Skin Fix: Top 10 Common Skincare Mistakes
Whether you’re a self professed #SkincareAddict or an absolute minimalist, clear skin is a common (and worthy) goal. And while we all have the best intentions when it comes to caring for our complexions, we often damage our skin without knowing it, by falling prey to common skincare mistakes. When it comes to reaching your #GlowGoals, it’s your small, daily habits that will make the biggest differences.
Here are a few skin-care mistakes you might be making without even realizing, but are absolutely easy to fix:
Mistake #1: Skipping SPF
Sun damage is the #1 cause of wrinkles, fine lines, and discoloration (not to mention skin cancer). No amount of Botox, lasers, or other interventions later in life can truly make up for the sun damage your skin is exposed to in your younger years. The easiest way to prevent sun damaged skin from premature aging is to protect it! Wear a face cream or moisturizer with SPF 30-50 every day–even on cloudy days, even if you have darker skin. SPF is essential for all skin types, no matter how much melanin you have.
Pro tip: Also apply SPF 50 to your neck and the backs of your hands to prevent these delicate, tough-to-treat areas from premature signs of aging.
Mistake #2: Popping pimples & picking at your skin
Please: don’t touch! Squeezing or scraping at pimples damages your skin and creates scarring, which takes much longer to heal that original pimple. We know how annoying those pustules can be, so dab some salicylic acid (for mild acne) or benzoyl peroxide (for more inflamed cysts) on the offending bumps. Then step away from the mirror.
Did you know? If you can’t stop touching your face even when you try, you may suffer from a compulsive condition called dermatillomania. Please consult with your dermatologist.
Mistake #3: Skipping moisturizer on oily skin
If your skin feels oily, skipping moisturizer may feel like the right choice–but it isn’t, because your skin will produce even more oil if you don’t moisturize it. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser, and then use a serum containing hyaluronic acid–this will help bind water molecules to your skin to keep it hydrated. An SPF day cream will seal in the moisture and protect your skin all day.
Change it up: In the summertime you will probably need a lighter moisturizer than in the fall and winter–so remember to switch it up.
Mistake #4: Washing with hot water
Does hot water damage skin? Short answer – yes! It may seem logical to wash your face with hot water–after all, you wash your body in a hot shower. But the skin on your face is more delicate, and hot water strips its natural oils, causing dryness, sensitivity, and/or over-stimulation of your oil glands.
Wash this way: Use lukewarm water to wash your face once or (maximum) twice a day–it should feel neither warm nor cold when you run it over your hands.
Mistake #5: Over-exfoliating
A little exfoliation is a good thing–it removes dead skin cells and dull spots, revealing brighter skin. But exfoliating too often will deplete the natural oils your skin needs for hydration and protection, — so, how often should you exfoliate? To avoid over-exfoliating, it’s best to save your scrubs for 2-3 times a week.
Guess what? Regular (but not excessive!) exfoliation helps to stimulate circulation and collagen synthesis which plumps skin’s texture for a more youthful appearance.
Mistake #6: Too many products
A streamlined skin care routine is not only easier on your wallet and brain–it’s also vital for skin health. A gentle cleanser, day lotion with SPF, and night cream tailored to your skin type are all you need. Exfoliate 2x per week, and apply hyaluronic acid serum before moisturizing. That’s it! Marie Kondo would be so proud if she saw all your cleared-out shelf space.
Did you know? Simplifying any area of your life will lower stress levels, which lowers the amount of cortisol your body produces–and that’s good for your skin.
Mistake #7: Leaving skin bare 60 seconds after cleansing
After cleansing, immediately apply an alcohol-free toner or serum and moisturizer. If you leave your skin bare for more than one minute, it will start to dehydrate as the skin’s moisture evaporates into the air. (In very humid climates, this will happen a little more slowly). Here’s a detailed guide for how to apply each component in your skincare routine.
Best practice: Apply your toner or serum while skin is still damp, and then quickly apply a layer of moisturizer to seal in hydration.
Mistake #8: Not cleaning your smartphone screen
Just think about how many times a day you touch your phone. Now think about everything else you touch with your hands, and how many other people touch those things: door handles, cash, etc. Your phone screen is covered in bacteria, and when you take a call, you press it against your cheek… yuck! Try to wipe your phone screen every day with an anti-bacterial wipe (even a makeup wipe will do).
Stay fresh: Be sure to wash your pillowcases at least once a week, so your face has a clean resting place at night, too.
Mistake #9: Over- or under-moisturizing
How often should you moisturize your face? Ideally, you should have two moisturizers: one with SPF for daytime, and a night cream to repair and hydrate while you sleep. Find formulas that are ideal for your skin, and use them consistently. When you skip moisturizer, your skin has to compensate, and your oil glands go into overdrive.
Strange but true: For those with oily skin, moisturizing can actually prevent breakouts.
Mistake #10: Not enough water
What you drink matters, and not just for your overall health and energy levels–it also affects your skin. Staying hydrated (that’s eight or more 8-oz. glasses of fluid per day) helps your body, including your skin, flush out toxins and maintain good hydration levels. This has a whole host of benefits that all have the same end result: younger, healthier-looking skin. It can be hard to know if you’re over-doing or under-doing the hydration, so how much water is needed for good skin? Generally, the rule is around eight glasses of water/fluid a day. However, if you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, so try to sip regularly throughout the day.
Drink up: Sleep is vital for good skin, but your body naturally loses water overnight. Leave a full glass of water on your bedside table so that when you wake up, you can instantly re-hydrate.