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Ten common skin-care mistakes that you're making without realizing it...

Updated: Jun 27, 2020

The beauty world is currently obsessed with skin care, which can be both a good and bad thing. It's a positive because skin care is, obviously, very important. Your skin is the largest organin your body, and protecting and taking care of it is about more than just looking ageless or pore-less — it's about staying healthy.

The popularity of skin care can be a negative thing because the influx of advice and tips from just about anyone can easily lead many of us to make some pretty big skin-care mistakes without even realizing it. Although some of these mishaps can be totally harmless, and will probably just be ineffective, others can lead to irritation, breakouts, and maybe even a trip to the dermatologist.

Here are a few skin-care mistakes most people make without realizing it.

If you aren't applying your moisturizer within one minute after cleansing, you aren't applying it at the right time. Your skin can get dehydrated that quickly after cleansing, so it's imperative to apply moisturizer immediately, as it is still damp. Applying moisturizer immediately will eliminate that tight, dry feeling you might get after a shower or after washing your face.

If you're refusing to purchase a pricier cleanser, and you're still using bar soap to wash your face every day, you're probably doing more harm than good. According to esthetician Renee Rouleau, when you wash your face with bar soap, you "immediately strip your skin of all its water." This leads to a buildup of dead skin cells. Applying moisturizer is then rendered kind of pointless, as all it's doing is fixing the damage you just did. Bar soap also apparently reverses the benefits of any exfoliant you used, whether it's a scrub or a chemical exfoliant. You're better off biting the bullet and spending a little more on a much more hydrating cleanser. I recommend Youth To The People Age Prevention Superfood Cleanser, which is very gentle and made with great ingredients.

You might assume that in order to see the effects of a certain skin-care product, you need to really, really rub it in there. This actually isn't true. According toDermatologic surgeon Sejal Shah, M.D., rubbing can irritate your skin, and you should "always use light, gentle upward strokes when applying products to the face and neck."

Think about your routine whenever you remove your makeup: chances are good that you put some makeup remover on a cotton pad or a towel, then rub everything off at once. Or maybe you just wash your face with a makeup removing cleanser, pay a little extra attention to your eyes, and call it a night. Both of these are the wrong approach. Eye makeup is typically harder to remove and requires more gentle attention. Dermatologist Julie Karen told Cosmopolitan that, "skin around your eyes is thinner, and more delicate and fragile than rest of your skin."

Because of this, give your eye area a little extra love by using something soft to remove the makeup so that you don't have to rub harshly. I love to use The Mitty Blackout from Take Your Face Off, which is a soft, small mitt that gently removes all eye makeup. Press the mitt (or cloth or cotton pad) against your eye gently and hold for about 30 seconds before carefully rubbing. You should also use a specific eye makeup remover — I like Lancome Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover.

At this point, you've likely heard of double cleansing, but you still might not understand what it is. Double cleansing is using a cleansing oil, balm, or Micellar water to remove all of your makeup, then using a water-based cleanser to remove everything else. The process sounds high-maintenance, but is actually the best way to get rid of all of the makeup, grime, dirt, oils, sweat, and bacteria that have built up on your face all day long.

If you aren't double cleansing, you probably aren't cleansing thoroughly enough, which can lead to breakouts and irritation. I recommend using a cleansing oil like Skin Laundry's 3-in-1 Cleansing Oil first (it's very gentle), and then something like Fresh Soy Cleanser. Be sure to apply the oil cleanser to dry skin, and then you can use the water-cleanser on damp skin after you've washed the cleansing oil off.

Exfoliating is an important step in any skin-care routine as it helps to get rid of dead skin cells, making way for healthier ones to take their place. Unfortunately, many people take it way too far. If you're using a scrub on your face, you should only do it a max of three times per week, and you should be gentle when using it — don't try scrubbing your skin raw, because that's going to do more harm than good. In general, though, you should be wary of scrubs, as they can be too rough on your sensitive skin. Gentle chemical exfoliation is the preferred method, according to many dermatologists. An at-home alpha-beta peel is one example, and so is something like glycolic acid. Personally, I like to use Sunday Riley Good Genes, which is made of lactic acid and provides daily chemical exfoliation that feels much more gentle than a scrub.

You may not have realized that your pillowcase should be part of your skin-care routine. Many people make the mistake of not changing their pillowcase often enough, which can lead to acne. New York City dermatologist Debra Jaliman told Health that you should be changing your pillowcase every few days, and maybe even daily, especially if you don't wash all of your makeup off.

You should also be using a silk pillowcase, which can leave your skin softer and help with anti-aging. I highly recommend Slipsilk pillowcases, which feel wonderful. They're also good for your hair.

If you use a lot of skin-care products in a routine, you might be applying them in the wrong order. Doing so can render some of them ineffective, or at least less effective, which isn't really what you want if you're dropping a lot of cash on these items. According to Allure, the right order goes something like this: Start with your lightest products, like toner and serum. You can then apply an antioxidant, like Vitamin C (Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum is wonderful). You should apply eye cream before moisturizer, as it might need to fight to work through a heavy cream if you don't (for eye cream, Ole Henriksen's new Banana Bright Eye Cream is really great). Then add your moisturizer, and an oil on top of that (Youth To The People Superberry Hydrate and Glow oil is great).

Skin care is enjoying a big moment in the beauty world right now, and sometimes it can seem overwhelming. You might end up using way too much of one product, or too many products in general. According to Refinery 29, the amount of products you use is dependent on what kind of skin you have, so be sure to speak to a dermatologist about that if you aren't positive.

As for applying too much of one product, like too much moisturizer, you want to be wary of that too. Huffington Post reported that you only need a small, coin-sized amount of each product to get the job done. Any more, and it's just a waste.

If your skin-care routine stops at your jawline, you're doing it wrong; your neck needs some love too. Your neck has thin skinand can age easily and often faster than other parts of your skin. Be sure to bring your moisturizer down to massage it into your neck as well. You can buy products specifically for that area, but a hydrating moisturizer will do the trick.

-Jessica Booth

April 23, 2018

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