Sometimes, you have the best intentions to do a full regimen or make all the right skincare moves but then life happens. Here, we dive into how bad it really is to commit these notorious “skin sins,” and trust us: While you may be able to get away with a select few, there are still some that should remain off-limits.
Meet the Experts
Rachel Day, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist in Pennsylvania.
Deanne Robinson, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist in Connecticut.
1. SKIPPING WASHING YOUR FACE AT NIGHT
Verdict: Not so bad … if it’s done once in a blue moon.
We’ve all been there, a late night out or post-Netflix binge leaves you feeling too tired to wash your face. “It is important to remove the makeup debris to avoid congesting your pores and triggering acne breakouts. If you don’t wear makeup and don’t have obvious grime on your face, occasionally skipping your nightly cleanse is unlikely to be a major deal, says Rachel Day, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Pennsylvania.
Deanne Robinson, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Connecticut, adds, “Sleeping in skincare, sweat, impurities, and makeup is not kind to your skin. You could wake up with dry, irritated skin (makeup can be drying) and even some breakouts.” She explains that our skin follows circadian rhythm: “It depends on the nighttime hours to breathe, repair, and regulate, so over time if you skip washing you’re essentially getting in your own way.” Even though skipping your cleansing routine once in a while is no biggie, this is not something you want to do on the regular. If you forgot to wash, in the AM cleanse well, try a gentle cleanser like Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser, and then restore hydration with hyaluronic acid and moisturizer, and of course follow it up with SPF, says Robinson. We love Sunday Riley Light Hearted Broad Spectrum SPF 30 which contains both SPF and antioxidants.
2. USING FACE WIPES REGULARLY
Verdict: Not so good!
“Face wipes are great for removing makeup, or clearing sweat at the skin’s surface — but they don’t compare to the deeper cleansing abilities of a cleanser,” says Dr. Robinson. Your skin type may also play a part in how often you should rely on wipes. “The ingredients and fragrance in some face wipes can be irritating to those with sensitive skin with consistent and repeated exposure,” says Dr. Day. For patients with very sensitive skin, she recommends water mists to remove dirt and sweat after a workout. Oil cleansing is a soothing and effective way to remove makeup easily in patients with very sensitive skin. “Wipes don’t loosen impurities in the pores, and they most likely won’t penetrate the oils at the skin’s surface to reach the deeper skin structures,” explains Dr. Robinson.
3. APPLYING TOOTHPASTE ON A PIMPLE
Verdict: Don’t do it!
“Toothpaste has a pH level that can cause irritation to healthy skin — you can get overly dry from the baking soda (commonly found) and irritated from the fragrance/flavoring. Essentially this strategy can increase irritation and inflammation, which is the opposite of what you want on a pimple,” explains Dr. Robinson. Instead, look for pore-unclogging ingredients like salicylic acid, found in Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra Acne Clarifying Face Oil to treat blemish-prone areas.
4. POPPING PIMPLES
Verdict: Pretty bad, but we think you already know that this one is a no-go!
“A pimple represents our bodies trying to manage inflammation triggered by pro-inflammatory bacteria, excess oil and skin cell buildup in our hair follicles,” says Dr. Day. “When we squeeze pimples, we are traumatizing the skin and adding to the inflammatory environment.” She notes popping pimples can actually make the breakout worse. “It allows the bacteria that was localized around the hair follicle to be leached into the surrounding areas making pimples wider, redder, and increasing the risk of permanent scarring.” She recommends applying a concentrated benzoyl peroxide spot treatment or calling your dermatologist ASAP to get in for a localized steroid injection to bring down the inflammation safely.
5. SKIPPING EYE CREAM
Verdict: It’s totally okay to skip the eye cream!
“Eye cream is another opportunity to hydrate a delicate area of skin which helps minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles related to dehydrated skin. Using your regular moisturizer all over can be just as effective,” says Dr. Day. Just be mindful of active ingredients as they may not be suited for more delicate areas of the skin. “Retinoids and retinols that are okay on other parts of the face can be really irritating to the delicate under-eye area. I would not use your routine retinoid/retinol in place of a tested eye cream with retinol.” Try Sunday Riley’s retinol-infused eye serum, which is specifically designed for the gentle eye area: 5 Stars Retinoid + Niacinamide Eye Serum.
6. GETTING A BASE TAN
Verdict: Please skip this one and slather on the self-tanner instead.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, tanning before the age of 35 increases your risk of developing melanoma by up to 75%! “The tan that you get from tanning beds does not protect your skin from a sunburn or help with vitamin D synthesis. Worst of all, tanning beds accelerate skin aging,” says Dr. Day. She adds, “tanning beds are a lose-lose. I advocate for safe, fun outside in our natural environment. It’s good for both our mental and physical health.”
7. WASHING HAIR ONCE A WEEK
Washing once a week might be fine based on how oily your scalp is and the texture of your hair strands, says Dr. Robinson. However, be wary of loading up on dry shampoo every single day for a whole week. “Using dry shampoo too frequently might cause issues like scalp dryness, folliculitis, and seborrheic dermatitis — most dry shampoos contain alcohol or starch, which are very drying,” she says. Using dry shampoo frequently often leads to buildup on the scalp which can inflame and obstruct hair follicles, inhibiting healthy growth. Try applying dry shampoo towards the end of your blowout cycle instead of on day 2.
8. SKIPPING SPF SOME DAYS
Verdict: Hear us loud and clear on this one: Rain or shine, you always want to apply a broad spectrum SPF 30.
“Wearing SPF everyday is the most protective thing you can do for your skin. It protects against UV damage which causes skin damage/cancers and also skin aging,” says Dr. Robinson. Furthermore, even if you’re just sitting in front of a computer, depending on the SPF used, “You are also protecting against HEV blue light, environmental toxins, infrared radiation, pollution … which can also accelerate skin aging, break down collagen, and cause pigmentation,” adds Robinson.
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