Common skincare mistakes to avoid and why

Do you feel like trashing your skincare products and starting all over because they seem ineffective? Perhaps, you are making a few skincare mistakes that, when avoided, your skin might have an expected turn-around.

Skincare routine: A white woman smiling while washing her face

Key takeaways:

  • Different things work for different skin types, so pay attention to what works for you. 
  • Never underestimate what sunscreen can do to your routine. Other common skincare mistakes to avoid include using physical exfoliators, cleansing more than twice a day, and using too many products.
  • Be consistent with your skincare routine. 

Many people want to jump on the skincare bandwagon, but it also gets rough when what seems to work for others, for some reason you cannot explain, has proven ineffective for you. 

But the first thing on your mind should not be to discard the products, because that might not solve anything. 

There are rules for skincare, and the rules determine the results you achieve when using a particular routine. 

Therefore, if you want to get maximum benefits from your routine, be sure to avoid certain skincare mistakes.

Some common skincare mistakes to avoid include:

1. Not knowing your skin type

Your skin type is the first thing to consider before investing in a skincare routine.

Most people have not realized that different things work for different skin types—what works for oily or acne-prone skin may not work for a sensitive skin type. 

If you do not know your skin type, you can ask your dermatologist for assistance in figuring that out.

2. Using physical exfoliators

Vendors of skincare products sell a variety of products, including physical exfoliators, with claims that they help smoothen the skin. If you have ever had the urge to use those grainy particles on your face with the intention of unclogging pores and removing dead skin cells, then this might be your cue to stop. 

The skin on your face is delicate and should be handled with extra care, so the products used on it should not be harsh.

Physical exfoliators look good and smell lovely until you realize they damage your skin barrier and cause bruises, making your skin prone to infections and acne. 

You should consider using chemical exfoliators instead because they are safer for the skin barrier and more efficient. 

3. Cleansing more than twice a day

Cleansing can be therapeutic because of how soft and fresh it keeps the face, so it is easy to fall prey to over-cleansing. 

Dermatologists advise that cleansing the face twice a day is ideal and sufficient because over-cleansing can strip your face of moisture, disrupt healthy sebum production, and make you prone to acne.

So, when next you feel like over-cleaning your face, remember the risks. 

4. Not applying sunscreen

Sunscreens are underestimated, but those little tubes can cause a drastic shift in your whole routine—in a positive way.

The benefits of sun protection lotions cannot be overemphasized, especially when using products that are sensitive to sunlight. 

Apart from protecting the skin from sunlight, they can reduce the signs of aging, the risk of skin cancer, and the appearance of spots. 

For maximum protection, consider sunscreens with SPF 50 because they provide up to 98% protection from the sun. 

5. Sleeping with make-up on

Make it a habit to take off your make-up before bedtime; your skin will thank you for it in the morning. 

Make-up products are comedogenic, which means they clog pores and can cause acne if left for too long, and you don't want your month-long skincare journey to go down the drain because of this simple habit. 

Dermatologists recommend that, after a long day, you double cleanse your face with an oil-based cleanser and a mild foaming cleanser.

6. Using too many products

In skin care, quality is preferred over quantity; it's not about how much but how well the products will work.   

Using many products on the face can cause irritations and affect your skin's barrier, which is every skincare enthusiast's nightmare. 

Although layering is good, you must not use every product; if you do, be smart about it and use it at different times. 

And as you layer, you need to understand that some products, although very effective, do not work hand-in-hand with others. 

If you don't know which product to drop, replace, or use together, you can get professional advice from a skincare expert. 

7. Sleeping on a cotton pillow

Cotton is a natural material that absorbs moisture and oils from your skin and hair, which can make you prone to acne and other skin issues. 

As simple as a sleeping pillow is, that might be the thing you need to switch up. 

Instead of a cotton pillow, you can use a silk pillow; It is preferable because it absorbs fewer oils and traps less dirt from the skin and hair, making it the best option for acne-prone skin.

8. Using retinol in the daytime

Many skincare enthusiasts are raving about the benefits of this holy grail—retinol. But what most people forget to mention are the rules guiding this product. 

Retinols are beneficial to the skin, but they are only meant for nighttime use—this is because they make your skin more sensitive to UV rays, and sunlight reduces the efficacy of this product. 

Therefore, to get the maximum benefits of retinol, use it only at night, and don't forget to wear sun protection in the mornings.

To incorporate retinol into your routine, consult a dermatologist to prescribe a suitable one for your skin as well as guide you on how often you should apply it in a week. They often advise against using retinol products every night.

9. Using products infused with alcohol (moisture-stripping products)

Years ago, it was a skincare trend to consider stripping products as the real deal, but now that we are more enlightened, that is not the case anymore. 

Alcohol is not an ingredient you want sitting on your skin because it will strip your skin of its moisture and harm your skin barrier.  

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, alcohol or stripping products will not help your skin. Instead, hydrating products that contain hyaluronic acid and ceramides will help your skin a lot. 

So this is a perfect time to discard those drying products on your shelf. 

10. Being inconsistent with your routine

Sometimes, when using a product, you might not see a significant result within the first week or month. 

But don't be impatient and discard or stop the product because the results are not satisfying. It is often best to be consistent with the routine and give it some time to work. 

Skincare often does not provide fast results; rather, it requires some patience. 

Ingredients to avoid in skincare

When buying skincare products, avoid the ones that contain these ingredients:

  • Synthetic Fragrance 
  • Oxybenzone
  • PEGs
  • Parabens
  • Aluminium
  • Mineral oil
  • Formaldehyde
  • Dyes

These ingredients are contained in certain products but should be avoided because they can trigger skin irritations and allergies, while some have been proven to cause some health issues like gene instability and nerve damage.

When to speak with a doctor

After you work on these skincare mistakes and you still don't see a significant result in your routine, you should consider speaking with a dermatologist or suggesting a routine change to your aesthetician.