5 Obvious Signs You’re Using The Wrong Face Wash

Different types of skin require different types of face wash products

Finding the perfect face wash is like dating. You choose one based on looks, labels, and what you’ve heard. You’re crossing your fingers, hoping it works out. But if there’s a problem, the signs are obvious! If you pay attention, that is.

Regularly washing your skin keeps it healthy. Otherwise, sweat and dirt will mix with oil, dead skin, and germs. It’s a recipe for breakouts and other skin problems. Of course, finding “the one” takes trial and error. And a problem means that it’s time to move on! If you’re not sure, here are 5 signs that you need to break up with your face wash.

1. Frequent Breakouts

Frequent breakouts mean that you need a face wash that can kill acne-causing bacteria

Face wash should control acne, not bring it on. Sounds familiar? If so, you might need something with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. These ingredients kill bacteria and reduce oil, two causes of pimples. However, they might also cause dryness and irritation.1 If you have sensitive skin, use the face wash on the affected area. A gentler one can be used for the rest of your face.

Does your skin hate benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid? Try a cleanser with papaya, a natural ingredient that reduces acne-causing bacteria and excess oil. It also improves hydration, so your skin won’t dry out.2

2. Irritation

Irritation means you've an allergy or chemicals are too harsh for your skin

If your skin is angry, pay attention. You might be allergic to something in the face wash. After all, chemicals are a major cause of rashes and dermatitis.3 So, check the label and toss anything with sulfate, a common ingredient known

for irritation.4 Sulfate-free is the way to go, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Look for something with aloe vera. This ingredient has anti-inflammatory glycoproteins, making it a smart choice for irritation. It even aids skin repair thanks to its polysaccharides.5

3. Tightness

Tightness of the skin indicates dryness, which requires a moisturizing face wash

Tightness equals dryness. It’s also a sign that your cleanser is stripping natural oils! So, reach for a thick and creamy formula. To hydrate your skin, moisturize right after washing. Use creams with powerful humectants like shea butter, grapeseed oil, and coconut oil – or just use the ingredients as is.6

You might be able to get away with skipping morning cleansing. During the day, let natural

oils build up and just wash at night.

4. Shine

Shiny skin indicates that your cleanser isn't made for oily skin

Is your skin glistening soon after washing? There’s a good chance your cleanser isn’t made for oily skin. To control this shine, a face wash needs to have oil-absorbing properties. Ingredients like clay, papaya, honey, and green tea are ideal.7 8 9 10 They’ll soak up sebum without causing dryness.

If the grease is out of control, try oil cleansing. This method uses oil to remove sebum before washing. It seems counterproductive, but don’t forget that “like dissolves like.” Olive, castor, and grapeseed oil are lovely options.

5. Flushing

Flushed skin could indicate rosacea, which requires a mild face wash

Red, flushed skin may point to rosacea. Other symptoms include spider veins, swelling, burning, dryness, and roughness. You might also have a tendency to blush more easily than others.11

If you suspect rosacea, avoid common rosacea irritants like alcohol, witch hazel, fragrance, menthol, peppermint, and eucalyptus oil. Many rosacea patients avoid exfoliating cleansers, too.12 A dermatologist can help you choose the right face

wash. Otherwise, the National Rosacea Society recommends using a non-soap cleanser with less than 10% soap and neutral pH.13

When using a new face wash, do a patch test first. Apply a small amount to your neck or inner arm. If there’s no irritation, you’re good to go.