Hot Cloth Cleansing Update…It May Not be as Great for Skin as I Thought!

Hot Cloth Cleansing Update

Remember when I raved about hot cloth cleansing a few months ago? Now I’m having second thoughts!

You can read my original post here for a lot more details, but here’s the basic idea: you apply cleanser to dry skin and then remove it with a hot, wet washcloth. I did this for about five months and was generally happy with the results. I liked that hot cloth cleansing was less messy than my old method since I didn’t end up with water all over my counter-top. I also liked that the washcloth scrubbed away dead skin.

As regular readers know, I’ve been a fan of Paula Begoun and her line of skin care products, Paula’s Choice, for years. So when I read some information on that made it seem like hot polish cleansing might actually be bad for my skin, I started to reconsider my routine.

According to Paula Begoun…

From The Right Way to Cleanse Your Face:

  • “…scrubbing skin too hard or too often risks tearing and irritation. The best way to exfoliate is with a non-manual chemical exfoliant containing salicylic acid (BHA), and don’t rinse it away.”

From The Oil Cleansing Method for Acne?:

  • “You’ll need to remove whatever mixture you choose with a washcloth and warm water. Avoid hot water, steam or pulling too hard on skin, as all of these can damage, irritate and breakdown skin’s collagen over time. We should also mention that irritation can trigger more oil production and breakouts.”
  • “Hot steam is irritating in every way possible. Irritation stimulates oil production directly in the pore and makes pimples look even redder. Using hot steam on a regular basis also can cause small blood vessels in your skin to rupture, over time creating a network of surfaced red capillaries.”

Basically, you shouldn’t scrub skin too hard or too often, and you shouldn’t use extremely hot water if you don’t want irritated skin, breakouts, excess oil, or broken capillaries. When I was cleansing my face with a hot washcloth, I was doing both. I used very hot water and scrubbed my skin really, really hard. Of course, Caroline Hirons never suggested that I burn my face off or rub my skin raw, but that’s sort of what I was doing! It’s really too bad; I was enjoying the instant results of buffing off dead skin manually.

Bottom Line

I’m not suggesting that hot cloth cleansing is a bad idea in general, but the way I was doing it was doing more harm than good for my skin in the long run (despite any short-term benefits I experienced). If you’re going to cleanse this way, just be sure to use warm water instead of hot water and avoid scrubbing very hard to avoid irritation and its consequences.