It seems like every week, we’re hearing about new skin care mistakes to avoid. But a week later, there’s a new skin care tip we’re told to follow that somehow conflicts with the one from the week before. How confusing! But no worries. I’ve chatted up my dermatologist and the girls at my favorite local spa, and compiled this go-to list of skin care mistakes to avoid, each of them tried and true and written in stone, this week and next, and next...
1. Not Applying Sunscreen
I’ll be blunt: the big Kahuna of all the skin care mistakes to avoid is forgetting to apply sunscreen. Why? Simply put, it can kill you at worst, and leave you with mortifying wrinkles and sun spots at best. Even on cloudy days, pamper and protect your skin with a good SPF designed for your face, and reapply throughout the day. Tan isn’t sexy — it’s the first sign of skin damage that may eventually kill you. Skin cancer is the number one cancer killer of young women, but we keep hitting the tanning bed and basking in the sun unprotected because we think it looks good. That’s like saying you look cool holding a cigarette, so who cares about lung cancer? Only lung cancer will kill you later; skin cancer could kill you before you’re 30.
Did you know what the girls at the spa told me is the biggest skin care mistake they see, right after forgetting sunscreen? Over-exfoliating! I was so surprised! They said that we’ve gone crazy with exfoliating, scrubbing away skin cells that are trying to heal and grow right along with the dead, dry skin we’re trying to slough away. It’s best, they say, to exfoliate no more than once a week, because this gives the baby-new skin cells a chance to grow, and your skin time to replenish and rehydrate. Over-exfoliation can cause wrinkles, dry skin, and even scarring. Yikes!
3. Sleeping in Makeup
Want to wake up with gorgeous, glowing skin? Then take off your makeup before bed! I’ll tell you more about this later, but your skin uses the time you’re sleeping to renew itself, and if you’re wearing makeup while your skin is trying to do this, it’ll cause blemishes and dry, dull skin. That’s the opposite of what we want! So before bed, gently wash away your makeup and be sure to use a night-time moisturizer, too.
4. Not Getting Enough Sleep!
Remember when I said your skin renews itself while you’re sleeping? It’s true! That’s why it’s so important to get your 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. Suddenly the “beauty sleep” expression makes sense!
5. Not Feeding It Properly
If you eat junk food all the time, you’re robbing your skin of the antioxidants and other nutrients it needs to stay healthy and happy. Your diet habits will show themselves on your pretty face: eat well, and you’ll have gorgeous skin; eat poorly, and your chips-and-candy diet will show, too!
We’ve all been there: you’ve got clear, flawless skin for the entire week before a big date, but the morning of, you wake up with a pimple that’s so obnoxious, it has its own meme. You’ll be tempted to blast that thing to oblivion with all of the anti-blemish products in your arsenal, or worse, pick at it, but restrain yourself. Use a witch hazel compress and resist picking at it, and it’ll fade on its own. If you have to, cover it with a thin layer of green-tinted concealer (the green negates the red blemish) and a light dusting of powder, and ignore it. Over-treating the blemish will just irritate your skin, and picking it will cause the oil to spread, and leave you with a nasty scab that’s a lot harder to conceal than a tiny little pimple.
7. Using the Wrong Products
When I was a teenager, I thought my pimples were caused by oily skin, so I used all of the products I could to try and dry it out… which, because I was actually suffering from dry skin, only made matters worse. Time out! Once my skin got completely unmanageable, I saw a dermatologist, and she told me that I had severely dry skin, and she suggested a non-oily moisturizer. Two weeks later, I had clear, glowing skin, so I know first-hand how important it is to use the right products for your skin type. Experiment with your regimen until you find what works best for you; for me, it’s a warm-water-on-a-clean-cloth wash followed by Josie Maran argan oil. If you’re not sure what you need, visit your local skin care queen, like a dermatologist or facials expert at the spa, to find out.
Goodness, that’s a lot to remember, but now that you’ve read it once, it’ll stick in your head, and you’ll have and keep your happy, healthy skin forever. Which of these skin care mistakes have you made? Or is there another skin sin you’re guilty of? Please share!