Makeup wipes are great for removing lipstick and eye shadow, but experts warn you should think twice before using them as a substitute for face washing.

Although these pre-moistened cloths are quick and convenient, they barely dent the layer of make-up and bacteria which build up during the day.

Futility aside, these wipes can often cause irritation, breakouts and premature aging.

Speaking with Health reporters, experts break down ways makeup wipe removers can damage the skin, and explain how you should change your perspective on the way wipes fit into your skincare routine.



Makeup wipes leave behind a LOT of residue 

Joanna Vargas, a bicoastal esthetician whose clients include Greta Gerwig, Jake Gyllenhaal and Eve Mendes, said makeup wipes should be thought of as a ‘quick fix.’

‘I’m not a huge fan of face wipes because they don’t always clean the face thoroughly and they leave behind a lot of residue,’ said Vargas, who has spas in New York and Los Angeles.

Like facial cleansers, makeup removers help lift oil and dead skin.

However, esthetician Danuta Mieloch, founder of Rescue Spa, said that without the added step of water, these wipes essentially just move dirt around on the face.

Never substitute wipes for a Good face wash with warm water



‘It makes you feel like you’re doing the right thing, but they’re actually horrible for your skin,’ said Mieloch, who uses makeup wipes as a last resort when she’s traveling.

Furthermore, these wipes also leave behind chemical residue or film that can irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions.

Mieloch added that these pre-moistened wipes should be thought of as a first step to a skin care routine and should be followed by a cleanser that is less saturated with chemicals.


These cloths can dehydrate the skin 

Makeup wipes can dehydrate the skin and increase the risk of breakouts.

Mieloch said this is because they are packed with a lot of alcohol content that over strips the skin of its natural oils.

‘Our skin is like our gut, it needs the good bacteria,’ said Mieloch, adding that the good bacteria is equivalent to probiotics, a live bacteria that’s good for the digestive system.

‘It’s very important to preserve the good bacteria while removing the bad,’ she added.

Mieloch said the skin reacts to this over drying by producing more oil.

For people with oily skin, this can be a problem. Over drying the skin can trigger excess oil production.

However, dermatologist Dr Joshua Zeichner said there’s little data to support the idea that over stripping oil can paradoxically stimulate oil production.

But he added that the over drying of skin can cause irritation which makes it difficult to treat or prevent acne.

Furthermore, makeup wipes can also disrupt the skin’s acid mantle, the skin’s protective layer that protects it against acne-causing bacteria and moisture loss.

‘If your skin is already dry, this will make your skin feel drier,’ Vargas said. ‘If your skin is oily and tends to break out, face wipes could make you break out.’


They can cause premature aging

These cleansing cloths requires a good amount of pressure to remove makeup which can be harsh on the skin.

This can cause inflammation which can lead to early skin aging and hyperpigmentation, according to Dr Zeichner.

Also, since these cloths don’t provide a deep cleaning, people who use these wipes as the only part of their night skin care routine are going to bed with grime and dirt on their face.

This can also cause inflammation in the skin, thus promoting premature aging.

Mieloch said proper cleansing is a non-aging routine, and people aren’t getting that from just makeup wipes.



How people SHOULD use face wipes

Experts said makeup wipes shouldn’t be the be-all end-all of a nighttime skincare routine.

Although it’s good at removing lipstick and eye shadow makeup, but it shouldn’t be used to cleanse the skin.

‘I would use a real cleanser and wash well before bed at night,’ Vargas said. ‘Night time is your body’s time to repair itself – you wouldn’t want to wake up to a pimple.’

Vargas uses two wipes when she starts her skincare routine.

She uses the first one to wipe the center and sides of her face. And she uses the second one to wipe everything one more time to make sure there’s no left over makeup.

[Makeup wipes] make you feel like you’re doing the right thing, but they’re actually horrible for your skin
Danuta Mieloch, founder of Rescue Spa

Mieloch, who only uses makeup wipes when necessary,  added that these wipes are oil-based and designed to remove makeup only and aren’t proper for skin cleansing.

She said they should be paired with milky cleansers to remove the chemical residue or film these cloths leave behind.

Meanwhile, Matney suggests people use brands such as Simple, which has sulfate- and fragrance-free wipes and contain fewer chemicals.

Experts said there are alternatives to makeup wipes people can use to remove dirt and grime.

Vargas said Thayers Witch Hazel with Aloe and cotton balls are gentle, very cleansing and good for all skin types.

Matney said coconut oil can also be used to get rid of stubborn makeup.

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