Skincare is a deeply personal journey and what works for one person may produce completely different results for another. That being said, if you’re at your wit’s end trying to fix a skin issue, consider these common skincare mistakes you might be making and see if it makes sense to incorporate these remedies into your routine. Consider speaking to a dermatologist if your skin woes persist or are more serious, such as hormonal cystic acne.
1. Skipping moisturizer because you have oily skin.
You may think that you don’t need moisturizer since your face produces more oil than BP, but in fact, dehydrated skin can produce even more oil as it’s trying to overcompensate for the lack of moisture. Skip heavy creams and try a light gel-like hydrator Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturizer. It uses hyaluronic acid, a substance which holds 1,000 times its weight in water, to flood the skin with hydration and keep you feeling fresh all day.
2. Not wearing sunscreen every single day.
Many people only wear sunscreen if they’re outside on hot, sunny days, but you really should be wearing at least an SPF of 30 (Sun Protection Factor) every day. Even if it’s cloudy, snowy, or you have dark skin. You may not be able to tell now, but UVA rays slowly break down the bonds in your skin, leading to wrinkles and sun spots, while UVB rays are the ones that burn and tan you. My favorite is Missha’s Mild Essence Sun Milk because it protects from both types of rays, goes great under makeup and doesn’t pill up. Ever since I started wearing SPF every day, I noticed my old acne spots fade away more quickly.
3. You’re over-exfoliating or not exfoliating enough.
Exfoliating helps slough off all the dead skin cells and buildup on your skin, leaving behind softer, smoother and brighter skin. However, doing this too often can leave your skin feeling raw and may even break you out due to stressed skin. Also, step away from the walnut scrubs because the uneven grains can cause microtears in your skin. If you have dry skin, stick to exfoliating once a week and if you have a combination to oily skin, two to three times. Right now, I’ve been using Glossier’s Solution, which is a liquid chemical exfoliator and is not as scary or harsh as it sounds. Gentle enough for once-daily use, Solution uses three different types of acids to remove dead skin, smooth texture and brighten.
4. Not washing your makeup off before bed.
I get it. You come home at 2 a.m. from Aggieville and the last thing on your mind is washing the grime and sweaty makeup off your face. But as you go about your day, daily pollution and dirt will cling to your skin and makeup only traps it in even more. This leads to dull skin and breakouts. At the very least, make sure to keep a pack of makeup wipes next to your bed to remove your makeup. These Equate Beauty Wipes are a super-cheap staple of mine and get the job done. They even get rid of most of my waterproof mascara. (If I’m feeling alive enough, I go in with a cotton pad and micellar water to finish it off.) As long as you don’t make falling asleep in your makeup a habit, you should be fine for now.
5. Not being hands-off.
Touching your face can be such a subconscious thing, but your hands are covered with so much bacteria and oils that resting your head on your hands can result in blemishes. Try to train yourself to be as hands-off as possible or wash your hands before touching your face. Don’t pick at blemishes either because it can inflame the skin, extending your healing time or leaving behind dark spots.
6. Loading up on acne-fighting products.
It can be tempting to attack an unwanted pimple with everything you’ve got, but going in with a salicylic acid cleanser, an acid toner, and acne medication can really dry out your skin. It pays to use a gentler system of a non-offensive cleanser like Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser and a spot treatment. I love these CosRx Acne Patches because you just place them on ripe pimples overnight and they suck out all the gunk onto the sticker. It’s super satisfying in a gross kind of way. I also put them on not-quite-ready pimples to prevent myself from touching them and making them worse.
7. Putting on products in the wrong order.
With exciting new products coming out almost every week and all the skincare information on the Internet at your disposal, it can be easy to stock up on masks, serums, and moisturizers but not know what to do with them. As a general rule, layer products from lightest consistency to heaviest. For example, cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer, and then face oils. This prevents denser products from blocking the absorption of lighter products.