Sanitizing Your Skincare

With news and anxiety surrounding Coronavirus growing every day, we thought now would be an appropriate time to share some tips to keep your skincare routine as sanitary as possible. Below are some helpful tips to reduce cross-contamination and the spread of germs during your beauty regimen.

1. Wash Your Hands

OK, this is an obvious one, which is why it’s first, but you should thoroughly wash your hands prior to washing your face, applying products or touching your face for any reason, really. Sanitizer is great, but if you have access to a sink, soap and warm water is most ideal. (Wash for a minimum of 20 seconds. If you’ve got the time, go for 60. Or sing Happy Birthday twice if you’re feeling old school.)

2. Skip the towel 

Here’s the deal: for the most part, towels are a hot spot for bacteria to live and grow. And while it’s not reasonable to wash a hand towel as often as I would like to, it is also unreasonable to own 7 hand towels just for myself. And environmentally, I can’t bring myself to take the plunge toward single-use bathroom towels and can’t in good conscience recommend you do either.

Instead, shake your face a little to get off the excess water post-cleanse and gently pat wet, clean hands to your wet, clean face to move from wet to damp before patting in your toner and serums. This is a bonus because when skin is wet, it allows for deeper absorption and greater product efficacy. Plus, if you’re using products containing Hyaluronic Acid, which is a humectant, it will pull the water sitting atop your skin into the cells for deep hydration. (Note: those with sensitive skin may want to wait for skin to air-dry before applying products containing chemical exfoliants or retinol because the deeper penetration of active ingredients may result in irritation.) 

3. Swap product jars for reusable, airless pump bottles 

Two of my absolute favorite products — COSRX’s Hyaluronic Acid Cream and Dr. Jart’s Cicapair™ Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment — have the same fatal flaw: they come in jars! Which are cute, I will admit. And I will certainly be keeping the cute little Dr. Jart green jar for a yet-to-be-determined craft project, but the everyday experience of dunking (even freshly washed) hands directly into a product I love and will be using for months is just too much to handle. I can’t be losing sleep to nightmares about the microbes making a home in my moisturizer, so I purchased some Kosette airless pump bottles to transfer product out of the jars and into a more sanitary option. The Kosette bottles can be purchased in-store in Koreatown, or there are many variations available on Amazon if you aren’t located in New York. 

4. Wipe down products immediately after purchasing

From the manufacturers’ factories to distributors’ warehouses, your products see a lot of people, places and germs before reaching your home. Start on the right note by wiping down new products before placing them on your beauty shelf.

5. Wipe down products once a week

Additionally, it’s a good idea to wipe down all of your products regularly to avoid bacterial growth on the bottles, lids, pump handles etc. You can use sanitizing wipes for simplicity or, for the strongest germ-killing power opt for isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle and paper towels.

6. Keep products away from the toilet

I don’t like to think about it too much but germs can move and spread on surfaces and through the air. If possible, keep your beauty products away from the toilet. If that’s not possible, remember to keep the toilet lid shut, especially when flushing to limit potential spread and be vigilant with regularly cleaning your products. In fact, if you can keep the products out of the bathroom entirely, that is preferable (albeit inefficient). 

7. Sanitize any skincare tools or devices before and after each use 

This probably goes without saying, but skincare tools such as rollers, gua sha or LED treatment machines should also be cleaned before and after each use to ensure they won’t be introducing more or new bacteria to the skin. Wipe them down with isopropyl alcohol and allow to dry before using. I like keeping my roller and gua sha in the freezer to ward off bacterial growth in addition to cooling the stone material for a refreshing and de-puffing facial massage. 

8. Wash your pillowcases

You might be able to avoid touching your face with your hands or a towel, but if you’re anything like me the pillowcase is unavoidable. For years, I’ve tried and failed at making a habit of sleeping on my back, but I do try to wash my pillow cases about once a week to cut down on bacteria levels.

9. Wipe down your phone

Honestly this is the most important tip for leading a sanitary life in a dirty world. Your face, hands, family and friends will thank you. While we are at it, remind them to wipe their phones down too. Take a pack of wipes to the office and share. Be the change you wish to see and all that. 


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