One in 10 don’t wash their face, research suggests

Over 10% of the Irish public do not clean their face at all, while almost a third only use soap and water, new research suggests.

In a survey conducted by McCabes Pharmacy, a fifth of respondents said they only wash their face with water, while almost 30% reported using soap and water to clean their face.

But according to skincare experts, washing the face with a bar of soap can strip away the skin’s natural oils and cause it to feel tight and dehydrated. Soap can also cause acne, inflammation and an oily complexion.

Lisa Byrne, superintendent pharmacist at McCabes Pharmacy, said: “There are several myths surrounding skincare and one of the biggest misunderstandings is how to keep the face clean. Many overcompensate or under compensate with products but it’s important to get the balance right to prevent breakouts and irritation.”

A further 10.5% of survey respondents admitted they don’t clean their face at all, while 6.3% reported only using a face wipe.

Dr Rosemary Coleman, the founder of Centre for Restorative Dermatology, said: “I hate makeup wipes. They cause so many [skincare] problems, especially with rosacea, Demodex and folliculitis. They should strictly be used for an overnight stay or when on the run. They are not good skincare.”

According to Dr Coleman, the correct way to wash the face is with water in the morning. Followed by cleanser and toner in the evening to remove any debris, makeup and dirt.

Dr Coleman said: “I don’t believe in double-washing. In the morning you can just wash with water. It’s quite unnecessary to use another cleanser in the morning if all you’ve done is sleep.”

While 21.1% of people that took part in the survey reported cleaning their face with a cleanser or cleansing lotion, just over one in 10 said they use an exfoliating wash or scrub.

Dr Coleman added: “Exfoliants should be used once a week, not daily. People that do [exfoliate daily] often have irritated skin that lacks radiance.”

It’s important to ensure the appropriate temperature is used when washing the face in the morning, experts suggest. Hot water can stimulate redness and increase the chance of breaking blood vessels.

“At the very most I would wash the face with warm water and finish with a cool-to-cold rinse,” Dr Coleman added.

It’s recommended that once the face is washed, SPF should be applied in the morning and a hydrating night moisturiser in the evening.

“I use the term ‘daylight block’ rather than sunblock because you need SPF protection 365 days a year,” Dr Coleman concluded. “It’s about forming a habit year-round. You wouldn’t just clean your teeth in the summer.”

Anybody with sensitive or dry skin should use fragrance- and alcohol-free products. Eczema-prone skin may also require additional hydrating moisturiser.

Forming an effective and suitable skincare regimen can be difficult without knowing the facts. To avoid being led astray by myths, follow expert advice on how to keep skin clean, protected and glowing.

Survey Data

This data was collected via Google surveys in November 2019 amongst 1,002 members of the Irish public

About McCabes Pharmacy:

Founded in 1981, McCabes has grown from a single pharmacy in Malahide, Co. Dublin to a group of 28 stores across Ireland. Operated by more than 60 caring and knowledgeable pharmacists and over highly trained 400 frontline staff, McCabes puts patient care, efficiency and value for money at the core of its services. Find out more at