Maybe the water you've been using is too hot, maybe you've been scrubbing too hard, or maybe you've been letting a baby pug lick your face: Whatever you're doing, chances are you've been washing your face wrong.
We've got you covered. Here are seven ways you might unknowingly be mistreating your beautiful face (but they're pretty simple to fix, so don't panic):
1. You should be double-cleansing.
It sounds like a pain the ass, but many experts insist that one wash won't get the job done. According to double-cleanse adherents — a practice which originated in East Asia centuries ago — you first apply an oil-based cleanser and follow it with a face wash, aided by water.
"We've always said the first cleanse lifts off all the surface stuff, and is more of a makeup remover, melting what you've put on your face," King added. "The second is there to dissolve deeper dirt and more oil and dead skin cells, giving you a deeper cleanse."
2. Rub your cleanser in like you would moisturizer.
Don't just vaguely splash some cleanser in the general direction of your face. If you're using cleansing lotion, apply it before using water, and if you're using other cleansing products, moisten your face first. But make sure you're properly rubbing the product into your skin, over the whole area, just as you would a moisturizer. Afterward, you should thoroughly rinse your face with water.
"This gives the oils in the cleanser a chance to breakdown the oils in your makeup and on your skin," Renée Rouleau, renowned esthetician, told Shape.
3. Make sure you're using the right cleanser for your face.
Invest time in finding the right kind of cleanser for your skin — whether it be oily, sensitive, dry or prone to breakouts, there's something out there for every skin type. Using an incompatible product can make subsequent products less effective.
4. If you wear makeup, give your eyes 10 seconds to absorb makeup remover.
Many makeup wearers, despite the well-intentioned use of wipes, don't actually take off all their makeup at the end of the day. Leaving makeup on your skin overnight hinders its ability to breathe and repair itself.
Many experts recommend soaking a cotton ball in oil-based makeup remover and then placing them on your eyelids for around 10 seconds before wiping away the makeup.
You should remove the makeup "as gently as possible so you're not rubbing and tugging at your skin," dermatologist Sonia Batra told Glamour.
5. Wash your face morning and night.
It's important you're not just limiting your face-cleansing routine to the nighttime.
"Generally speaking, cosmetic dermatologists recommend that patients cleanse their face twice daily [morning and night]," Dr. Melanie Palm told InStyle. "The nighttime cleansing removes dirt, debris, environmental pollutants, makeup and excess oil from a busy day."
As for the morning, all sorts of gross stuff can find its way to your face overnight, Palm explains: "Dead skin cells and allergens may collect on your pillowcase and be transferred to the facial skin throughout the night." Washing your face in the morning will also remove the buildup of any oils secreted throughout the night and prep the face nicely for other morning products like moisturizer.
6. Only use lukewarm water.
Conversely, freezing cold water can irritate the surface of your face or even cause capillaries to burst.
7. Make sure you pat dry with a towel afterward — don't wipe.
You don't need to get crazy with your towel or aggressively wipe off the residual (lukewarm) water from your (now-perfect) cleansing routine. Just do a little gentle patting. Getting rough with your towel every day can, overtime, stretch out your delicate skin.