You may think you follow the best skincare practices: You use a facial cleanser, moisturizer, and eye cream every day and never leave the house without putting on broad-spectrum sunscreen. Sure, you seem to be checking the necessary skincare boxes, but as with many things, the best skincare routine is all about the details. You start your skincare routine by washing your face—but what may be just as important as the facial cleanser you choose is the kind of water you use. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to pick up bottled or sparkling water—your skin isn’t quite that picky—but the water you wash your skin with does have to be just the right temperature. Keep reading to learn about how water temperature can affect your complexion, plus our best tips for where to turn the dial.
What Does Hot Water Do For the Skin?
While a steaming hot shower or face washing session can feel quite relaxing in the moment, it’s not exactly the best option for your skin. Piping hot water can cause a heightened level of skin sensitivity after cleansing. What’s worse, extra hot water can also dry out your skin, stripping it of necessary natural oils. This can be especially unpleasant if you already have dry skin, but it can also be less than desirable for those with oily skin. If you have oily skin, your skin could respond to having its natural oils stripped by creating even more oil—leaving you looking excessively shiny as a result.
What Does Cold Water Do for the Skin?
When you use cold water it can act like an astringent and may cause your skin to retract temporarily. This is good if you have puffy-looking skin that could use some tightening, especially around your under-eye area. Splashing cold water on your face can not only wake you up but can also feel refreshing on your skin. That being said, you should try to avoid cleansing your skin with cold water and cold water only. Remember, variety is the spice of life. It’s OK on occasion, especially at the end of your cleansing regimen, but it isn’t what’s best for your skin all the time.
What Temperature is Best For The Skin?
You won’t need to sit at the sink with a thermometer to get to the perfect temperature, but you will want to adjust the dial. Turn up (or down) the temperature so that it’s somewhere in between hot and cold—lukewarm is ideal. This is the temperature that delivers the best skincare results! Recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology, moderately warm water will make for the best face washing experience and overall skin health. According to Dr. Rivera, most skincare products were tested or created with this ideal temperature in mind. Dr. Rivera also points out that lukewarm water can help ensure that your facial cleanser gets the right amount of foaming action, removes enough dirt from the surface of your skin, and balances your natural skin oils appropriately. All of a sudden it seems like a no-brainer to use lukewarm water!
The Best Face Washing Tips
It takes more than the right water temperature and facial cleanser to perfect your cleansing routine. To really upgrade how to wash your face, keep these three tips in mind.
Be Gentle On Your Skin
Scrubbing harshly or overdoing it won’t result in a clearer complexion. In fact, just the opposite! Being too harsh when washing your face can cause it to become red and irritated. Instead, use a light hand to gently massage the facial cleanser onto your skin using your fingertips, then rinse with lukewarm water. Similarly, be gentle when drying your face off—no need to rub harshly with a washcloth or towel. We recommend patting dry with a soft cotton T-shirt to really take it easy on your skin.
Moisturize Right After Cleansing
Moisture is the overall goal of any good skincare routine, isn’t it? Proper hydration keeps skin healthy and can also help prevent premature signs of aging. One pro tip that we love: Apply your facial moisturizer or facial serum right after cleansing, while your face is still a bit damp. This will help lock in hydration for the long haul.
Cleansing is an important step in your skincare routine, but just like anything else in life, it’s possible to overdo it. Stick to cleansing just twice per day—morning and evening—plus after any intense workouts.