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What is double cleansing, and will it help your acne?

Your skin is your first line barrier between you and the environment around you. Throughout the day, oil, dirt, bacteria, and environmental toxins build up on the skin surface. After a long hard day, the idea of washing your face even once can seem like an impossible task. Especially when all you want to do is catch up on Netflix and sneak in some extra zzzz’s. But, to thoroughly remove all the makeup, excess sebum, and impurities that build up on your skin throughout the day, double cleansing is the way to go.

What is it?

Double-cleansing is a lot like it sounds. It’s the practice of cleansing your face twice using two different cleansers. This repeated cleansing removes all the excess dirt, oil, bacteria, and pollutants that build up throughout the day on your skin. 

The first cleanser’s job is to remove makeup and surface impurities. This is typically done using an oil-based cleanser. If you have acne, an oil-based product sounds terrifying, but using an oil-based cleanser is a great way to remove excess sebum from the skin since oil attracts oil. It also does this gently without further irritating the skin or causing redness. 

The job of the second cleanser is to provide a deeper cleanse to reach deep into pores. Removing makeup and surface impurities in step 1 makes it easier for the second cleanser to clean the skin thoroughly. The cleanser used for this step is your more standard cleanser that mixes with water to produce a lather.

How to do it

Step 1: Apply the oil-based cleansers using dry hands to a dry face. You want to apply enough so that there is a nice coating of the cleanser over your entire face. Using this cleanser with dry skin is also essential so the oil can interact with the sebum and impurities on the surface. Use small circular motions to massage the oil-based cleanser around your face. Then, wet your hands with water and continue to massage the oils into your skin until a milky white emulsion forms. Finish by rinsing off the emulsion with water and patting your skin dry.

Step 2: For your second wash, choose a gel or foam-based cleanser that forms suds when mixed with water like the Dermala CLEANSE with Benefits AM/PM Cleanser. Our cleanser is gentle and at a lower pH so it can thoroughly remove impurities without stripping the skin dry. Wet your hands then squeeze a quarter-sized amount of cleanser into your palm. Rub your hands together to create a lather and apply the cleanser to your face using a circular massage motion for 30-60 seconds. Rinse the cleanser off with luke-warm water and pat the skin dry with a clean towel.

After double cleansing, apply your acne treatments and a hydrating moisturizer. If you’re doing this in the AM, don’t forget to finish off your skincare routine with a good SPF!


Washing your face is a must for everyone’s skincare routine, but it’s especially important if you have acne or acne-prone skin. The excess production of sebum throughout the day combines with environmental impurities to clog pores, which can lead to breakouts. If you’re short on time, a quick face wash is still better than nothing, but if you have some extra time a few days a week, give the double cleansing method a try. Doing a double cleanse is also super beneficial if you like to wear heavier makeup throughout the day.

Double cleansing will not only thoroughly cleanse your skin for a brighter complexion, but it also provides a clean base for your other skincare products. This clean base allows your acne treatments, serums, and moisturizers to absorb into the skin easier so they can adequately do their jobs.     

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