Talk Dirty to Me: Your Face Is Filthy, So Wash It Already!

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When it comes to keeping clean, there’s one body part that requires more attention than the rest: no, we’re not talking about your hands, which you hopefully wash thoroughly and often. We’re talking about your face. In fact, dermatologists suggest scrubbing your mug twice a day—once in the morning and once again before bed—while claiming that a full-body wash is only necessary every few days to maintain a healthy level of cleanliness. But what exactly is it about the skin on your face that requires so much more upkeep than your arms, legs and toes?

It’s A Well-Oiled Machine: “First off, there’s a much larger concentration of sebaceous oil glands on the face than there are on, say, your back or your chest,” dermatologist Anthony M. Rossi explains. And while those glands mean well—they’re there to produce an oil that protects your mug from dirt, grime and pollution—oil that’s been left on the skin for more than a day or two can combine with all kinds of gunk lingering on your face because…

It’s Covered in Dirt, Sweat and Bacteria: As the oil makes its way out of the hair follicles, it mixes with sweat, dirt and a bacteria commonly found on our skin called P. acnes, which (you guessed it!) cause acne. “You want to wash your face before the mixture gets a chance to dry and make its way back into your pores,” Rossi says. “Or else you’ll be looking at a pretty serious breakout.” But it doesn’t stop there. Your face is still even more prone to breakouts and irritation because…

It’s Really Hairy: “Facial hair tends to trap oil and gunk around the hair follicles, which can lead to even more inflammation and clogged pores,” Rossi explains. “That’s why we generally tell those people with lots of hair to tack an extra wash onto their routine, especially if they’re using beard oils or anything like that.” Or, you can just shave it off. We’ll leave that up to you.

But, for now, two washes a day (or three if you have a Hodor-like beard) is all you really need to keep your skin fresh and so clean, clean.