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What type of washcloth do I need to use for my skin?

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
Dermatology

A nubby washcloth is one of your best skin care tools. It's a good way to slough off dead skin cells while you wash your face and much less abrasive and irritating than a facial scrub or a chemical exfoliant for someone with a tendency toward dry or sensitive skin. A clean washcloth should not harbor bacteria, in the same way that your toothbrush, if it's stored properly and allowed to dry out, won't become a breeding ground either. Granted, if you store a wet cloth in a damp place, you're going to have problems, but squeezing out the extra moisture and then hanging it to dry on your towel rack should be safe. Most bacteria can't live in a dry environment, so if you let your cloth air out in between uses, it will be absolutely fine for a few days. Rinse it with soap before you hang it to dry. If it smells mildewy after a few wet-to-dry uses, it's time to change it. A natural sponge or a loofah can also be an effective exfoliating tool. (Since these tend to be a little large, you can cut them into smaller, flatter pieces, making it easier for them to dry out completely in between uses.) If you're still not convinced, try a disposable cleansing cloth product, one with the cleanser integrated into the fibers. The cloth will foam up once it's dampened and you can start washing, and then toss the cloth. Since you use a clean cloth every time, there's no chance for residue or bacteria to build up, not to mention that they're convenient for traveling since they aren't actually considered a liquid. But the environmentalist in me thinks these are wasteful and not the best choice.

Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

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Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

What if a leading dermatologist just happened to be your best friend and you could ask her anything? DR. ELLEN MARMUR, a world-renowned New York City dermatologist, answers all your questions with...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.