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3 Things To Clean (Besides Your Face) For Nicer Skin

Most of us are pretty good at doing the basics to prevent breakouts and keep our skin clear. A good skincare routine, plenty of water, and clean foods are all important for healthy looking and feeling skin. However, there are a few often neglected things that you should be washing regularly if you want to avoid pesky breakouts - namely, anything that comes into contact with your face on a daily basis!

Bacteria, Dirt, and Oil, Oh My!

We’re willing to invest a fair amount of time and money in products that effectively remove dirt, excess oil, pollutants, and bacteria from our skin. By cleansing our skin daily, we’re ensuring that our pores don’t get clogged, thus preventing acne and irritation. It’s fair to say then, that we should probably be investing a bit of time and effort into cleansing things that regularly touch our face (and our hands, and other surfaces), things that could potentially transfer bacteria, dirt, and oil to freshly cleaned skin. 

Pillowcases - At Least Once a Week

How often you wash your pillowcase will depend on how sensitive and prone to acne your skin is, but most skincare experts agree that once a week is a good guideline. If that seems like a lot to you, keep in mind that your face isn’t the only thing that touches your pillow. Your hair picks up more dirt and pollutants than your skin, not to mention it has its own oils. Even if you wash your face and hair before sleeping, oils and sweat get produced during the night, and you shed skin cells regardless of whether your face is freshly washed or not. There are also residues to contend with - a little bit of makeup that didn’t get washed away a few days ago, or even residue from your hair conditioner. All of these contribute to clogging your pores, which can turn into blackheads, whiteheads, and eventually, acne.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do wash your pillowcase more often if your skin is oily, sensitive, or prone to breakouts. 

Do wash with hot water - this will help to remove oils and bacteria built up in the fabric. 

Don’t use fabric softeners and dryer sheets. They often contain resins that soften fabrics but leave residue, which will clog your pores. 

Don’t use detergents that contain harsh chemicals or strong fragrances - those chemicals will end up on your face and could cause irritation.

Last but not least, you may want to invest in a few quality pillowcases. Lately, there has been a lot of talk about silk pillowcases, which are smooth, light, and don’t trap bacteria the way other fabrics do. What ever pillowcase you decide on, go for something soft and breathable, and wash it diligently!

Makeup Brushes and Blenders - Every Few Days

Few things come into contact with our faces as much as makeup applicators. Buildup of dirt and oils can cause acne and even dermatitis (rash). Applicators that come into contact with inflamed or skin damaged by acne may be picking up bacteria, which will then be transferred back to your face at their next use. 

There are other reasons why we should wash makeup brushes and blenders regularly as well:

  1. A brush or blender will last much longer if it is maintained and cleaned. Bristles on brushes will stay softer, sponges will maintain their texture better. 
  2. A clean applicator performs better. Your makeup will be smoother and more even if it’s put on with a brush whose bristles aren’t all clumped together with residue. 
  3. Your makeup will last longer. The less foreign material (residual makeup, oil, and dirt) introduced to your makeup, the better. Bacteria from your face that gets transferred to makeup on your applicators can contaminate it.

Again, how often you wash your makeup brushes and blenders depends on how much you use them, and on your skin type. If your skin is sensitive or acne-prone, you may want to use brush cleaners every few days. The same goes for people who wear a significant amount of makeup daily. At a minimum, once a week will keep them in good shape. 

Do’s and Don’ts

DO use brush cleaners or special soap bars on brushes and blenders at least once a week.

DO shampoo your brushes once a month for a deep clean. 

DO follow manufacturer’s instructions on how and with what to clean your applicators. 

DON’T keep using brushes or blenders that are shedding.

DON’T let significant amounts of product dry on your applicators. The more the product dries, the harder it will be to remove all traces of it. 

Cell Phones - Every Few Days

There are some scary statistics out there about the amount of bacteria found on cell phones. This probably shouldn’t be surprising, considering we touch them with our hands all the time, and they’re left on all sorts of surfaces. Eventually, when you make or answer a call, you press your phone to your cheek, and anything that was on its surface can get transferred to your face. This includes sweat and oils from your hands, makeup residue from your face, and all sorts of nasty bacteria from any other surfaces it has touched. 

Do’s and Don’ts

DO turn off your phone before cleaning. 

DO read your manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning. There may be specific steps you need to take, or specific products you should use.

DO use a clean cotton bud to clean any buttons.

DO use alcohol or disinfectant (unless your manufacturer advises against it) on a soft, lint-free cloth to wipe your phone down.

DON’T use anything too wet on your phone. Water can damage your phone’s electronic components, or wreck your screen protector.

Cells phones and phone cases also have many crevices where bacteria can hide, so you’ll need to clean the case, beneath the case (if possible), and around buttons (if it has any).

If you really want to minimize your phone’s contact to your face, try using a bluetooth earpiece or earphone to speak instead of holding your phone to your ear. 

A great skincare routine is one way to prevent acne and irritation on your face, but don’t forget all the other things that touch your face as well. A little extra cleaning may go a long way into helping your skin stay clear!