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Should You Use the Same Towel on Your Body and Face? Derms Answer

woman washing her face

Leandro Cresp / Stocksy

We've said it a million times, and we'll say it again: Washing your face is the most important thing to do for your skin. There's just no room for shortcuts (sorry, not sorry), which is why we've broken down the 10 commandments of cleansing and the best cleansers for your skin type, and we've done our research on the best brightening, cream-based, and glycolic acid cleansers. The reality is there's a bunch of barriers that can get in the way of your quest to your best skin yet, one of those being your shower towel. 

Is Using the Same Towel on Your Body and Face Bad for You?

Do you dry your body with the same towel you use to dry your face? We get it. Laundry day is a drag. However, this habit could be doing your skin more harm than you think. That bacteria, which you wind up moving from your body onto your face (or vice versa) with your towel, is not good. According to dermatologist Sejal Shah, "Bacteria, fungus, dead skin cells, oils and other debris can collect on the towel," which can become the culprit of skin "infections, acne flares, and irritation." 

What If You Already Have An Infection?

Speaking of infections, New York City–based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, points out the importance of proceeding with caution if you're dealing with that. "If you have an open or raw skin or if you have any active infections you would not want to spread bacteria from your body to your face," Zeichner advises. "In addition, if you are removing makeup from the skin that can be deposited on your towel, it should not continue to be used on other parts of the body. Also, if there is any visible soiling on a towel, be it dirt, makeup, or bodily fluids, you should clean it before reusing it." 

Should You Be Using Terry Cloth Towels?

On another note, standard terry-cloth towels are rather rough on the skin. Using them can cause friction because the terry cloth acts as an exfoliant. Doing this too often can result in rough patches and stripping away your skin of good natural oils it needs. All in all, use a separate body and face towel, and wash it at least once a week.

Where Should the Towels Be Stored?

In addition to switching out your towels often, where you keep them stowed away in between uses is also an important factor. You want to make sure to store your towels in a dry place where there won't be much moisture, so this means keeping it out of your shower area. Why? Because as everyone goes in and out to shower, it's keeping the towel damp and therefore causing fungus, like mold, to build up on it.

The Final Takeaway

We suggest you swap out standard towels for these healthier options below. Cleansing cloths are gentle and soothing for the skin. A few of these even double as makeup removers. Now you should think twice before you let your body towel touch your face. Try out one of the below instead!

3 Muslin Cloths
Eve Lom 3 Muslin Cloths $22
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Woven with 100% cotton, these muslin cloths help cleanse and remove makeup without disrupting the skin barrier. 

Towels with eyelashes on them
Weezie Makeup Towels $40
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These monogrammed towels are both cute and functional. The 100% organic long-staple cotton and navy hue make them the perfect companion to your daily makeup removal routine. 

Set Of Seven Pure Muslin Cleansing Cloths
Mauli Rituals Set of Seven Pure Muslin Cleansing Cloths $32
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If you want a muslin cloth to use every day of the week, Mauli Rituals' seven towel offering is the way to go. 

Cleansing Mitt
Omorovicza Cleansing Mitt $15
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A facial cleansing mitt? Sign us up. Reviewers say this pure cotton mitt fits "perfectly" on the hand and removes any trace of makeup. 

Jane Iredale Magic Mitt $15
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With nearly a five-star rating, this knitted micro-fiber cloth breaks down oil and makeup with just water. 

Facial Cotton 40 sheets
Shiseido Facial Cotton 165 Sheets $12
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These one-time use cotton pads are ideal for cleansing and makeup removal. 

The Original MakeUp Eraser® Makeup Remover Cloth White
Makeup Eraser The Original MakeUp Eraser $20
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This anti-bacterial, makeup removing cloth can wipe away your makeup with just water. Be sure to use the towel with warm water for the best results.

Pai Dual Effect Sensitive Skin Cloth $20
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We love a multi-tasking product, and this muslin cloth is just that. With one side for exfoliation and the other gentle enough for use on the eyes, this muslin cloth is perfection. 

Aqua cloth makeup remover
Take My Face Off The Makeup Mitty $14
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We should all be doing small things to help the environment, and the Makeup Mitty makes it easy to say goodbye to traditional cotton balls. 

Probiotic Skincare Monday To Sunday Bamboo Muslins
Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Monday To Sunday Bamboo Muslins $36
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Whether you have sensitive skin or simply want a gentle option for your face, these cloths are a welcome treat. 

Organic Muslin Cloth
The Organic Pharmacy Organic Muslin Cloth $9
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The best part of purchasing this 100% organic cotton muslin cloth aside from the skincare benefits is if you purchase it from Olivela, you'll provide one essential supply item to a family in need, through their Save the Children initiative. 

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