Avoid These 7 Common Skin Care Mistakes

Robert Hundley

Starting a skin care routine is just the start. A lot of people walk through their daily and weekly regimens, applying products they bought years prior, or treating all four seasons as equal when it comes to a skin care strategy. That’s just two of the most common skincare mistakes people make—we’ve got more below. Perhaps a few ring true for you? It’s not too late to correct the course, and to improve your skin in short-term and long.

1. Applying Comedogenic Ingredients (Especially If You’re Acne Prone)

This is just a fancy word for “clogs your pores.” If you’re prone to breakouts or especially oily skinned, it’s one thing to look for oil-free products. Take your ingredient omissions one step further, and look for non-comedogenic (non-pore-clogging) formulas. Unfortunately, most brands won’t market their products as such, but they might tell you it’s formulated for acne-prone skin—and that’s a start. However, some common skincare ingredients like cocoa butter, coconut oil, algae extract, and lauric acid are just a few examples of highly or extremely comedogenic ingredients. Sure, they also have nourishing and anti-aging benefits, but you can get those bennies from a variety of ingredients that won’t back up your pores.

2. Not Layering Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid deserves all the praises it receives as a mega moisturizer. It can hold up to 1000x its own weight in water by extracting moisture from the air. (On its own, it is also extremely moisturizing, too.) However, if you apply hyaluronic acid in winter, remember one thing: Always follow it with a moisturizer, to trap the ingredient inside the skin’s barrier. If you don’t—and if you’re in a dry, cold environment—hyaluronic acid goes digging for moisture from deep within the skin instead of at the surface. This depletes moisture levels even further, and leads to even drier skin than you started with. It’s good practice to always apply a moisturizer over your serums, but especially in dry environments when the lack of humidity takes a toll.

3. Storing Your Products Improperly

We’re not about to suggest that you need a separate mini fridge for all of your skincare products. (Though this is a thing!) But we’re also not going to suggest keeping your products anywhere too warm or too moist (the latter particularly applies to things like razors, trimmers, scissors, combs, tweezers, etc). Most products are fine at the range of natural cool and warm temperatures throughout the year, but if they receive direct sunlight on a hot day, they can heat up and deactivate in a jiffy. It’s harder to mind temperature control when you travel, but pay particular attention to active ingredients like Vitamin C, prescription retinol, antioxidants, and UV filters. These finicky ingredients are also top of mind for the next tip, too…

4. Letting Products Go Stale

Skin care products don’t last forever. You’ll usually see an expiration date, but that’s not a hard and fast rule—some unopened products will last indefinitely, and some products expire much quicker than indicated once you start using them. Pay attention instead to how long it’s been since you opened the product and exposed it to light or oxygen. (Look for the little jar icon on the side of any product; the number inside the tiny jar indicates how long that product retains its abilities after the initial lid popping.)

Typically, if your product has light- or oxygen-sensitive ingredients, then its product design will reflect this (by keeping air and light out). Regardless, be mindful of products with open-top lids or clear packages; their expiration dates are likely earlier than their opaque, pumpable counterparts. 

5. Over Exfoliating

In the quest for clear, smooth, bright skin, many of us over-exfoliate by applying chemical-powered serums and physical scrubs every couple days (or even more frequently). The truth is, your skin doesn’t replenish itself fast enough to endure constant buffing. You gotta let your skin cells live their short little lives before you try peeling or scrubbing them away—or else you’ll end up with reddened, irritated skin since there are no baby cells underneath waiting to ascend.

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