Why Scrubbing Too Hard While Washing Your Face Is Probably Doing More Harm Than Good

It's nice to look in the mirror and see healthy, vibrant, clear skin — especially for those all-important, no-makeup Monday selfies on Instagram. Washing your face is key to keeping it clean, of course. However, did you realize scrubbing your skin too roughly actually causes more harm than good? According to a 2017 survey by CeraVe, cited by Cision Distribution, most people are confused about how to properly care for their skin. 

Additionally, about 80% of Americans aren't using the right techniques or frequency to wash their faces. From rubbing too roughly to not washing it before going to bed, improper skincare can cause serious damage to your biggest and most prominent feature, including but not limited to irritation, breakouts, and redness. But if you don't know what you're doing wrong, if anything, just know that you're not the only one.

The dream is youthful, radiant-looking skin. You don't want to mitigate all the good you're trying to create with your cupboard full of beauty products by scrubbing too harshly. Keep your skin glowing by looking at the scrubbing risks and understanding how to wash your face properly for the best results.

Scrubbing your face too hard leads to damage

Obviously, exfoliation is good for your skin. Among other things, it can improve its appearance by removing dead skin cells. However, if it's not done right, exfoliation can be problematic. Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Hospital, pointed out to Everyday Health that "Overwashing and over-scrubbing may leave you with a squeaky-clean feeling, but this actually is damaging." 

When you scrub your skin too hard, you run the risk of injuring it, which may allow toxins to get beyond your face's important, germ-fighting barrier. Dr. Zeichner goes on to explain how this is especially true for those with skin conditions like eczema and atopic dermatitis since their protective barrier is already weakened. You might not realize it, but certain oils on your face are good and incredibly useful. 

When you scrub too hard, you strip these oils, especially if you don't add the moisture back in. Dry, flaky skin can easily get even more irritated, in addition to being itchy and uncomfortable. Therefore, you also need to use a foundation for dry skin for it to sit properly, otherwise, it could lead to additional problems. Since scrubbing too hard is out, there are a few things you can do to keep your skin clean and happy.

How to wash your face properly for radiant skin

You can't forego face washing altogether unless you're gifted with ridiculously good genes in which case, carry on. But getting rid of those nasty toxins is a necessity. Fortunately, it doesn't take a lot of scrubbing to get the job done. Throw your washcloths and other harsh scrubbing tools in the basket. You don't need them. Instead, use your (clean!) fingertips to apply a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser. 

As Dr. Zeichner recommends, "If you have dry or sensitive skin, stick to hydrating, nonfoaming cleansers because the lathering agents used in foaming cleansers tend to be more drying on the skin." Rather than giving your skin an over-zealous scrub, move in slow, relaxing circles to gently remove the day or night's dirt, makeup residue, and oils. It's more like a soothing facial massage than a chemical peel. 

Rinse with warm water and gently pat dry. Finish off with a good moisturizer, especially if you have dry or itchy skin. Face washing isn't an Olympic sport. It should be seen more as a moment of self-care, to give yourself a little pampering before you hit the hay. If you need some exfoliation, try it once a week or so, depending on your skin type. Once in a while, a good scrubbing helps, but too often it just causes harm.