When You Stop Washing Your Face, This Is What Happens

Washing your face is an important part of your daily skincare regimen. It helps to rid your skin of dirt, oil, and other impurities. But what happens when you don't wash your face at all? Skipping your face washing routine altogether can lead to dryness, breakouts, or even dermatitis (via Martha Stewart).

While it's okay to go a day or two without washing your face, it can become a problem when you make a habit of it. Not washing your face on a regular basis can wreak havoc on your skin. That's because the buildup of oil, dirt, sweat, and dead skin cells on your face can clog your pores, leaving skin dry or irritated.

"Cleansing our face daily prevents the buildup of dirt, which can cause bacteria overgrowth — leading to inflammation and subsequent breakouts, dryness, eczema, and premature aging," says board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Tess Mauricio. As a result, not washing your face can leave your skin looking dull and oily, and more vulnerable to breakouts and infections.

Can you wash your face too much?

How often you should wash your face is entirely dependent on your skin type. While you should wash your face at least once a day, you don't want to overdo it (via HuffPost). If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you may want to wash your face twice a day in order to prevent the buildup of excess oil on your skin. However, if you have dry or combination skin, washing your face once a day should suffice.

You don't want to run the risk of over-washing, which can strip your skin of its natural oils and result in dry and flaky skin. Some cleansers can also be harsh on skin, leaving your face feeling dry and tight. In that case, you should rinse your face with water or use cleansers designed for sensitive skin, such as Cerave and Cetaphil. Oil cleansers may also help, although people with acne should steer clear of them. "If you have sensitive skin, you can select a gentle, non-alcohol-based cleanser," says Dr. Meghan Feely, a dermatologist practicing in New York and New Jersey. "If you have acne-prone skin, you may choose one with ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide."