Whether you spend just 30 seconds every morning or have a dedicated pre-bedtime ritual, practically everyone has a skincare routine. And while we all have the best intentions when it comes to taking care of our complexion, we sometimes sabotage our skin without realizing it. Your daily habits make a major difference when it comes to preventing damage and premature aging.
1. Leaving skin bare for longer than 60 seconds after cleansing.
After cleansing, you must immediately use an alcohol-free toner and moisturizer. If you leave your skin bare for more than one minute, it will start to dehydrate as the dry air sucks moisture out of the skin. Perform your skin care routine quickly, and be sure to always leave your toner damp on the skin. This will leave your skin protected and avoid the tight and dry feeling.
2. Not using products formulated for your skin type.
The reason you may not see improved results with your skincare products is that they aren’t suited for your skin’s unique needs. Find out what type of skin a product is formulated for. And if “all skin types” is the answer, proceed with caution. If you’re truly looking for results, it’s imperative that you use products exclusively formulated for the unique needs of your skin.
3. Caring for your blemishes—the wrong way.
Most people will breakout at certain periods in their life, and where they often go wrong is how they treat a blemish once it appears—picking at it, applying spot treatments at the wrong phase of the breakout, and using the wrong treatments on the wrong kinds of blemishes. All of these will result in a blemish lasting longer and leaving a post-breakout red or dark scar than can linger for months. If it’s a pustular blemish, once the whitehead is truly visible, gently squeeze out the infection with your finger and then apply a spot-drying treatment, which will work its way into the skin and eradicate any infection once the infection has been manually removed. If it’s a cystic blemish, which mainly occur in the chin and jaw areas, it is important to remember that cysts will never rise to the surface of the skin. This means no picking!
4. Using too many exfoliating products too often.
These days, when it comes to skincare products, if it’s not burning or stinging then people think it’s not working. In the quest to look younger and have smoother skin, people are doing too many aggressive exfoliating treatments that are actually injuring their skin. Too much exfoliation can cause a damaged moisture barrier, resulting in flaking, dehydration and inflammation, possible destruction of healthy cells, and a stimulation of melanin activity causing increased hyperpigmentation. Physical exfoliants such as facial scrubs (use ones with round grains) or facial brushes should be used no more than two or three times a week. Chemical exfoliants (including acid serums such as glycolic) should be used three nights on, three nights off.
5. Not wearing sunscreen daily and not applying enough.
The number one reason why your skin will age prematurely is from sunlight, daylight and UV rays—period. And 78% of those rays come from incidental exposure. These are all the times when you don’t think you’re getting the damaging rays, like driving in the car, sitting in your home or office near windows, or walking outside on a cloudy winter day when people don’t feel like they need sun protection. If you want to prevent wrinkles, wearing sunscreen 365 days a year, rain or shine, inside or out, is a must.
6. Using alcohol-based toners or skipping them entirely.
Toners are an important step in a skin care regimen and should be used daily. The mistake people make if they are actually using one is it’s often loaded with alcohol, which will only dehydrate the skin and cause an increase in dull cell buildup. If you’re not using one, it’s usually because you notice that it leaves the skin feeling dry, so you’ll skip it completely and miss out on important skin benefits. Alcohol-free toners should be used after every cleansing because they give your skin a drink of moisture when left damp on the skin before applying moisturizer, they remove drying chlorines and minerals found in tap water, and because damp skin is 10 times more permeable than dry skin. When left damp they can carry the active ingredients of your serum and moisturizer deeper within the skin.
7. Washing your skin with bar soap.
If you wash with a bar of soap—no matter how much you paid for it—you immediately strip your skin of all its water, which instantly creates dead skin cell buildup. Then you have to quickly put moisturizer on to put back exactly what you just took out. The binders that hold a bar of soap together have a high pH balance, making it too drying for most skin types. But they also reverse the benefits from any exfoliants that you’re using (AHA’s, BHA’s and facial scrubs) since those are intended to remove dry skin cells. Bar soaps are a no-no, so look for mild, sulfate-free, soap-free gel cleansers.
8. Overusing moisturizer.
Adding multiple coats of moisturizer to alleviate dry skin is not the same as switching to a creamier consistency. Using thicker coats of moisturizer will only result in clogged pores and a waste of product because your skin can only absorb so much.
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