Most of us are taught to cleanse the skin both morning and night. But, in reality, overwashing can lead to dryness and encourage a vicious cycle of breakouts and excess oil since too much natural oil is removed. “If the skin is cleansed more than twice a day, the natural oils will be stripped away. When that happens, more oil is produced to compensate for the dry feeling, which leads to more bacteria production,” says celebrity aesthetician Terri Lawton. Even if you are superoily, limit washing to just the morning and night. “If you have dry or sensitive skin, you may want to wash just at night so that some of the natural oils are preserved during the day,” she says. “You can splash with water or toner in the morning.”
Then there are some lucky women who are genetically blessed with near perfect skin and can get away with just splashing water on their faces and forego using cleanser altogether. But, for most of us, this method doesn’t work. “It’s pretty rare that you’re going to get a dewy, fresh glow with just water, especially since our skin is exposed to so much pollution on a regular basis,” says Lawton. “If you don’t use a cleanser, you can cause more congestion because the dirt and oil sitting on the surface of the skin, and in the pores, does not get removed.” For skin that’s extremely dry and aged, celebrity aesthetician Kate Somerville says that washing with water—as long as a cleanser is used once a day—may be OK.