Should Your Skin Feel Tight After Washing?

The answer is absolutely no. Tight skin equals dry skin.

If the skin feels tight after washing, it is a sign that the skin has been stripped of all its water, therefore causing surface dead skin cell build up. Then you have to rush and put your moisturizer on to replenish the moisture that you just took out – which makes absolutely no sense!

Going back in time, aside from when cold creams hit the market, most facial cleansers were in the form of a bar soap. People had become accustomed to a tight feeling after washing, writing it off as a “normal sensation.” In the past 25 years as advancements in skin care have evolved, cleansing gels and cleansing lotions have become a more popular option due to a mild and gentler cleansing action.

So what should you look for in a cleanser? Toss the bar soap, and don’t use those on the face – even if it says it’s moisturizing. The binders that hold a bar soap together naturally have a high pH balance, so it is always dehydrating. Instead, choose cleansing gels that avoid the ingredients Sodium Lauryl (or Laureth) Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl (or Laureth) Sulfate –or look for those listed as “sulfate-free”. Sulfates are found in many, many gel and foaming cleansers and can be equally as drying as bar soaps.

Tip: If you like that tight feel after washing, rinse your cleanser off with icy cold water. This will make your skin feel squeaky clean without depleting its water levels…

Read: How To Wash Your Face

Note: All of the Renée Rouleau gel cleansers will still make the skin feel very clean after washing but they certainly won’t cause skin dehydration. See our collection of gel cleansers.

Also, all of our cleansing lotions are water-soluble and rinse away clean without leaving a greasy residue. See our collection of cleansing lotions.

But what if you are using a very gentle sulfate-free cleanser or cleansing lotion and your skin still feels dry afterward? After cleansing, you must IMMEDIATELY use an alcohol-free toner and moisturizer. If you leave your skin bare for more than 1 minute, it will begin to dehydrate. Perform your skin care routine quickly, and be sure to always leave your toner damp on the skin. This will leave your skin protected and help to avoid the tight & dry feeling.

Read: Gel, Lotion Or Cream: Which Cleanser Is Best

Which skin care products are best for you? See our nine skin types or take the Skin Type Quiz and get products recommended.

Need expert advice from a licensed esthetician? Schedule a virtual consultation to get customized advice in person, over the phone or online via Skype or FaceTime.

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Content found on, including: text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.