Every year we get better and better at this skin care thing, figuring out which products work best for what skin type, the right way to handle skin conditions like acne, and how to get a dewy lit-from-within glow. But no matter how much of the right information is put out there, some detrimental myths persist. Folks might not be scrubbing their faces with half a lemon and a tablespoon of sugar anymore (at least I hope they aren’t), but there are a few bad habits that many are unaware of and still participate in. Here, some skin care no-no’s we all need to stay away from.
Wipes Are Bad With a Capital B
For instance, how do you take off your makeup at the end of the day? Double cleansing is pretty popular now, and so you’d expect that the standard procedure for cleansing would involve a cleansing oil or balm, followed by a gel or water-based cleanser of some sort.
Turns out, some people still use makeup wipes. In fact, I know someone who applies a cleansing balm then takes it off with a makeup wipe. There are a number of reasons why that method is wrong, the first of which is the fact that wiping off an oil or balm cleanser without emulsifying it kind of negates the purpose of it. Might as well use a cold cream if you’re going to use that method.
The repeated pressure of a makeup wipe on the skin can cause inflammation. And wipes don’t even do a good job of taking makeup and residue off.
Another reason why wipes aren’t a great idea is because the repeated pressure and tension on the skin is a big no-no and can cause inflammation. Wipes don’t even do a good job of taking makeup and residue off. To get your face as clean as it would be with an oil cleanser, you would have to use a lot of wipes, which is just wasteful, not to mention uneconomical and eco-destructive. Plus the surfactants and preservatives can cause major irritation. So if you’ve been breaking out a lot and have a lot more dark spots than usual, now you know why.
Take the Day Off
Since we’re talking about makeup, might as well address two other related no-no’s: not removing your makeup before bed and before a workout. Under no circumstances should you be going to bed looking like you just walked off the red carpet. All that foundation and whatnot can clog your pores, leading to irritation, and deprives the skin of the ability to renew.
Even if you can’t do a full routine, make sure to at least wash your face and slap some moisturizer on. A thicker cream or sleeping mask like the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration or Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask EX is great for times like these, to make up for all the other layers you’re skipping out on.
Also, don’t forget to take your beat off before you hit the gym for a quick run on the human hamster wheel or an intense Zumba class. Trust me, you don’t want to sweat with a day’s worth of dirt and makeup on your face. You’d be negating whatever skin health benefits you’d usually get from a good workout and ramping up the possibility of breakouts. A quick pre-workout cleanse also prevents accidents like mascara running into your eyes and blinding you mid-rep on the weight bench. Better safe than sorry with the perk of improved circulation and collagen production.
Repeat After Me: “Face AND Neck”
News flash: As much as your face can be an indicator of aging, your neck is too. There’s a lot of focus on applying the right treatments and moisturizers to the face in the right way, but not a lot of discussion about the importance of applying products such as moisturizers and SPF to the neck and upper chest area, also referred to as the décolletage. It might take a little getting used to, but neck care is an important step in your skin care regimen.
Imagine if you sat next to a window every day with one side of your body exposed to sunlight, and didn’t apply sunscreen regularly. Over time, you would notice that one side of your face was aging dramatically compared to the other. It’s the same effect when you neglect your neck and décolletage. Your face might look bouncy and bright, but the skin on your neck turns crepey, and you might even develop a few wrinkles on your bosom.
A little prevention is better than trying to fight the signs when they develop, and this could be as easy as pumping or scooping a little extra serum, essence, or moisturizer into your palm and applying what doesn’t readily absorb into the skin on your face, onto your neck and upper chest area. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
Don’t Fall For the Hype
The photo on Instagram and the accompanying commentary might make a product seem like it belongs on your vanity or bathroom counter ASAP, but don’t rush into that purchase just yet. A shiny or colorful tube with an impressive-sounding name and celebrity endorsements don’t make the product in question good for you. There’s a reason why there are a bunch of different skin types.
Make sure to do your research before buying into the hype, checking to see who the product is meant for, what the active ingredients are, and if they’re suited for you, etc. My only concession as far as this rule goes is for anti-aging products that are often marketed as being for people over 50. It’s never too early to start combating the possible signs of aging skin. Most of the time, these supposedly over-50 benefits are essential for healthy skin for everyone, like boosting collagen production or promoting cell turnover.
Take It Easy
Another skincare no-no people make is using too much pressure when they cleanse or apply skin care. The skin on your face is much more sensitive than it is on the rest of your body and needs gentle handling. Scrubbing away at your face with your hands or a tool can cause inflammation and break the delicate capillaries in your face.
Personally, it took weeks of a reminder in the form of a Post-it note on my mirror to break out of the habit of rubbing my face hard when I washed it. Once I had broken away from that habit, I noticed that my skin didn’t feel tender anymore, and the once-bumpy texture evened out into smoothness.
Wash Your Brushes
You might not automatically make the connection between troubled skin and dirty brushes, but when you think about it, it makes sense. If you take a clean brush, use it to apply product to your face and then leave it lying around to marinate in the combination of residue, skin cells, and sebum, then stick that brush back in the product a different time and use it on your face, the blemishes that come afterward shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s like never washing your face and applying more and more stuff over it. Using dirty brushes and applicators undoes all the hard work of cleansing and treating your face because it just transfers everything you washed off back onto it.
Invest in a daily brush cleaner to take off makeup and oil after every use, and make sure to wash with soap and water regularly. If you use your brushes every day, wash them once a week. If your average use is around one to two times a week, wash once a month—if your tools aren’t getting that much use, you don’t want to wear them out with constant, unnecessary washing. And sponges should be washed after every use.
What other skin care no-no’s do you wish people would stop doing?