Let’s face it: we’re creatures of habit. We develop routines that are compatible with our lives, even though there’s often room for improvement. It’s simple enough to overlook a bad habit or two, but what happens when those bad habits start damaging our skin? Here are five common skin care mistakes people often make, as well as the remedies to fix them.
1. Over Exfoliation/Under Exfoliation
Ask any professional and they’ll tell you that exfoliation is a cornerstone of a healthy skin care regimen, so if you’re not exfoliating at all, now is the time to start. Exfoliation is the removal of old, dead skin cells, most commonly by way of a microdermabrasion scrub. Tiny granules buff away dead skin cells and debris, which helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as improving your overall skin tone. But exfoliation enthusiasts may often end up over-exfoliating, leaving skin susceptible to things like pollution, environmental toxins, and sun damage, all of which will only accelerate the skin’s aging process.
The Fix: Proper healthy exfoliation should be done 2-3 times per week. As a rule of thumb, if you start noticing redness, or more sensitive skin, take a couple of days off.
2. Layer your products correctly
The mornings can be a mad dash to get out the door. Too often we find ourselves rushing to get all our products on our face, which can render many products ineffective. Improper application can also cause skin to feel oily or tacky. Skin care products are delicate, and formulated with their order of application in mind. Applying a serum before your toner has had time to dry will not only cause a sticky mess, but it will make your expensive serum all but useless.
3. Falling Asleep with Makeup On
We’ve all done this one. And chances are, at some point, we’ll do it again. Sleeping in makeup every once in awhile isn’t the end of the world. However, making a habit of it can be very detrimental to your skin’s health. The longer makeup is on your face, the better chance it has of clogging pores and oil glands, leading to more frequent breakouts and larger looking pores. Not to mention that it dirties your pillowcase, creating an environment for skin problems to thrive.
The Fix: Don’t skip the night time routine. At the bare minimum, remove your makeup and give your face a good cleanse. Not only will it help keep your skin looking fresh, but washing your face before bed has shown to improve sleep by making you feel your best before bed. And remember to wash your pillowcases regularly.
4. Not Moisturizing Oily Skin
One of the most common misconceptions in skin care is that using moisturizer on oily skin will only produce even oilier skin. In actuality, the opposite is true. Oiliness is not at all the same as hydration (think: water vs. oil). By skipping moisturizer, oily skin tries to compensate, producing even more oil. In fact, oily skin without proper hydration is far more likely to develop clogged pores, leading to more regular breakouts and uneven skin texture.
The Fix: Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize. If you have oily skin, the best remedy is actually a heavy moisturizing cream, that will give your skin the hydration it is searching for. More often than not, regular usage of a moisturizer will help give you visibly less oily skin.
5. Skipping Daily Sunscreen
The sun is the number one cause of skin damage. UVA and UVB rays are in contact with your skin anytime you’re not in the shade—even on cloudy days! So many of us associate the use of sunscreen with beaches and pool days, but by skipping sunscreen on a regular basis, we’re doing a tremendous disservice to our skin. UVA rays are forms of long-wave radiation that penetrate deep into the dermis, causing wrinkles, sun spots, and playing a major part in the development of melanoma. UVB rays, on the other hand, are short-wave rays that damage the outermost part of the skin, causing sunburns and also playing a large role in the development of skin cancer.
The Fix: Use sunscreen everyday—and lots of it! Slather on a heavy layer of sunscreen, and make sure that it’s broad spectrum with a minimum SPF of 30, so that you get full coverage from the sun’s harmful rays. It’s the easiest, most effective way to prevent premature aging, and your skin will thank you for it.