6 Common Skincare Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Get better skin isn’t as complicated as flashy skincare trends might lead you to believe. Clear, blemish-free skin doesn’t require you to spend a fortune on plastic surgery, injections, or 25 Step Skin Care Regimens. While the nature of your skin is partly down to genetics, your skincare routine can really make a noticeable difference.

But you may be unwittingly sabotaging your chances of getting glowing skin if these habits are working against you. Luckily, when you know what you’re doing wrong, you can form better habits.

Below are the top mistakes two dermatologists see they make all the time that could damage your skin. (You should also check out the best face moisturizers and the best sunscreens for faces of the year).

Read also: Want better skin? Here’s where to start

1. Not washing your face before bed

When you’re really tired, it’s tempting not to wash your face when all you want to do is go to bed. But it is not a good idea for your skin, especially if you wear to put on makeup. According to dermatologist Amie Sessa, this is one of the worst mistakes you can make with your complexion.

Just as bad? “Use makeup remover wipes as your daily face wash. You should use them in a pinch, but not as your usual washing method,” Sessa says.

Read more: Best face wash for 2022

2. Overexfoliating with harsh scrubs

It’s easy to go crazy with exfoliating scrubs, especially when your skin is dry or parched. But that could do more harm than good. “Exfoliation can cause tiny tears in the skin and can alter the skin’s normal skin barrier,” said Caren Campbella board-certified dermatologist.

Exfoliation is always important, in moderation. But instead of a hard scrub, you can try an acid-based chemical exfoliator like AHA and/or BHA. “I prefer chemical exfoliants over mechanical exfoliants like AHA/BHA. But those are often overused in younger patients who don’t need them,” Campbell said. She recommends using them only a few times a week if you have dry, flaky skin or are over 40.

Exfoliating scrub smear on yellow background

Exfoliating scrubs can be nice, but they can be too harsh on your facial skin.

Shana Novak/Getty Images

3. Skip the daily sunscreen

You really have need sunscreen every day – yes, even when it’s cloudy, raining or snowing. Sun exposure causes sun spots, skin damage and can lead to skin cancer – and you don’t have to be at the beach to be too exposed. According to Sessa, it’s best to use a daily moisturizing sunscreen combo and make sure it has at least an SPF of 30.

4. Choose your skin

You may not even realize you are doing it, but constantly scratching the skin can cause irritation, inflammation of the skin, and the spread of bacteria. Going too far with this can lead to scarring and even breaking out, as your hands usually have a good amount of bacteria. If it’s a nervous habit, try breaking it by keeping your hands busy with something else.

Open tanning bed

Using a tanning bed puts you at a much higher risk of skin cancer.

Shannon M. Lutman/Getty Images

5. Use tanning beds

You know how you’re supposed to wear sunscreen? Well, using a tanning bed regularly is even worse than forgetting your daily sunscreen. “Tanning beds will increase your risk of melanoma and make your skin leathery and age prematurely,” Sessa said.

Instead, you can use a spray tan or a bronzer that does not involve UV rays.

6. Use essential oils on your face

Essential oils may be all the rage, but it turns out they might not be great directly on your skin.

“I’m not saying any of them are safe, but essential oils are often extremely concentrated and can cause skin reactions. ‘Natural’ doesn’t always equal good for the skin – the Poison ivy is natural too!” Sessa said. Campbell agreed, saying that many essential oils are a cause of contact skin allergies. She recommends avoiding them (and other scents in products) if you experience a rash or irritation.

Learn more about skin care

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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