Skipping sunscreen on a gray winter day or flopping into bed with your makeup on is unlikely to do any real harm, but too many lapses in your beauty judgment could lead to signs of age. The flip side? Taking a few minutes a day for smart skin care can prevent years’ worth of wrinkles, brown spots, and more.
1. Washing with harsh cleansers
Many people who are prone to pimples or have oily skin gravitate toward exfoliators and cleansers that dry things out. In theory, this seems like a good idea, but they actually strip the skin of all its good oils and diminish its own natural protective barrier, explains Noelle Herzog, brand president of Karin Herzog skincare. This actually accelerates oil production and will increase breakouts.
2. Using products in jars
Anti-aging products contain antioxidants, which break down with repeated exposure to light and air. “Jar packaging lets that occur with each use,” says Bryan Barron, research and content director for NextShe.com. “So your anti-aging products become less and less effective.” He suggests using tube-packaged products.
3. Skimping on sleep
We all know how a good night’s rest can benefit our energy levels, metabolism, and mood. But, it also has a great effect on our skin, even beyond those dark, under-eye circles, explains Dennis Gross MD, the creator of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare. “When the skin is getting less than optimum fuel, it can become dull and pale,” he says. “Lack of sleep can be so stressful that it actually causes our bodies, including our skin, to generate free radicals.”
4. Using cotton pillowcases
Persistently pressing your face into a pillow (especially if you are getting your eight hours) can cause trauma to your skin, including permanent creases as our collagen breaks down. Gross suggests swapping out your cotton pillow for satin or silk as they cause less friction. Also, pillowcases accumulate a buildup of residue, so if you’re acne-prone you should try to wash your sheets once a week.
5. Talking on the phone too much
No, we would never say you can’t talk on the phone – but speaker phone may be a better option. Your cell gathers bacteria on its surface, so while it’s important to clean it often, it’s actually the pressure on your face (from any object) that traps oil in and causes zits.
6. Going to bed with your makeup on
Gross says one of the biggest mistakes women make is not properly cleansing and removing makeup at night. This clogs oil glands and impacts your makeup into your pores, which makes them appear larger. When your collagen levels decline as you get older, your pores will not snap back after becoming enlarged. Additionally, leftover makeup can lead to inflammation, which can generate free radicals and lead to breakouts.
7. Using too many products
We all have our beauty routine, or are trying to find the right one. But you may be using too many active products at once, tipping the scales toward irritation rather than being beneficial. “If your skin has become sensitive, red, or flaky, chances are you’re overdoing it,” says Barron. He suggests alternating a soothing product every other day with your peels, retinoids, and active serums.
8. Applying products out of order
One of the keys to getting the maximum benefit from your skincare regimen is to apply products from thin to thick consistency after you cleanse, i.e. toner, serum, cream. Heavier products can block lighter-weight ones from penetrating the skin and doing their job, says Gross.
9. Popping pimples
When a dermatologist drains a pimple, he or she will apply downward pressure perpendicularly to the skin’s surface, explains Gross. But when people try to do it themselves, they usually squeeze from the side, which causes the infection to go deeper – a major backfire that can permanently enlarge pores. “However tempting it may be to pop a pimple, try to resist,” says Gross. “If the temptation is too much, try washing your face with a clean washcloth. If the pimple is ready to ‘pop,’ this is all the pressure needed to drain it.”