Taking care of your skin is something we’re told to do when we’re in our teens and twenties. Unfortunately, many people shrug that off and end up regretting it as they age. Yet others take it seriously but do well-meaning things that are actually counterproductive.
With all the different skincare products available and all the messaging coming from all directions, it’s easy to get confused or to make mistakes. Here’s a look at what some of the most common skincare mistakes are and how you can avoid or rectify them.
1. Neglecting the Rest of the Body
In skincare, there’s a tendency to focus excessively on the face since that’s where wrinkles, dryness, acne, etc. are the most noticeable. The rest of your skin needs attention, too, especially parts like the neck, shoulders, chest, and hands that get a lot of sun exposure. Once a day– after a shower is a good time– apply body lotion up and down. Don’t forget the lower legs, another spot that people, especially men, neglect and which can get very dry.
2. Not Using SPF Properly (Or At All)
Nothing causes aging and damage to skin as much as the sun does. Applying SPF products is a habit one needs to get into when young.
Everyone’s been told to apply sunscreen when spending time under the sun, but a huge mistake too many make is thinking that makeup with SPF properties is just as effective as sunscreens with the same SPF ratings. It’s not even close.
Before applying makeup, apply a base layer of sunscreen. An SPF rating of at least 30 is recommended.
Don’t forget to use lip balms that have SPF!
3. Aggressive or Excessive Exfoliation
Freshly exfoliated skin feels smooth and looks brighter. It’s also more vulnerable to sun damage because you’ve removed that top layer helping shield more-sensitive skin beneath.
If you’re experiencing red or irritated skin, you may be exfoliating too often or too hard. To start with, limit exfoliation to no more than 3 times a week. Adjust downward if your skin is more sensitive.
Another thing you can do is skip the abrasive creams and materials and use a chemical exfoliant instead.
4. Bad Bedtime and Sleeping Habits
When sleep is calling, it’s so tempting to skip removing makeup or washing your face and just crash in bed and let dreams take over. That’s a big skincare mistake, though.
If makeup and dirt sit on your face overnight, your skin can dry out and, worse, your pores can get clogged, leading to an acne breakout. That can start a cycle that’s hard to break.
Before bed, remove makeup and thoroughly cleanse your face. If you apply a moisturizer overnight, use one that won’t clog pores. Avoid sleeping in a room that’s too cold or dry, so add a humidifier if necessary.
5. Clogging Your Pores
As noted above, clogging your pores is a big mistake because acne outbreaks can result. During the daytime, use moisturizers that don’t clog pores. If you’re prone to outbreaks, avoid products like cocoa butter, coconut oil, and algae extract, all of which are more likely to clog pores.
6. Improper Product Storage and Usage
Most skincare products can withstand normal temperature fluctuations, but storing them somewhere too warm or moist can affect the performance of the active ingredients. An example is leaving a bottle of lotion on a sunny windowsill on a hot day. In general, store products somewhere that’s cool and dark most of the time.
Some products also have a shelf life and come with a use-by date. They probably won’t stop working upon that date, but it’s a good idea to use them up by that date or shortly afterward. Otherwise, you might be applying products and receiving no benefits from them.
7. Doing Too Much at Once
Using too many products in one place at once can result in either agents effectively canceling each other out or being exposed to excessive amounts of some agents. This could actually cause harm.
Try not to use more than 1 or 2 products at once. Focus on what’s most important at the time (acne treatment, moisturizing, etc.). Use multi-use products when available and appropriate.
8. ComplacencyFinally, avoid the mistake of letting up once you start seeing the results you want. Just as you have to keep working to keep in shape once you get in shape, taking care of your skin is an ongoing process.
By avoiding common and serious skincare mistakes, your skin will look and feel better, and you’ll be happier with how you look and feel. In addition, you’ll develop good practices that you’ll carry with you throughout life. No one escapes the effects of aging on skin, but good habits reduce and slow them.
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