The 9 Simple Skincare Mistakes You're Making


Don't worry; this story isn't here to make you feel bad. You shouldn't! You're perfect. In each and every way. But knowledge is power and we figured, since your schedule is so busy these days and you might not have time to make appointments with each of the nine top names in skincare, that we'd bring their best skincare advice to you. And all in one neat, bullet-pointed package. Think of it like a facial on paper, but it's free and you don't have to travel. Just dim the lights, burn a candle, turn on some Enya, and imagine the dulcet tones of Renée Rouleau, Shani Darden, Isabelle Bellis, and others whispering these sweet, and very useful, nothings into your ear.

You’re using spot treatment wrong

“When a red, painful blemish appears, it’s best to not act the minute it comes on—instead, wait a day or two for the whitehead to be visible. If you use a drying treatment before the whitehead is on the surface, it will simply dry out the surface of the skin and keep the infection trapped underneath for longer. When it's ready, wrap your fingers in tissue and squeeze out the infection, and then apply a spot-drying treatment. Using traditional acne drying products won’t do much of anything for cystic acne—you’ll just get dry and flaky skin on top while the bump remains underneath. A cyst is already skin that is particularly inflamed. To further inflame it with drying products is only making it worse. You want to work with Mother Nature, not against her. It’s important to understand that a blemish is an infection, and your body will use its repair processes to make it go away as fast as possible.” —Renée Rouleau, Aesthetician, Founder of Renée Rouleau Skin Care

You’re sabotaging your cleansing routine

“A common mistake that I see is grabbing whatever cleanser or bar of soap happens to be available in the shower. It's horrible for your skin because it throws off its pH balance and causes either breakouts or extreme dryness. Bar soaps are too drying and often are not fine enough to handle cleansing the delicate skin on your face. Always use tepid water to wash your face because extreme temperatures cause dryness. When you’re done, instead of drying your face with your bath towel, use a paper towel. If you’re breaking out and use the same towel on your face for a few days, it will spread the bacteria and make the breakout even worse.” —Joanna Vargas, Aesthetician, Founder of Joanna Vargas Skin Care

You’re not cleansing enough

“I like to take people who don't wash their face twice a day and have them do it for two to four weeks. They will get at least a thirty percent improvement in their skin from just that. If not washed off, oil, dirt and debris on the skin prevents all the other acne fighting ingredients you may be using from absorbing and working. If you’re breaking out, I would recommend a cleanser from any well known brand specifically labeled as an acne cleanser—the manufacturer does the homework of picking ingredients that work before labeling it as an acne cleanser. Don’t get hung up on looking for specific ingredients because it's too complicated—just choose a brand you have confidence in.” —Dr. Neal Schultz, Dermatologist

You’re listening to your friends, not your skin

“We are all different and our skin requires different things—when we copy other people, we're doing what is best for their skin, not ours. If you have eczema, people may tell you that exfoliating will help, but it doesn’t. Lasers, lots of microdermabrasion, peels, and harsh products strip the skin and damage its important lipidic barriers. Also, overusing and abusing internal and topical steroids is a big problem when it comes to eczema—they’re a temporary fix that come with many negative side effects. Hydration is what’s best for eczema. We have to nourish and comfort the skin in order to make it glow.” —Joanna Czech, Aesthetician

You're using too much

“With Botox and fillers, there’s a philosophy that more is better. Really, less is more, and the same philosophy applies to product use. New patients come in with shopping bags of skin care products that they alternate with other creams and serums every other day! There should be a logic to the regimen used. It takes 6 to 8 weeks to evaluate any program, and products should be introduced 1 to 2 products at a time otherwise your skin cannot show improvement. Frequent product changes mean skin will more likely make no progress or show inflammation. If your skin looks worse, it’s probably not a phase—the products are wrong!” —Dr. Patricia Wexler, Dermatologist

Your take-no-prisoners approach is aging you

“People have a tendency to be aggressive with their skin, which is a delicate fabric that needs to be taken care of gently. They’re inclined to overload their skin with strong products, acids, or too many essential oils and turn to aggressive treatments, such as microdermabrasion, or even just overexfoliating. Not respecting your skin will disturb its delicate membrane and speed up the aging process—you can be both gentle and efficient with your skincare routine. Different skin types require different approaches, yielding different results, with the goal always being an equilibrium of the epidermis.” —Isabelle Bellis, Aesthetician

Yes, you always need SPF

“I think one of the biggest mistakes that people make is not protecting the skin against sun damage. Even on cloudy, rainy days, UVA and UVB rays still penetrate clouds and can cause sun damage. The sun is so harmful for you skin—beyond the obvious early aging that can occur, skin cancer is the most common cancer and it’s preventable by making sure you are properly protecting your skin. Sun damage isn't always immediately visible, but it shows up years later in the form of pigmentation—it also breaks down the collagen in your skin. This leads to a loss of firmness in the skin, sagging, and wrinkles. I think an SPF of 30 or greater is best. ” —Shani Darden, Aesthetician

You are what you eat (which isn’t always great)

“People are often cautious of what they eat for their health, but still think of skin as something external. The skin is a living, breathing organ—the largest in the body—with its own microbiome. Skin needs both the correct topical skincare as well as internal care from nutrition, exercise and stress reduction. Dairy and sugar will up-regulate IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor 1), which is directly linked to acne. High sodium and high glycemic index carb-heavy diets, as well other inflammatory foods, could be a culprit for puffiness and lack of elasticity. We don’t eat plastic or preservatives—for the same reason, it's a good idea to cut those out of our topical skincare as well. All the good stuff is left: vitamins like C and A, enzymes, fruit acids, natural oils, antioxidants and more.” —Marius Morariu, Skin Nutritionist, Co-founder of Tracie Martyn Beauty

You’re fighting against your skin, not with it

"The thing is, the skin will regenerate on its own at night no matter what—we aren't necessarily controlling that process. Still, people choose products without thinking about what their skin actually needs. For example, I'll have a client with adult acne and inflammation and their routine might have a purifying cleanser, a brightening toner, exfoliating pads and a heavy moisturizer at night. They're concerned with treating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and dryness, and not the breakout itself. Instead, I think that the best approach for a nighttime routine is to include ingredients to help your skin repair itself without stripping it. What I would do for that client is rewrite their regimen and have them focus on stabilizing their ecosystem—it’s likely they won't even need a heavy moisturizer at that point, or exfoliating pads, because their skin will just feel good, strong, and healthy." —Kristina Holey, Aesthetician

Research by Ali Oshinsky. Photo via ITG.