The 8 Most Common Skincare Mistakes You're Probably Doing

woman with dropper on skin

By Brigid Anderson

What are some of the common skin care mistakes that adults commit during the prime of their life and how do these mistakes hinder their skin from healing?

We layer so many skin care products on our face one after the other, unaware of whether we're hindering or helping our progress. 

There are quite a few things I wish I could travel back in time to tell my younger self: don't date that guy, take that trip to Buenos Aires, don't take that 7th shot of tequila, and take better care of your skin.

As I near my mid-thirties it has become painfully obvious that the havoc I wreaked on my skin has contributed greatly to the battles I now fight daily.

Sit back, get comfy, and get ready to learn from my mistakes so you don't have to go through mine.

The most common skin care mistakes are: 

  • Layering way too many treatments in 1 routine
  • Pulling on your eyelids to apply liner
  • Forgetting about your body
  • Ignoring your neck
  • Over Exfoliating
  • Sleeping with your makeup on
  • Not using SPF
  • Not moisturizing

1. Layering too many skincare products In A Routine

You may think, the more steps, the more products, the faster results right? Well, there's a point when there's too much and you could be doing more harm. 

Skincare that contain ingredients like AHA or BHA, retinol, vitamin c, benzoyl peroxide, or other acids, all tend to have irritating properties on their own so using them all together can be a mistake. 

Layering all these types of ingredients together can make the products too strong for your skin leading to redness, irritation, and dried out skin.

When introducing a treatment type product or exfoliating product, give a few days in between using them or just limit to 1-2 per routine.  Cut it back if you notice signs of redness and flaking skin!

2. Forgetting about your body 

Skincare doesn't just begin and end with our faces – the rest of our body needs our attention as well.

Using a body lotion from top to bottom once daily, preferably after a shower, will not only make your skin glow like a goddess – it will keep your epidermis in tip-top shape.

As we age our collagen and elastin production slows more...and more...and more. By using a body lotion daily you'll be ahead of the game.

We spend a lot of time and money on taking care of our facial skin, yet we neglect the rest of our bodies. 

Choose lotions with skin firming ingredients like CoQ-10, caffeine, and Vitamin C to promote circulation and collagen.

If you're pressed for time, use a wet skin body moisturizer before exiting the shower.

Choose body washes that are free of sulfates and other stripping ingredients. As good as it may feel initially, they'll leave your skin literally itching for moisture.

Don't forget to keep hydrated and get your weekly exercise in too. Keeping your body healthy on the inside will keep it looking stellar on the outside

3.  Ignoring your neck  

My grandmother knew what she was talking about when it came to two things: how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey...and skin care.

As a model in the 1950's and as someone who was constantly mistaken for Elizabeth Taylor, I really should have listened to her when she taught me one cardinal rule of skin care, “Whatever you do to your face, do to your neck”. 

Unfortunately, this is something I didn't take to heart until my late 20's when deep set lines started to rear their  head.

It may not be as bad as it could be, but I know if I had taken better care of my neck sooner it would be a better state of affairs.

We especially neglect to care for the neck, décolletage (the chest), and the backs of our hands. 

Whether we realize it or not, our neck, chest, and hands get a lot of sun exposure. These areas also show some of the first visible signs of aging.

These delicate, exposed areas of our skin need the same tender love and care that we give to our face, and in many instances may even be even more sensitive than our face.  Neglecting these areas can result in the same signs of premature aging we see on our faces.  

When you cleanse and moisturize your neck, work your products gently in an upward motion. You never want to pull the skin downward. Keep tightening, drying masks away from areas below the chin (I don't care what YouTube says).

Use a moisturizing mask from your collarbone up to your jowl and jawline (don't forget the sides!). Do this twice a week.  When you apply your facial moisturizer, bring it down to you next too.  

4. Over-exfoliating 

Let's be real, we all love the way our skin feels after a good exfoliating session. Our skin feels smooth, looks bright, and the grit and grime that has been giving our pores a less than flawless appearance has been scrubbed away at last. Sorry to burst your bubble, but so has the protective layer of your skin.

When we exfoliate our skin, we are removing away a layer of the skin that helps protect itself from the environment. In turn, this exposes our skin to elements like dust, and UVA/UVB rays that cause more problems in the long run.

When we over exfoliate we inadvertently give aging a head start and we can mess up our skin's protective barrier.  

Over exfoliation with physical products can cause irritation too. So just because it’s super scrubby doesn’t mean it’s right for your skin.

Keep exfoliation limited to 3 times per week. Choose the gentlest exfoliant that gets the job done.

You may find you don't need hardcore exfoliants in the long run. Try a product without abrasive ingredients and a chemical exfoliant instead such as those formulated with glycolic acid.  

If using an abrasive scrub, limit exfoliation to 5-8 seconds per area to avoid over exfoliating and causing more flaky patches once your skin has healed.


5. Sleeping with your makeup on 

As mentioned above, this is one of the biggest skin care mistakes makeup wearers often commit.

You knew this was coming. Don't worry, we've all been there. The last thing you're thinking about is taking off that blinding highlight and glitter shadow at the end of a long day. I feel you.

Not only do we wake up looking a hot mess because our mascara and eyeliner have become one entity smeared halfway down our faces, our skin is dry, our pores are now clogged, and we may even notice the beginnings of a breakout.

Face wipes don't constitute a cleansing either.  However, there is a miracle workers that exist today that I wish I had at those points in my life: and it is micellar solution. If you can get to a bottle of micellar solution to remove your makeup before passing out, do it.

If you're just sleeping in your makeup because you feel like it...I don't even know what to say to you other than STOP!

You will regret it when your skin rebels and starts what I call “The Cycle of Destruction”. We break out, we cover it, we make it worse, and it scars. The more we do this to our skin the more damage is left behind. 

6. Not using SPF correctly

This is probably the biggest mistake of all, sun damage is afterall the number 1 cause of photo aging!

I don't care if your makeup has SPF, get in the habit of applying an SPF before you do your makeup.

Get in the habit of doing it now because you're going to do it for the rest of your life. Nothing is more damaging than the sun. Nothing.

Sun damage can result in things like:

  • dryness
  • dullness
  • loss of elasticity
  • sagging, "leathery" skin
  • large pores
  • sunspots, dark marks

Another one of the biggest skin care mistakes that people make is not protecting their lips with an SPF. Many of us neglect the delicate skin on the lips, which is thinner and more susceptible to damage. Wrinkling, sunspots, and cancer can all occur on the lips, so it’s especially important to protect them. 

7.  Pulling on your eyelids  

 I think we all know that this is a big no-no. I'm including this in my list because I vividly recall times where I did it anyway, knowing full well that it is one of the worst things you could possibly do to yourself in the name of a perfect cat-eye.

Once you do it, you'll do it again. It may not seem important now, and it may be easily justified in the moment, but I'm begging you - don't listen to that little voice that says, “I'll deal with the repercussions later”.

“Low grade inflammation of the skin, even from rubbing, can lead to collagen damage over time and promote development of early wrinkling,” says Dermatologist Joshua Zeichner.

The skin around your eyes is also thinner and more sensitive than anywhere else on your face. Once that skin starts to lose its elasticity (which it will), there's no going back. The gentler you are with your eye areas now, the less likely you'll ever consider an eye lift.

You can also invest in a gentle eye cream. Use it nightly by tapping it into your skin with your ring finger.

Keep clay masks and other drying masks that tighten up as they dry away from your under-eye areas at all costs. 

8. Not Moisturizing

People who have oily skin may think skipping the moisturizer is better, because the last thing you want is to have your skin look even more oily right? 

Truth is, oily skin needs moisture too!  When skin is dry, it tends to overproduce more oily to compensate. 

The trick is to find the right moisturizer for you. If you have oily skin, look for a water based and lightweight moisturizer.  If you are acne prone, it will take some hit or misses but try to find a moisturizer that isn't very heavy on the skin as well. 


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