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Derm Diaries: Can I Skip Washing My Face in My Morning Skin Care Routine?

An expert weighs in on the importance of cleansing your skin.
January 23, 2023


We know how tempting it can be to head straight to bed after a long day, bypassing your nighttime skin care routine. But if we’re being honest, it can be just as tempting to skip that morning face wash when you feel like you woke up with a glow. If you think that you haven’t accumulated any dirt or impurities overnight, you may feel very strongly that you don’t really need to add time to your morning get-ready ritual by cleansing your face.

The only problem is that skipping your morning skin care routine
can take a toll on your complexion. So we asked Dr. Joshua Zeichner, board-certified dermatologist and L’Oréal Paris consultant, is it really all that bad to skip washing your face in the morning? Keep reading to see how he answers this popular skin care question.
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Is It Okay to Skip Washing Your Face in the Morning?

A little sweat and oil never hurt anyone, right? Well, when it comes to your complexion you could be wrong. It’s important to cleanse your skin both morning and night. However, Dr. Zeichner does emphasize the importance of never skipping a night wash more than skipping a morning face washing session.

“Best practice is to wash your face twice daily,” he explains. “However, if you’re going to skip one time, I tell my patients to skip washing in the morning. It’s important to wash your face at the end of the day to remove dirt, oil, sweat, makeup, and pollution that build up [over the course of the day].” 

He further adds, “If you go to sleep with a clean face, there’s a little dirt that builds up overnight so, in my opinion, washing your face in the morning is less important. That being said, if you apply any facial treatments before you go to sleep, you might want to wash them off before applying your morning skin care [products].” 

The goal of the morning cleanse is to remove any products that you put on the night before or to wash off sweat and oil that built up while you slept. Since you can’t always see the residue on your face, it’s best to just stick to washing twice a day. Additionally, if you’re dealing with a skin care concern, such as acne, you want to follow your routine to avoid further breakouts or issues.

Can You Skip Washing Your Face If You Have Dry Skin?

When you have dry skin you may be tempted to forgo face washing in the hopes that it will prevent any further drying. But according to Dr. Zeichner, that’s not the right way to deal with a dry complexion either. 

“Having dry or sensitive skin does not mean that you can’t wash your face twice a day,” he says. “You just may need to choose the right cleanser for your skin needs. For people who are dry, cleansing lotions, balms, oil, or micellar water are a good option. They are gentle and provide hydrating benefits without disrupting the outer skin layer. Cleansing should remove dirt and oil from the outer skin layer without disrupting your skin barrier.”

Many no-rinse micellar options allow you to cleanse while on the go and remove traces of makeup, even waterproof formulas. They're perfect for double cleansing, too — use micellar water in the evening to remove makeup before you wash with a cream formula or gentle exfoliating cleanser.

Do You Need a Different Cleanser at Night?

Now that it’s established that you need to wash your face twice daily (and possibly double cleanse in the evening) without skipping any turns, you may be wondering if the type of products you’re using for each matter. Well, of course they do — what you’re cleansing with is just as important as keeping up your morning and nighttime skin care routines. 

As per Dr. Zeichner, while you can theoretically use the same cleanser in the morning and the evening, the evening routine may require a deeper cleanse. 

“As soiling builds up during the day, you may need a more powerful cleanser to fully wash the face before bed,” he says. “Some experts recommend an exfoliating or foaming cleanser in the evening, while sticking to a hydrating or more gentle cleanser in the morning.” 

Since there’s usually not that much to remove in the morning if you wash your face at night, a hydrating or non-foaming cleanser will often suffice.

Looking for a recommendation? The L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Radiant Smoothing Cream Cleanser is gentle enough to use daily but effective enough to remove traces of makeup (you know, just in case) while leaving skin looking radiant and feeling smooth. 

Next: 5 Reasons Why You Wake Up With a Puffy Face

Photo Design: Crystal Simone

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