Undeniably, the coronavirus pandemic has transformed our lives in many many ways and while we are still trying to find our way through the newly adapted quarantine life, most of us are still relegated to work remotely.
On the other end, the ongoing pandemic has taken the beauty industry by a storm. We’re seeing a growing trend where skincare brands are prioritized (finally) over makeup. In fact, the readership of my skincare posts have catapulted over the last few weeks and that speaks volumes. We’re all finding comfort in our skincare routines.
For some, it has become a soothing ritual, a coping mechanism and for others, simply a way to induce a sense of normalcy into their daily routines.
In today’s blog we’re going to reveal some of the most common mistakes people make in their skincare routines. Check these out and let me know how you score!
10 Common Skincare Mistakes That You’re Probably Making
With most countries now recommending its citizens to cover their faces when out in public places, one thing we are forgetting to apply is sunscreen. The fact that your face is covered for the most part of the day does not limit your ultraviolet exposure. Yes, you might think that now that you’re back to your office you will have minimal exposure to the sun, but remember those tall glass windows don’t necessarily block out all the UV rays.
The reality is, glass filters out only the medium-wavelength UVB rays which do not penetrate beyond the superficial skin layers. As a result, exposure to this wavelength is commonly associated with tanning and all the visible signs of skin burning. However, you are pretty much still exposed to all the UVA rays. The UVA rays, meanwhile are able to penetrate skin deep. And this makes them responsible for most preventable photo-ageing, as well as 35% of skin cancers.
Over-washing your face
When you’re over-cleansing your face, you are stripping your skin of its natural essential oils. This in return may cause your sebum (or oil glands) to go into an overdrive, thereby resulting in acne.
Here’s what I recommend. Opt for gentle gel cleansers that are fragrance free, formulated for sensitive skin, and ones that contain at least 2-3 of known hydrating ingredients. These may include squalene, hyaluronic acid, and/or glycerine. Gentle cleansers will help to get rid of excess makeup and dirt without drying out your skin.
Over-exfoliating your face
When exfoliation is done right, you won’t notice it. But when you’re overdoing it, or are using an overly aggressive technique or even leaving powerful products on for too long, it’s very likely that you will overdo it and over-exfoliate your skin. How to tell if you’ve done that? Besides the irritation, and a feeling of soreness and possibly some redness, other signs include acne breakouts and increased sensitivity to other products in your routine.
To prevent skin damage while exfoliating, the American Academy of Dermatologists have recommended the following tips:
- Consider the skin care products you already use. Some medications and even over-the-counter products may cause your skin to be more sensitive or peel, such as prescription retinoid creams or products containing retinol or benzoyl peroxide. Exfoliating while using these products may worsen dry skin or even cause acne breakouts.
- Select an exfoliation method that suits your skin type. Those with dry, sensitive or acne-prone skin may prefer just a washcloth and a mild chemical exfoliator. Those with oily, thicker skin may want to use stronger chemical treatments or mechanical exfoliation.
- Be gentle to your skin. If you use a scrub or chemical exfoliator, apply the product gently using small, circular motions. Do this for about 30 seconds, and then rinse off with lukewarm water. If you use a brush or sponge, use short light strokes. Never exfoliate if you have open cuts or wounds or if your skin is sunburned.
- Follow with moisturizer. Exfoliating can be drying to the skin. Apply moisturizer immediately after exfoliating to keep your skin healthy and hydrated.
DIY-ing Without Caution
Many DIY ingredients trigger varying degrees of irritation, and irritation is always bad for skin. Irritation causes collagen and the protective layers of skin to breakdown. Abrasive DIY ingredients tear at skin and weaken it, which destroys skin’s ability to fight environmental damage and increases dryness as well as breakouts. The worst ingredients in your home that cause irritation are lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit essential oils, witch hazel and alcohol.
Treating all areas of your skin equally
The goal of any skincare routine is to even out your complexion and troubleshoot or target any areas you want to work on. But before slathering on your products, it is important to understand that different areas of your skin should be treated differently. In simpler words, you need to tailor your skincare according to what your skin needs. For example, use clay or mud masks where you’re oily— there is no need to apply it all over your face. In fact, I love multi-masking: use a clay/mud mask on the t-zone and a hydrating one everywhere else.
Not moisturizing oily skin
Although your sebaceous glands are working overtime to produce more serum, it still needs hydration. In fact, if you have oily skin and are using anti-acne products, chances are you’re drying out your skin. While this may seem counter-intuitive, your anti-acne products if used aggressively can aggravate your acne. Therefore, it is essential to work out a balance between the two.
As a general rule of thumb, opt for weightless serums, fluid-based lotions, or hydrating gels. Avoid harsh drying ingredients and astringents such as alcohol. This includes ethanol, ethyl alcohol, denatured alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol.
Only moisturizing at night
During the daytime your skin is exposed to a variety of environmental aggressors that can harm your skin and cause disruption of its protective barrier. Therefore creams that you apply in the morning are meant to protect your skin and it contains antioxidants to minimize any pollution-based free radicals and some may contain sunscreen to shield you from UV radiation. These typically have a lighter consistency when compared to the night time moisturizers.
Using the same skincare routine everyday
If you find something that works well for you, stick with it. But that comes certain exceptions: your skin needs change over time. You might notice wrinkles, age spots and an overall dryness. The same products that worked 15-20 years ago may not be sufficient to counter-balance the dryness. Thicker moisturizers would work better now because the thinner water-based lotions do little on the retaining moisture front.
Other scenarios that warrant a change in your skincare routine include hormonal changes, related to menstrual cycle or pregnancy. I have written an article on how your skincare needs shifts during menstruation, which you can read here. Similarly, other scenarios where you might need to reconsider changing/rotating your skincare products include: climate changes and skin reactions and sensitivities.
Piling on the products
Identify your skin needs. While your routine does not have to be minimal, make sure that each skincare product on your cabinet serves a specific purpose and function. Don’t just follow the trend. Remember, more products are not necessarily better! You can read here what skincare products you should totally skip from your routine.
Constantly touching your face
We all know this: touching your face is a skin care no-no. But I’m guilty of doing this myself. I do it subconsciously. Regardless, with the on-going pandemic and constantly wearing the mask outdoors, I must say this has reduced greatly.
Are you guilty of making any of these skincare mistakes? Let me know in the comments below. And for more skincare related articles click here.