells dividing to replenish dead ones) and DNA repair, the natural process by which a cell regularly detoxifies itself. (Impact Journals: Aging.)

Overnight, the skin needs oxygen to repair itself. And sleeping with your makeup on deprives it of this vital nutrient. “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.

2.  Nighttime cleansing is essential for letting anti-aging ingredients work.

Nocturnal blood flow in the skin is higher. And when blood flow is increased so is absorption and penetration of ingredients. So again, if you aren’t washing you can’t apply actives that will help fight aging (or acne or whatever your skin condition might be).

Thus, If you don’t wash your face before bed it’s a missed opportunity to do something great for your skin and to wake up with smoother, softer, clearer skin.

3.  Forgoing nighttime cleansing regularly will give you larger pores.

First, consider that excess sebum (oil), dead skin cells, and pollution are sitting on your face. Not to mention makeup (and just because you don’t wear foundation is no excuse). A cleanser will emulsify all of these and remove them from the surface of your skin. According to Dr. Dennis Gross, M.D., when makeup is left on it can seep deep down, clogging pores. He also says that once your collagen levels start to decline (due to aging), the pores do not snap back as easily once they become enlarged. And, leaving makeup on can lead to inflammation that can generate free radicals and collagen breakdown.

4.  Nighttime cleansing prevents skin dehydration.

Skin temperature rises overnight (Temperature of a Healthy Human) which leads to trans-epidermal water loss (evaporation).

This in part causes the skin to lose a significant portion of water at night.  According to an article, Nocturnal Itch, by the Departments of Dermatology and Neurobiology & Anatomy at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, transepidermal water loss (TEWL) is significantly increased during the night, which is why our skin can sometimes feel more itchy at night. Thus, if you don’t wash your face, you can’t apply a moisturizer which will help hydrate your skin while you sleep.

5.  Dayttime cleansing prevents excess oil production.

I know what you’re thinking: So why then do I have to wash it again in the morning; I went to bed with it clean? As we just learned, overnight your skin recovers. Which means in the morning you have more dead skin cells to slough off. And more excess sebum to emulsify. These can’t be rinsed away with mere water. Here’s an analogy: I own 2 cats and I can tell you for certain that when my favorite sweater is full of cat hair I can shake it all I want, but that hair isn’t budging unless I take a lint roller to it. Same with dead skin cells and excess sebum…you need to dislodge them & then rinse them away. Water alone removes only about 65% of oil and debris from the surface of the skin (Livestrong Article). Think about what you’re leaving behind – yikes!

Do you really want to put your makeup on top of dead skin cells & excess oil? Would you skip brushing your teeth in the morning because you did it before bed? I think not…

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  • One of my friends has started using a night cream from Solvaderm brand called Suvoderm. She told me about benefits like It Enhances the synthesis of collagen to strengthen the extracellular matrix and make skin noticeably firmer and fuller, and Deeply moisturizes skin to provide intense, lasting hydration and leave it feeling lusciously smooth and soft.

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  • Ella

    Recently, I have included a night cream from solvaderm brand called “Suvoderm” and it has naturally brighten my skin. It fades the area of hyperpigmentation and reduces the appearance of age spots, dark spots, and acne scars. I am really impressed with the results.

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  • Andres

    As a severe acne sufferer of the past 9 years i feel both sides of the arguments. The best thing to do is try as many things as possible and stick to what works best. What worked for me 5 years agi will definitely not work for me now. But i definiteiy agree that people need to wash their face twice a day to get the most out of the products being used to calm sensitive, itchy or irritated skin.

  • Alberto

    I’ve read that one shouldn’t wash his/her face too much, so that the skin won’t create more oil. My question is, should I wash my face after exercising? I do wash my face in the morning and before going to bed. I have acne-prone skin.
    Any info will be much appreciated!

  • Meg

    Very informative article. Nicki, do you mind sharing what face cleansers you would suggest for someone with combo/sensitive skin that is prone to acne and perioral dermatitis (although, both are totally under control, but can flare with the wrong products). Thank you in advance!!

  • Zoe H

    Thank you for writing this article. I found it very interesting. I have ultra sensitive skin and have recently discovered the Ultracalming range from dermalogica. My skin feel so much better for using the right products that cleansing twice a day is a pleasure.

  • Geraldine Macenski

    excellent article!!!!!

  • jeff

    E Lauder makes a beautuful gentle cleanser in thier Re-Nutriv line!

  • @Diane – Have you talked to a dermatologist (or two) about cleansers for your skin specifically? There are also a slew of foam-to-oil cleansers that are lovely without leaving residue, like one from Lancome; don’t feel guilty – just keep it in mind as information!

  • Diane

    Coming from the perspective of a sensitive and very dry skin type, I too am trying to digest this information. For me, a night of clean exfoliated skin usually translates to contact dermatitis the next morning. Yes, a creamy/oil cleanser removes dirt & makeup but seems to leave an oily coating. As I want to apply treatments such as retinoids, I don’t want an oily reside on my skin. My solution? Treat & moisturize over ‘dirty’ skin. My instincts are telling me I’m going to have live with the resulting large pores. One more thing to feel guilty about :-/

  • Hi Neena,

    Thanks for your feedback. While some dermatologists do recommend not cleansing more than once/day for those with particularly dry or sensitive skin, many – including those we spoke to or referenced for this article – maintain everyone needs to cleanse morning and night. The truth of the matter is, there are many cleansers gentle enough for twice per day use. We recommend asking your dermatologist about gentle oil-based cleansers, such as Amore Pacific, which treat the skin as they cleanse.

    I do apologize if you are offended by the sensationalism of the title. I wrote that myself, because I do feel that it is essential for those who love anti-aging skin care to cleanse morning and night to get the best performance out of their products.


  • NeenaJ

    I don’t find blanket pronouncements like this very informed. I’ve been warned by my derm not to overcleanse my skin as it is dry and can get quite tempermental when provoked.

    While I agree with your reasoning for nighttime cleansing, telling everyone that they “MUST Cleanse [their] Face Morning and Night” just shows that you are not taking into account an individuals unique needs. Not a huge fan of fear tactics, either.

    I think it would have been more helpful to point out who would benefit most from cleansing twice a day and warn that sensitive and/or dry skin types should approach this quite cautiously if they aren’t already accustomed to it.

    A one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t work.

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