You’ve made efforts to nail down a skincare routine, but your skin is still freaking out. What gives?
The truth is, you might be unintentionally implementing some bad habits into your routine — even if you seemingly have all the right skincare products at your disposal. Robyn Gmyrek, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at UnionDerm, helps us nail down some of the potential flaws you might be making in your regimen and skincare techniques. Here are the most common ways you might not be realizing you’re sabotaging your skin:
Common Skincare Mistake: Layering Too Many Active Ingredients
“I have patients who come in with bags of products. Unfortunately, many of these active ingredients are very unstable and are formulated very carefully by cosmetic chemists to be sure that they maintain their activity. Unless the company has instructed you to layer more than one product, you risk diluting or even negating the effectiveness of each product by layering them together. In addition, they may have very specific pH requirements in order to maintain effectiveness, and combining products with different acidity can also render them ineffective. Some chemicals really shouldn’t be combined together and could cause contact dermatitis or irritation on the skin,” says Gmyrek.
The fix: “If you want to benefit from multiple different skincare ingredients, choose a combination product which has been formulated to maintain effectiveness,” says Gmyrek.
Common Skincare Mistake: Getting Lazy About SPF
Studies show only 11% of Americans use sunscreen every day, yet it’s probably the most single important piece of advice you’ll ever hear from a dermatologist. Though fine lines and hyperpigmentation could be a natural part of aging, UV light accelerates the process.
The fix: “Reapply every two hours, more often if you are swimming or sweating!” she says. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher — even in the winter or when it’s cloudy as UV rays can still impact your skin.
Common Skincare Mistake: Over Exfoliation
While we’d all love to have brighter, clearer, smoother skin, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. “In my experience, [over exfoliating] occurs more frequently in patients with acne because they want their acne to be gone yesterday and feel that they can scrub it away,” says Gmyrek. “It is ineffective and just irritates the skin leading to redness and only temporarily depletes oil in the skin making the skin dry and it responds by producing more oil.”
The fix: “Listen to your skin. Don’t just keep using more and more products if you’re irritated, overdried, or have cracked red skin,” she says. If you’re new to exfoliation, start by using one once or twice a week to see how your skin reacts, or look for super-gentle chemical exfoliating ingredients like the lactic acid in Good Genes that can be used daily.
Common Skincare Mistake: Applying Products in the Wrong Order
It might seem like it doesn’t matter which order you apply your products since they all, in a way, blend together. But, applying products in the incorrect order might make them less effective — or even lead to irritation.
The fix: In general, you want to cleanse, use a toner/essence, then a treatment/serum/oil, moisturizer, and your eye cream. During the morning, your final step will be SPF. Check here for our handy guide.
Common Skincare Mistake: Skimping on Eye Cream
We already know what you’re thinking: I use face cream, so I don’t need an eye product. The skin around our eyes is much thinner and more delicate than the rest of your body and deserves its special TLC. Eye serums are packed with ingredients and concentrations specific to the eye area. Unlike many face moisturizers, eye products go through testing to make sure they won’t irritate your eyes.
The fix: Invest in an eye serum like 5 Stars that’s made with powerful but eye-safe ingredients like retinoid, poppy seed extract, and ceramides to soothe and nurture the eye area.
Common Skincare Mistake: Picking Pimples
Although it might feel satisfying to obliterate a pimple by popping them, it could cause an infection from bacteria on your fingernails as well as scarring if you’re too aggressive with your popping.
You’re also not aware of what’s happening under the skin: As you’re squeezing a pimple, the pressure might be forcing oil and buildup even deeper into your skin, which results in angry and inflamed skin.
The fix: A safer way to care for pimples is treating them, not torturing them. Apply U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil made with potent 1.5% salicylic acid that quickly addresses congested pores and stressed-out skin.
Additional reporting by Christa Lee.
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