Can You Wash Your Face with Just Water?



Recently reading the book “Simple Skin Beauty” by respected dermatologist Ellen Marmur I was more than surprised to read that the normally washes her face with just water. Really? I mean REALLY dermatologists are usually the first to promote a certain skin careline, often their own. Marmur’s take on washing her face with just water is surprisingly refreshing.

What’s her reasoning? Why would a dermatologist only use water to wash her face in the morning?

Her skin is dry, she says, so there is no need to wash off the excess oils. Instead she uses a warm water (not hot nor to cold) and a wash cloth to gently wash down her face.

The idea behind washing your face with only water is highly dependent on what type of skin you have and whether it would actually benefit from being rinsed gently rather than using a cleanser. Marmur is not suggesting that combination or oily skin types should do this too, in fact in her book she highlights the importance of using some chemical exfoliants like BHA acids and professional chemical peels to help keep the skin healthy and looking good throughout the year.

She goes on to say that what you do to your skin is really dependent on what your skin needs at the moment and tries to dispel the myth of having certain skin “types” and rather underscore the reality that skin can be so many different “types” depending what conditions it is in.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about this method. When I was going to esthetician school my teacher related a story about how she met an elderly woman with beautiful skin. She asked what her routine was and the woman related that ever since she was young she just rinsed her skin with pure water and three drops of essential oils (for the life of me right now I cannot recall what the oils were- probably should call the teach) and that’s all she ever did to wash her face. Of course, this woman may have had genuinely great skin to begin with, but the story makes me think there’s something to simplicity.

I think if you are experiencing dry skin, or have mature skin then you may want to try the sans cleanser method like Marmur does for herself, but if you have acne, oily or combination skin washing your face without water is not really in your true benefit, although it couldn’t help to see what happens. Maybe you’ll find that your cleanser is actually irritating, and that using pure water is a step in the right direction!

Tip: Never reuse a washcloth as it breeds bacteria after you use it the first time.

3 thoughts on “Can You Wash Your Face with Just Water?

  1. This is really great advice. I am going to point my product buyers to your blog for sure. :-) It is hard to find someone, anyone, online truly willing to tell people to purchase less for skin care and to preliminarily take care of your skin from the inside out. Everyone wants a magic pill and to continue eating whatever they like. We spend millions of dollars every year just trying to look 20 again when we might have had a few less french fries and soda and have been better off around the eyes for it.


  2. I’m so glad that I found your blog because for years now I have seen so many of my peers and family members utilizing over the counter cleansing products to try and retain that youthful look, but in the end they all are still experiencing problems. I have never been big into the products that many retailers sale and it is not because I do not believe in them, it is simply because I feel I don’t need to waste my money on them. I am a 26 year old male and for the past 10 years I have only used water to cleanse my face followed by a moisturizer designed for facial use and I get complements on my skin all the time. Most people guess that I am in my early 20’s. I typically have dry skin so I do not feel the need to over cleanse my face, but by using warm water I am able to at least get the dirt and grim off my face and by following with a moisturizer I am helping my skin heal from its dryness. I hope my story can give some insight to those who may be experiencing the same problems.

    -Best wishes-

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