The Biggest Skincare Mistakes You Make Every Day

We don’t know about you, but here at Glomance, we pride ourselves on our carefully thought out skincare routines. Do we pick at those annoying, hormonal pimples? Never. Do we make sure we drink enough water daily? For sure. And sleeping in our makeup? Give us a break.

However, we’re not perfect, and, like most of you, we’re guilty of the odd skincare faux pas.

So what are the most common skincare mishaps, and how can you avoid them? 

Skin Mistake #1: Being Slap-Dash With Sunscreen

Protecting your skin from the sun is critical, and statistics from the The Skin Cancer Foundation are proof of this:

  1. About 90 percent of external skin aging is caused by the sun.
  2. People who wear a daily sunscreen of SPF 15 or more show 24 percent fewer visible signs of skin aging than those who don’t.
  3. UVA radiation remains constant all year round and can penetrate clouds, fog, and glass.
  4. More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the US than all other cancers combined.
  5. Roughly 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to the sun.

It’s easy to think of sunscreen as pointless in the fall and winter months, but when all the above (and more) is stacked the other way, it seems a very naive mistake to make. It’s also one that is easily rectified because gone are the days of gloopy, white-tinted sunscreens that feel thick, heavy, and make you break out as soon as they touch the surface of your skin. Nowadays, making way for sunscreen in your daily routine is a total breeze. Light, everyday moisturizers can be formulated with broad-spectrum sunscreen (that means they protect from both UVA and UVB) and feel no different from SPF-free lotions. Similarly, mineral foundations and powders containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are readily available and offer perfect daily protection from UV damage.

Skin Mistake #2: Constantly Touching Your Face

Studies have found that on average, people unknowingly touch their faces more than 16 times an hour. That’s more than once every four minutes.

Whether you’re leaning on your hands at your desk, scratching an itchy spot, or tucking your hair behind your ears, touching your face is hard to avoid. The problem is that it wreaks havoc on your skin by spreading dirt, bacteria, and oil from your hands to your face, which can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Even if you’re washing your hands more often than ever, think about everything you touch in between those washes (your keyboard, doorknobs, money, and your smartphone, for example). Research shows that a typical mobile phone carries over 25,000 bacteria per square inch. Gross, right?

To break the face touching habit, try to make yourself 100 percent aware every time you do it. Then at least you can try to stop yourself. You could also ask friends and coworkers to tell you when they catch you with your hands on your face. This will help you become more conscious of your actions.

If you really do feel the urge, stop and use hand sanitizer first, and lastly, make sure you clean your phone and keyboard often. In fact, you should probably do that right now.

Skin Mistake #3: Using too Many Active Skincare Ingredients

With so many tried and trusted skincare ingredients, lotions, and potions on the market, it’s tempting to overload your bathroom shelves with every new product you can get your hands on. But if you throw everything at your skin – especially active ingredients like antioxidants, AHAs, and BHAs – this can cause breakouts, dryness or in worse cases, severe irritation. One treatment serum in the morning and another at night (may we suggest our Overnight Star Lactic Acid Treatment?) is generally enough to target concerns and help keep your skin in check.

Similarly, if your skin is already having a bit of a meltdown, the worst thing you can do is aggravate it by bombarding it with a barrage of strong ingredients. So if your skin is freaking out, try to cut back on your routine for a week or so to help balance it out. 

When it comes to products containing retinol, our advice is to always start low and slow. Retinol is a very effective ingredient and can help treat anything from dark spots and acne through to fine lines and sagging. However, it is super-potent and may not be for everyone; therefore, if you’re trying retinol for the first time, start with a low concentration of 0.025 percent and only apply it every few days. If your skin tolerates it well after two or three weeks, then you can start using it every other night and slowly move to nightly or to a higher concentration. 

One final word here: exfoliation. Exfoliating your skin is a really important step for ditching dead skin cells and promoting a healthy, radiant complexion, but too much, too often can leave your skin sore, red, dry, and irritated. It can also make acne flare-ups ten times worse. The answer? Stick to two or three times a week and switch out physical scrubs that can damage the surface of your skin for gentler, chemical exfoliants like Overnight Star Lactic Acid Treatment

Skin Mistake #4: Neglecting Your Neck

Ignoring your neck is, as that famous Pretty Woman saying goes: “a big mistake. Big. HUGE.” 

The skin on your neck has fewer sebaceous glands than the skin on your face. It’s also extremely thin and fragile, making it susceptible to the many visible signs of aging such as sagging, sun damage, fine lines, and wrinkles. If fighting against time isn’t enough for your neck to contend with, persistently looking down at your smartphone helps not one bit in the fight against neck wrinkles.

So why do so many of you ignore the skin on your neck while you’re going about your daily skincare routine?

This is a basic one to solve. Simply continue your facial skincare routine over the jawline and down to your neck and décolletage. Gently cleanse, exfoliate, treat, moisturize, and protect it just as you would the skin on your face. It really is as simple as that.

Skin Mistake #5: Applying Your Products in the Wrong Order

If you’ve been applying an eye cream as the last step in your routine, or popping your moisturizer over your SPF, then we’re sorry to tell you this, but you’re doing it all wrong. 

Thanks to Clinique’s hugely successful ‘3-Step’ campaign in the late ‘60s, everyone knows the three-step mantra of cleanse, tone, and moisturize, but these days, there’s so much more to an effective skincare regime. We’re talking serums, face oils, eye cream, and obviously the all-important sunscreen. So how do you know what to apply and when?

Good news: it’s surprisingly easier than you think. You simply need to understand each of your products’ textures and viscosities, compare them to each other, and apply your thinnest product first. This means that after toner (which is thin and almost water-like) comes an acne or pigmentation treatment followed by an antioxidant serum. Next up would be your eye cream, followed by moisturizer, then a face oil in the evening or broad-spectrum sunscreen in the morning. See how the products get thicker the further down the line you apply them? And even if your sunscreen is the lightest one you’ve ever found, it should always be applied last, no questions.

If you apply your products in the wrong order, it’s not the end of the world, but your regimen will be way less effective due to each product having to fight against a more weighty formula underneath it. This means your entire routine will lack the ability to penetrate your skin and treat, hydrate or protect it the way it’s supposed to.

And, frankly, that’s what we call a waste of time (and hard-earned dollars).

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