We spend a lot of time talking about the best ways to wash your face (the cleanser obsession has become so great that face wash is actually the fastest-growing category in the skin-care industry). But what about the best way to dry your freshly cleansed face? According to dermatologists, your face towel matters more than you think.
Do you really need a separate towel for your face?
Question one for the experts: Can you use the same towel for your face and your body? The short answer is no — you should use a separate towel for your face than the one you use to dry your body (like, you know, including your butt) after a shower.
"This is not just a bacteria or cleanliness issue," Lily Talakoub, a board-certified dermatologist in Virginia, tells Allure. "The products you put on your body such as moisturizers, fragrances, and hair products are not the greatest if they end up on your face," she explains. "They can clog pores, increase breakouts and some could even cause irritation or rashes."
Is this because of bacteria?
OK, but wait — what was that about bacteria? They can lurk on any kind of towel, no matter where you use it, according to Sejal Shah, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. "Bacteria, fungus, dead skin cells, oils and other debris can collect on the towel," she tells Allure, which can up your risk of skin "infections, acne flares, and irritation."
How often should you replace the towel for your face?
This is why it's important to not only have a separate towel set aside for drying your face, but to make sure that it stays super clean, meaning you should wash it or replace it with a fresh one every couple of days. If you're prone to breakouts, you might want to get a fresh face towel even more frequently.
"For acne-prone skin you should be replacing or washing your towel daily," Talakoub says, explaining that skin bacteria transferring back and forth between your face and the towel might be problematic if you're prone to acne or rosacea.
Aside from regular laundry days, keep your towels bacteria- and grime-free by making sure they dry completely between uses. (That applies to both your face towel and the one reserved for your bod.) That might mean moving your towels out of the bathroom after you use them to hang, where they can get some fresh air.
"Towels kept next to a shower, particularly if multiple people are showering in one day, stay damp and can grow yeast or mold," Talakoub explains. "Keep your towels in a dry place with little moisture and humidity so they dry quickly."
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