The concept of “double-cleansing” has been popping up across social media and skincare blogs as a holy grail practice that promises squeaky clean pores, complete makeup removal, and fewer breakouts. But, like all beauty practices, what’s right for some people might not be the best thing for your skin.

Let’s talk about double-cleansing, why it’s become so popular, and how different skin types might react.

What is Double-Cleansing?

Just as the name suggests, double-cleansing consists of washing your face twice with two different types of cleanser. The first is an oil-based cleanser or micellar water to dissolve sunscreen, makeup, and surface-level grime. In contrast, the second is typically a cream-based gentle cleanser for sweat, dirt, and bacteria that have sunk into your pores.

Why Do People Double Cleanse?

The idea behind double-cleansing is that removing oil-based products first allows gentler cleansers to work more effectively, leading to a deeper clean, brighter complexion, and better exfoliation.

In turn, it also allows leave-on products like toners, serums, and moisturizers to penetrate the skin, leading to better results from skin-concern-specific treatments and the anti-aging effects of retinol and antioxidants.

Is Double-Cleansing Right for My Skin Type?

First, it’s crucial to note that double-cleansing is not necessary for everyone. High-quality, gentle cleansers have specific formulations to completely rid your skin of makeup, pollutants, and oils without the help of additional products.

Normal Skin

Double-cleansing is usually only necessary for normal skin if you wear makeup daily. Instead, opt for a balanced, hydrating formula from products like CLn Facial CleanserExuviance® Deep Clean AHA Cleanser or CeraVe® Hydrating Cleanser. Both are highly effective at removing dirt, dead skin cells, cosmetics, and excess oil without irritation.

Dry or Sensitive Skin

Double-cleansing can worsen dry or sensitive skin, as the process strips away twice the amount of natural oils that regular washing would. It can also cause flare-ups in those suffering from conditions like rosacea or eczema.

It’s best to follow your dermatologist’s advice for gentle products that cater to your skin’s needs without excessive drying, such as Revision Skincare’s® Gentle Foaming Cleanser, MEG-21 Clean & Clear Cleanser, and Nu-Derm® Gentle Cleanser. 

Both are soap-free and soothing, leaving skin feeling soft and hydrated instead of tight and irritated.

Oily Skin

Those with oily skin are the only ones who could benefit from double-cleansing, as it helps get rid of excessive sebum trapped in the pores. Just be aware that post-wash moisturizing is absolutely essential if you choose to adopt this skincare process, as stripping away too many of your natural oils can kick sebum production into overdrive.

If you’re specifically concerned with acne, cleansers with glycolic acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, polyhydroxy acid, and vitamin E can help fight back against inflammation. We’re fans of Neostrata’s® Foaming Glycolic Wash AHA 20%, AST Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Wash, CLn Acne Cleanser and Revision Skincare’s® Brightening Facial Wash.

Need Skincare Advice? Talk to the Pros at ADCI and AST

It’s tempting to fall head-over-heels for every influencer who promises bright, clear skin and miraculous anti-aging cures. Still, it’s crucial to remember that they benefit from photo filters and video editing to diminish their skincare concerns. They also leave out crucial facts, such as what skin types certain practices are best for and how particular skin concerns might react to the products they’re promoting.

Rather than relying on the latest trends, start a dialogue with trusted skincare professionals and board-certified dermatologists like those at Advanced Skin Therapeutics and Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Institute. Not only can they help you pull back the curtain on the reality of popular skin “hacks,” but they can also help you create a realistic routine that specifically addresses your unique skin profile.