Disposable Face Cloths: Do You Need Them?

Healthy Skin Care Made Easy

There are a few companies out there offering disposable facial towels. Some claim that their towels may help reduce acne, breakouts, and skin irritation. Yep, I guess this is an actual thing now. I’ve been in the professional beauty biz for over 16 years now and have seen so many things come and go, and clients are starting to ask me about this new trend, so here’s my take on it.

Hygiene concerns.

One of the big selling points for disposable face cloths is that they are more sanitary than the regular towels and washcloths you already use in your home. One brand I ran across speaks of rubbing your face with e-coli and other harmful microorganisms in traditional washable towels. So do you need to invest in disposable cloths to ensure your face isn’t getting yucky bacteria all over it?  I believe in using a clean washcloth each time and another clean washcloth or towel for drying, especially if you have acne, rosacea, or sensitive skin.

It’s also not a bad idea to wash your face washcloths separate from your other laundry and with fragrance-free detergent.

If you are cleaning them in hot water and drying them in a heated dryer, then you’re probably killing those pesky bacteria. I mean, our state board of cosmetology requires us to wash all spa linens in hot water above (temp) to keep the public safe, so I’m not sure why doing this at home wouldn’t create the same result?

Using a fresh face cloth that has been through your everyday washing and drying of clothes should alleviate any health concerns.

Skin irritation concerns.

If your disposable wipe or face cloth contains fragrance or certain preservatives, then it could defiantly irritate your skin. Some brands do not include these things, so be on the lookout for those needing a disposable option. I think if you are using a clean and soft washable cloth at home, you’ll probably be just fine. I mean, I’ve been doing it for many years with lots of success!

I simply buy lots of baby washcloths (they are super soft), so I always have plenty on hand to use a clean one each time.

Environmental concerns.

Most higher-end wipes and disposable washcloths boast that their materials are biodegradable. When I did a little digging online, I found that it can take from 42 days to 100 years to break down these wipes anywhere. There are many variables at play in these scenarios, such as the ingredients in the products and the conditions in which they are composting. And if you take into account their packaging, that’s still a lot of trash going in the landfill, even if it is biodegradable.

Disposable face wipes and cloths are preferred for traveling or on-the-go face cleansing needs, and fortunately many are now biodegradable.

So if the environment is one of your concerns, you should research the specific ingredients and practices of the brand you are using. 

Are disposable face cloths all bad? Definitely not. I’m a big fan of using things like this while traveling, and I think they would be great at the gym, camping, or removing messy skincare masks, for that matter. For me, using them every day just seems unnecessary and expensive, but I could see how they would come in handy from time to time.—By Pam Edmondson