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30 Skincare Mistakes to Stop Making Right Now
Your skincare regimen is on point. You’ve been practicing it for years, and you’ve got it down to a science. . . . . . for the most part.
But, are you doing things in your skincare routine that could be hurting more than helping?
In the wide world of skincare, we’ve all missed a step or had a blemish blunder.
“I’ll wash my face in the morning.”
“I probably don’t need moisturizer today.”
“Sunscreen is just for summer.” (Spoiler alert: Sunscreen is for every day.)
I’m with ya, ladies. As a busy, working mom of two little ones, there have definitely been a few moments when I didn’t give it my all when it came to my skincare. But, we need to remember to do our best when taking care of our skin and avoid the pitfalls that can lead to breakouts and unhealthy skin habits!
Here are some of the most common skincare mistakes and what you can do to stop making them and start taking care of the skin you’re in!
1. Wearing Your Makeup to Bed
Let’s get right to it and address skincare faux pas numero uno. Not only can makeup clog pores and cause blemishes while you sleep, it also holds onto free radicals you encounter throughout the day which can damage skin and cause wrinkles. Always wash your face before it hits your pillow. If you wear heavier makeup, use a good makeup remover or pre-cleanse at the end of the day to leave your face squeaky clean. For a more gentle everyday cleanser, the Alana Mitchell Foaming Pumpkin Cleanser is perfect for getting rid of the everyday grime on your skin, while restoring your pH levels – eliminating the need for a toner!
Pro Tip: If you’re not in a position to do a full face wash (say, camping), at the very least, give your face a quick wipedown with some cleansing wipes or, an oldie-but-goodie, wet washcloth.
2. Not Wearing Sunscreen
If you’ve spent any time here, you know that I’m always lovingly reminding my readers to wear daily SPF! Sun damage is the number one cause of skin aging, not to mention the risks of skin cancer. And, sunscreen’s not only for when you’re lounging poolside, it includes cloudy and non-summer days too. Every. Day.
Make sure you’re not just relying on SPF makeup, which usually doesn’t include sufficient UV blockers. My go-to for daily protection is this multitasking tinted moisturizer with SPF 30. It gives me light coverage to even skin tone, hydration, and protection so I can apply it in the morning and know I’m good to go!
3. Treating Blemishes the Wrong Way
It can be super tempting to pick at your face or pop a pimple, but when you try to attack a blemish with squeezing or picking, it can lead to redness, inflammation, scarring, or even drive the infection deeper into your pore. Instead, apply a spot treatment that includes salicylic acid to battle blemishes. In the meantime, resist the urge to pick!
4. Not Exfoliating
A gentle exfoliator removes dead skin cells to leave you with cleaner pores and glowing, healthy skin. If you’ve avoided exfoliation in the past because you found it too harsh or abrasive, you should know there are different types of exfoliation.
- Physical exfoliants use granules of various sizes to - you guessed it - physically scrub away dirt and dead skin.
- Chemical exfoliants use ingredients, such as glycolic acid, to lift dead skin and hyperpigmentation.
- Enzyme exfoliators utilize natural enzymes to break down the dead skin cell layer and encourage healthy new cell growth. These natural enzymes can be found in pineapple, papaya, and pumpkin. Coming soon: my rejuvenating pumpkin mask! Stay tuned!
Over-scrubbing won’t make your skin look more glowing or youthful. Using harsh exfoliants or scrubbing too hard can injure your skin’s delicate surface. Instead, use a gentle exfoliant 1-3 times a week. And, if you’re using retinol products, you can try a mild scrub, like one that is rice powder-based, to remove some of the dead skin that retinol can leave behind. If you’re having a hard time finding the balance between exfoliating, the Alana Mitchell 4-in-1 Cleansing Pod may be the answer to your issue. The 4-in-1 Cleansing Pod acts as the perfect exfoliator, all while acting as a masque, sponge, and cleanser!
6. In Fact, Overusing All Your Products
“More is more” does not apply when it comes to skincare. For instance, if you have dry skin, adding more moisturizer won’t help since your skin can only absorb so much. Instead, switch to a richer formula specifically for dry skin. Make sure you’re following the product label’s instructions, especially when it comes to cleansers or anything that can irritate skin or strip it of natural oils.
7. Using the Wrong Products for Your Skin Type
Do you have oily skin? Dry skin? Combo skin? It’s important to use products that are formulated for your specific skin type so you get max benefits out of your skincare routine. This is especially important if you have sensitive or easily-irritated skin. Make sure you’re using items for your skin type to keep skin healthy! If you're having a hard time figuring out what to use for your specific skin type, the Alana Mitchell Daily Vitamin C Moisturizer might just be what you're looking for. It is ideal for ALL skin types, but especially beneficial for dry, combination, and sensitive skin types!
8. Ignoring Labels
While you’re shopping for the right formulas for your skin, take a look at the product’s label. You not only want to make sure you’re avoiding not-so-good-for-you ingredients like parabens, phthalates, and sulfates, you also want to ensure that the product you’re buying includes elements that will help your skin. Check out my in-depth breakdown of how to find the right skin-boosting ingredients here.
9. Touching Your Face
Do you ever notice that one area of your face breaks out or has more blackheads? Constantly touching your face can transfer bacteria and pore-clogging dirt from your hands to your skin. Other offenders include your cell phone and sunglasses, which can be germy and covered with oil and makeup from your face. Wipe your phone and sunnies down regularly with sanitizing wipes, and pay attention to face-touching habits such as resting your chin on your hand or rubbing your forehead.
10. Not Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes
Your makeup brushes can host a party of bacteria, and you’re putting them on your face. The critters that live in makeup brushes can cause acne, rashes, and bacterial infections and commonly include staphylococcus and streptococcus which are responsible for staph infections!
Clean your brushes at least once a week with an antibacterial soap or baby shampoo. Between full brush baths, spritz them with a handy brush cleaner to keep brushes fluffy and purified.
11. Neglecting Your Neck
Skincare shouldn’t stop at your jawline. The skin on your neck is thinner and can dry out easier, which means it’s more prone to sagging and wrinkles. Extend your cleansing, toning and moisturizing down your neck and your décolletage. This especially includes applying your daily SPF!
12. Not Washing Your Hands First
Lots of people skip this step and dive into washing their face with germy hands. Your hands touch everything and can be covered with dirt, bacteria, and oils which you can then transfer to your skin, so scrub up before you start on your face. And, if you use a washcloth, make sure and replace it with a fresh one each time. No reusing!
13. Leaving Skin Bare After Cleansing
After your face is all clean and refreshed, don’t wait to follow up with a skin-nourishing moisturizer so you can lock in moisture while skin is still hydrated. If you skip it, your skin will dry out as it dries leaving behind wrinkles and a dull complexion. Hydrated skin is happy skin! For extra hydration try my Alana Mitchell Hyaluronic Moisture Boost Serum!
14. Applying Products in the Wrong Order
There actually is a right way to layer your products if you want to maximize their benefits. A good rule of thumb is work thinnest to thickest in product texture. After using cleanser and toner, serum would follow, then moisturizer and lastly eye cream! Wait a few minutes to allow them to absorb into skin, then follow up with an SPF for AM. For PM, remember to use a rich, nighttime moisturizer to get the most from your body’s natural restore and repair state.
15. Using the Same Products Year Round
If you’re not switching up your skincare with seasons, start paying attention to how your skin reacts throughout the year. Can’t get enough moisture in fall and winter? More oily in the summer? Consider using different products to address your skin if it changes throughout the year.
16. Not Moisturizing Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, you may think it already has enough hydration, or that wearing a moisturizer will just add to the problem. Not so! When your skin senses that it’s dry, it actually produces more oil to protect itself which can lead to blemishes and excess oil. Look for an oil-free or mattifying moisturizer to keep skin hydrated and balanced.
17. Skimping on Skin-friendly Foods
I like to indulge in a sweet treat as much as the next gal, but it’s important to make sure we’re eating a balanced diet that includes a lot of yummy, vitamin-rich foods that will nourish our skin. Vitamins, (especially A, C, and E), antioxidants and minerals help build clear, healthy skin, and dermatologists agree diet is the best way to get them! You can read more about my favorite foods for beautiful skin here.
18. Forgetting to Hydrate
I’m not just talking about moisturizer, I’m talking about drinking enough water so that we’re hydrated from the inside out. When you’re dehydrated, it shows up on your skin in the form of fine lines, blemishes, irritation and a dull complexion. And, yes, even oily skin can be dehydrated! Use this handy dandy hydration calculator to know how much water you should be drinking. Double down on your hydration benefits by infusing water with vitamin and antioxidant-rich fruits or refreshing herbs!
While smoking presents a myriad of health concerns, it also does a number on your skin. When you smoke, you constrict blood flow and circulation and release a flood of free radicals into your body, which results in a breakdown of collagen and leads to wrinkles and premature aging. Not to mention those pesky lines you get from constantly pursing your lips. Smoking also weakens your immune system which inhibits skin’s ability to heal. Quit already! Your skin - and body - will thank you.
20. Not Sticking With a Skincare Routine
As a busy mom, I know family, work, or just being plain ol’ tired can interrupt your routine, but practicing regular skincare is one of the best things we can do to ensure healthy, clear skin. Plus, some products can take a few weeks to show results and require regular application. Make sure you’re taking time for yourself to take care of your skin on the reg!
21. Wearing Your Makeup While Working Out
While exercising regularly is great, wearing your makeup to the gym is not. I know, you already feel self-conscious enough working out in front of strangers without having to do so barefaced. But, all that makeup and sweat can clog pores and cause breakouts. If you’re hitting the gym straight from work, use cleansing cloths to wipe away makeup before enjoying your sweat sesh.
22. Not Washing Up Post-sweat
A good workout not only leaves behind sweat, it also creates a breeding ground for bacteria on your skin which can lead to rashes and breakouts. This is exacerbated if you wear tight clothing which can trap pore-cloggers against skin (hello, bacne and buttne!). If you can’t hit the showers, at least do a face wash and wipe down areas on your body where sweat and bacteria are most prevalent.
23. Waiting Too Long to Use Anti-Aging Products
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If you’re old enough to vote, you’re old enough to use anti-aging products. Most people start seeing signs of aging show up in their 20’s. Don’t wait to treat things like wrinkles, fine lines, sagging and hyperpigmentation. Prevent them before they start or become more apparent! A good anti-aging moisturizer and eye cream will keep skin looking youthful for years to come!
24. Washing Your Face With Hot Water
Super hot water can strip your face of natural oils and compromise the acid mantle - your skin’s protective layer - leaving skin vulnerable to damage. Instead, cleanse with warm to tepid water, which is totally sufficient for getting skin clean, and follow up with a moisturizer to restore skin’s hydration.
25. Using Bar Soap on Your Face
Regular bar soap typically has a high pH balance which can strip the moisture from your delicate face. The rest of your body can stand up to the cleansing power of bar soap, but using a cleanser formulated for your face will make sure it stays hydrated and balanced!
26. Washing Your Face Before Your Hair in the Shower
When you rinse your hair in the shower, dirt, oil and product residue and run down and clog pores causing acne on your face, chest, and shoulders. It’s a good idea to wait until after you’ve rinsed your hair to lather up your face to avoid blemishes.
27. Not Getting Your Beauty Rest
When you forego much-needed shut-eye, it can wreak havoc on your face. We’ve all seen ourselves after an all-nighter. The dark circles. The puffy eyes. The pale, tired complexion. Our skin also uses our sleep time to heal itself. Shoot for a minimum 8 hours per night, or try to catch naps (even a 15 minute one helps!). I found that downloading an app with sound-blocking white noise helped me catch up on sleep after having both of my babies. I’m also a big fan of the sleep mask to help get some zzzzzz’s!
28. Not Washing Your Pillowcase
While you sleep, your pillowcase accumulates dirt, oil, and residue from your face and hair, and that gets all up in your pores. Make sure to cleanse your face before you hit the sheets. And, change or wash your pillowcase at least once a week, or more frequently if you have oily skin or are prone to allergies and skin irritations.
If you have a skin concern, don’t turn to the internet. Chances are you’re either going to get inaccurate information or a nightmare of worst-case-scenarios (often accompanied by images you’ll never unsee). Talk to your doc or dermatologist to find out what’s really going on and get the best plan of action for treatment.
30. Ditching Your Annual Skin Screening
Over 8,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the U.S. every day, so it’s super important to stay on top of your skin health by doing an annual mole check and skin cancer screening. Your regular doctor can perform one, or you can find a free skin cancer screening near you. Take regular stock of moles to note changes, and make sure to point out any spots you have questions or concerns about. It may seem like just one more appointment to fit into your schedule, but it could save your life! And, in the meantime, wear your SPF!
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We all make mistakes or have slip-ups when it comes to skincare, but your skin is with you all your life, so you might as well treat it right. Practicing a good skincare routine - and doing it regularly - will ensure that your skin is as beautiful as it can be.
As long as you do your best to take care of your skin each day, it will take care of you!
How have you fixed some of your skincare slip-ups? Share your tips with us in the comments section!