Dermatologist holding CeraVe face cleanser

Meet Dr. Cheri Frey, a board-certified dermatologist based in the Washington, D.C. area. She gives us an overview of the three steps to cleansing like a dermatologist.


Step 1 – Listen to the Experts

Harsh cleansers can damage your skin barrier, letting irritants in and moisture out. Choose a dermatologist recommended skincare brand with gentle cleansers that will remove oil, dirt, and makeup without compromising the skin barrier.

Step 2 – Get to Know Your Skin

Face washes are not one-size-fits-all, and it’s important to know your specific skin type so you can choose the formula with carefully balanced cleansing to clean skin without unwanted side effects.

Step 3 – Be Gentle

When applying your cleanser, avoid using washcloths, brushes or other harsh techniques that could damage your skin barrier. Lukewarm water and your hands are all you need!



  • A cleanser is a skincare product designed to gently lift oil, dirt, sweat, dead skin cells, and make-up from the skin’s surface. These impurities are then carried away with rinsing. A good cleanser will help prevent the accumulation of residue while leaving the skin’s barrier intact.

  • Ideally, you should wash your face twice daily, in the morning and again in the evening. You might also consider cleansing after any activity where the face becomes visibly covered with sweat, dirt or makeup.

  • A cleanser should be applied to the face for 3-5 minutes, and then rinsed off. Use a clean cloth to pat your face dry.

  • Use lukewarm water to wash the face. If you have sensitive skin, hot water can strip the skin and cause excessive dryness. On the other hand, cold water may not adequately dissolve oils.

  • Washing your face in the shower is perfectly fine. Just use your clean hands and fingertips.

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