We’re not perfect humans, and most of us learn to accept our little body flaws—like cheating on diets, drinking one too many on occasion—but when it comes to our skin, we try really hard to be as flawless as possible, right? But all-too-often, we end up making unintentional mistakes as we work toward our goals.
The most common skincare mistakes
- Forgetting sunscreen or allowing yourself to get a sunburn. “Sun is your skin’s biggest enemy, aging your skin and putting you at greater risk for skin cancer,” says Dr. Bank, founder of The Center for Dermatology in New York. Your risk for getting melanoma—the most serious form of skin cancer—doubles if you have had five or more sunburns because sun exposure accumulates during your entire life—so make sunscreen application part of your morning routine, everyday. Generally, you want to apply your sunscreen first, then your moisturizer and makeup.
- Wasting money on worthless products or too many products that you don’t need. Much of the time, unless you have special needs, an appropriate moisturizer for your skin type will be all you need for both your face and eyes. “Companies use clever marketing to make you believe that you need lots and lots of different products,” Dr. Bank says, “but you just don’t need that much to get great skin, you just need the right ones. And actually, if you are stacking a lot of non-pore-blocking products on your skin, it can defeat that purpose and become pore-blocking.”
- Not realizing you have an infection that needs medical care. Dr. Bank says that too many people try to cut out their own cysts or treat their own serious infections. “If in doubt, go to the doctor,” Dr. Bank advises. That definitely means if you have a skin issue that has become red and pus-filled, is not improving, or is accompanied by fever or chills.
- Thinking “More is Better.” This is a common error, according to Dr. Bank, who says, “It is a very American mentality, but it’s wrong to think that if a little works, then a lot will be better. We see a lot of that with a products such as Retin-A, which works very well when use very very little, as instructed. But some people tend to glob it on thinking it will be more effective, when instead, they end up with irritated skin and wasting the product.”
- Rushing your routine. Take the time to rinse thoroughly and apply each layer of your serums with a few minutes between them in order to give them time to soak into your skin.
- Over-cleaning or over-exfoliating your skin. Your natural oils are a protective barrier against infection and bacteria and stripping them completely with harsh products can lead to over-sensitivity and dryness, and even breakouts. If you like to give yourself peels, follow instructions carefully—and like Dr. Bank warned above: More is NOT better!
- Picking at your skin. We all know we shouldn’t, but we still do it. Okay, so if you have a huge whitehead and you absolutely MUST get rid of it NOW, at least do it the right way. That information has been taken from the book The Skin Regime; Boot Camp for Beautiful Skin, and you can read free on the Tips and Info page on TheSkinRegime.com, here.
- Using the wrong products for your skin type. “If you are totally confused about your skin’s needs, consult a good dermatologist who can put you on the right path,” says Dr. Bank. “You can also learn about your skin by reading good books with reliable sources, such as The Skin Regime—for which I was technical advisor—will give you basic truths about skincare and products and help prevent you from falling prey to marketing and advertising.”
Now you know the biggest mistakes—below are some great products that anyone with any skin type can choose and use with confidence. If you have extra-ordinarily hyper-sensitive skin, you should see a dermatologist before trying any new products, and be sure to test each product on a small area of your skin before using widely—that includes products labeled “hypo-allergenic” or “for sensitive skin.”
“Across-the-Board, Can’t Go Wrong” Products
Pure Emu Oil: So pure, you can eat it! A great oil to use anywhere on your body: Skin, cuticles, lips, ends of your hair. It won’t block your pores, either!
Great Drugstore Shampoos: Your hair is part of your skin, and no matter your hair needs—damaged, colored, oily, dry, dandruff—there is a drugstore brand for less than five dollars that will work for you: The Pantene and Herbal Essence lines of shampoos are consistently highly-rated, as are the Suave and Dove lines. For dandruff, the been-around-forever Head and Shoulders is just about unbeatable.
Advanced Care Moisturizer: Non-greasy, non-pore blocking, good all-around skin moisturizer with NO exfoliating acids.
Pure Virgin Shea Butter: An amazing, all-over body treat for adults as well as children. Nourishing without any exfoliation acids.
Two Great Peels: If you are a newbie to peels, or you have mild rosacea and need gentler peels, start mild with either the Mandelic Acid 22% peel or the 1-4-All Peel, because it is layer-able—one layer is very mild, each additional layer builds up the strength, so you choose how strong you want your peel to be.
Antioxidant Enzyme Mask: If you are too sensitive for a peel or scrub, this will gently exfoliate your skin and restore radiance.
Two Great Cleansers: If your skin is normal or combination and you want a little exfoliating power, you can’t go wrong with the Basics 3-In-1 Cleanser with fruit acids and scrubbing crystals. If you have sensitive skin, reach for the Gentle Cleansing Lotion, with no exfoliation acids or crystals (good for post-peel cleansing as well).
L’il Ones Products: Made with the purest, gentlest ingredients, this line of products was made with your l’il ones in mind, but you can surely indulge in them, too—especially great is the Rash Cream, for all kinds of rashes.