Are Facial Cleansing Wipes Bad for Your Skin?

face_wipesYou walk into your house at 2am, after a long night of fun and you’re exhausted. Merely hours before you put all that effort into making sure you looked your best, and now  you have to wash it all away. But after all that hard work and fun with friends, you’re just too exhausted. You simply don’t have the energy to dedicate to washing your face before falling into bed.

Then you remember your facial cleansing wipes! How convenient! That’s exactly what you need. A few wipes and all that makeup is off your face and you can fall into bed and drift right off to sleep without mascara and lipstick smudged pillow cases.

That’s the ideal situation anyway. If you’re using facial cleansing cloths every now and then to avoid passing out with your full face of makeup on, or to gently cleanse your face after a long workout at the gym, then you’re in the clear. However, if this is your everyday facial cleansing routine, you could be doing much more harm than good. Continue reading to see why…

Too Much Residue Left Behind

Simply put, facial cleansing wipes are no substitute for the real thing. While the ingredients in the cleansing wipes are, for the most part, the same as your facial cleanser, the problem lies with the no-rinse factor. When you suds up and wash your face, you remove all your makeup, dirt, oil, dead skin, etc., by rinsing with water. Without doing this, you end up leaving a nasty layer of gunk on your face.

Harsh Ingredients Added

In addition to the necessary makeup removing ingredients, facial cleansing wipes require chemicals to keep them moist and increase their shelf life. Formaldehyde, a commonly used cosmetic preservative, has been confirmed to be a carcinogen when used in large quantities, or with repeated use.

Formaldehyde isn’t the only nasty chemical used to increase the shelf-life of these wipes. There are several other allergens that can irritate your skin, so check out a list of ingredients to watch out for here.

Not to mention, the high levels of alcohol in the wipes can dry the skin out, and when used too often results in loss of moisture, breaking down our ever important collagen leaving us aging prematurely.

No Deep Clean

Our skin needs a deep cleaning after a long night out. It’s not just the makeup you need to remove. Think about where you’ve been all night. If you’ve been at a bar, think about all the cigarette smoke and alcohol. Have you been walking from bar to bar? Chances are you’ve been exposed to a good bit of fumes from passing automobiles. You’ve got toxins sinking deep into your skin that need a good, deep clean that facial cleansing cloths just can’t provide.

There’s a commonly cited statistic that states our skin absorbs 60% of what it comes in contact with. While the exact amount is unknown, it is safe to say that a good bit of what we apply and contact is absorbed into the deep layers of our skin, and in some cases, eventually our bloodstream.

The Best Solution?

Whenever I have a full face of makeup and don’t have the energy to hop into the shower, I’ll use a facial cleansing wipe to remove the majority of my makeup and that stubborn mascara and eyeliner. Then, I follow by washing and gently scrubbing with a mild facial cleanser and rinsing before applying any treatments and my nighttime moisturizer. And according to, that’s the most effective way to use facial cleansing cloths. Go me!

So with that said, if you’re in a pinch, facial cleansing cloths are a great alternative to the real thing, but don’t rely on them for everyday use.

Do you use facial cleansing wipes regularly? If not, when do you use them? Tell me in the comment section!