“When makeup is left on, it blocks the natural exfoliating process, which can leave your skin looking dull,” says Dr. Robins Ashinoff, Director of Cosmetic Dermatology at Hackensack Medical Center in New Jersey.
Due to this natural exfoliating process that occurs while you sleep (wherein your skin secretes sebum and toxins), it’s also critical to cleanse your face when you wake.
“Generally speaking, cosmetic dermatologists recommend that patients cleanse their face twice daily (morning and night),” says leading dermatologist Dr. Melanie D. Palm, who cites that morning cleanses help remove dead skin cells and unwanted debris (such as dust and mold in your bedroom), allows for better penetration of makeup and facial products, and may bolster hydration levels by sealing in the water when cleanses are paired with a moisturizer.
(On the same token, don’t neglect your neck—the skin here is vulnerable to the same dirt and debris as your face, and is often one of the first places to show the signs of aging.)
Not all facial cleansers are created equal, however. Some may contain harsh irritants that strip the skin of its essential oils; others may contain potentially harmful ingredients like triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, formaldehyde (yes, you heard us right!), fragrance, sulfates, and parabens.