Besides being a fan-fave for its gentleness, people have heart eyes for micellar water because it's easy AF to use. Typically, you just soak a cotton ball or cotton pad, or even just pour it on your hands, and swipe it all over your face before going on with the rest of your regimen. But... nope. Dermatologists actually say that some people should be rinsing it off, not just leaving it on their skin.
... Cue the record scratch.
"Micellar water contains surfactants, which can disrupt the structure of the skin," says Shari Sperling, DO, a board-certified dermatologist. Surfactants are the part of the micellar water's formula that work to attract the oil on your face, which is what removes debris. "These can be irritating and should be rinsed off your face, not left on."
While some people can tolerate leaving it on without a problem, those with reactive skin need to be more careful, says Shirley Chi, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in California. "There are a few people out there that can't leave anything on their skin because they're so reactive, so these people would have to rinse off micellar water," she says. In addition to surfactants, fragrance can also cause irritation, so if you fall into this category you'll want to use something extra-gentle, like La Roche-Posay Micellar Water for Sensitive Skin ($16).
Pro tip: Here are three fool-proof ways to remove makeup, courtesy of the pros. And this is the secret to figuring out whether you should use a makeup remover or a face wash when you're cleansing your skin.
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