Back with another post today. However, instead of a product review, I’ll discuss some skin care mistakes that you probably wouldn’t even consider, but seem to be very common. There is so much information out there on skincare that it can get overwhelming quickly and eventually result in doing things that can be harmful rather than help us fix our issues. Of course, I’m guilty of making some of these myself, but once you find what you’re doing wrong and correct it, you’ll definitely start to see improvement in your skin. I also know that skincare is very personal, and we are at different stages in our journeys, so make sure to always listen to your own skin.

1. Overwashing your Face

Overwashing your face can be as bad, or even worse than actually not washing it. You can either be cleansing frequently or using products that are too harsh. Stripping your skin from its natural lipids (oils) can compromise your skin barrier function and make it unable for it to retain moisture. This will result in dryness, dehydration and increased skin sensitivity. How to tell if you’re over cleansing? If your face feels tight, dry and squeaky-clean after washing, those are the indicators.

How to fix it?

  • Switch to a low pH cleanser of around 5.5. A slightly acidic cleanser is closer to our own skin’s pH level and is more gentle.
  • Look for cleansers that contain humectants like Glycerin, Hyaluronic acid etc.
  • Don’t wash your face more than twice a day. Those of us with oily, acne prone skin need to wash our face in the morning and evening to prevent acne, but those with drier skin types can opt to wash their face only with water in the morning. Or, you could also use a cotton pad soaked with toner and wipe your face.
  • Look for cream type cleansers if your skin is on the dry side.
  • Don’t leave the cleanser on for too long. Doing long cleansing sessions for 5-10 minutes will only harm and disrupt your skin barrier.

2. Leaving Micellar Water on the Skin

Micellar water cleansers are very convenient to use, but ideally should not be left on the skin. They contain mild surfectants and their purpose is to cleanse and dissolve oily makeup and dirt. If you’re not rinsing it off, depending on your skin type, it may irritate and damage your skin in the long run. So, I would highly recommend you rinse your skin with water after using them. Definitely don’t use them as toners or at the toner step either.

3. Not Moisturizing Oily Skin

In my teens and early twenties I almost never found a product targeted for oily skin that actually helped with my oily skin issue. Most of the products aimed at removing the oil and some felt really drying. This in turn made my skin even oilier and uncomfortable. But, once I started to moisturize, I slowly noticed that it made a difference.

Adding hydration actually helped with regulating the oil production. My skin felt in balance, not aggravated and I even broke out way less. If you’re not sure about using creams you can start with adding emulsions or emulsion type serums to your routine, like the Etude House SoonJung 10 Free Moist Emulsion or the Pyunkang Yul Moisture Serum. They’re lightweight, but still provide moisture to the skin.

4. Over-Exfoliating

Exfoliating is great for getting rid of dead skin cells, improving texture and smoothing out the skin, but at the same time there’s the risk of overdoing it. Since chemical exfoliators became popular – I’m looking at you AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution – I’ve heard from countless people complaining of experiencing irritation, dryness, or flaking. These can be signs of a compromised skin barrier due to overexfoliation. Are you yet convinced of the importance of an intact skin barrier for healthy skin?

How often you should exfoliate your skin depends on many factors, such as what you want to achieve, the concentration of the acid, the type of acid (AHAs – Glycolic acid – small molecules which penetrate deeper, hence could be more ‘irritating’, Lactic acid, Mandelic acid etc; BHA – Salicylic acid), your skin type and how sensitive it is.

It’s usually recommended to exfoliate 2-3 times a week. However, if you’re not experienced using these products make sure to start with a formula containing a low concentration of the active ingredient and start very slowly – Once per week! Then, if you can tolerate using it more frequently you can adjust as needed.
Always wear sunscreen when you incorporate acids in your skincare routine, as they make your skin more susceptible to sun damage.

5. Using Skin Care Products all over the Face

Usually, not all parts of our face are the same or need the same care, so use skincare products to target your problem areas accordingly. When I do my routine, I don’t apply ALL the layers of skincare all over my face. My jaw are gets oilier and that’s where I tend to break out more. So, I do way less layers on my jaw area and sometimes I avoid applying cream moisturizer if I feel it would be too much. Also, I could go with some extra layers of hydrating toner on parts of my skin that feel drier.
Products that are intended for acne most of the time are somewhat drying and don’t have to be applied on parts of your face where you don’t break out.

6. Not Layering Skin Care Products in the Right Order

Knowing how to layer your skincare products correctly is important. This could affect how the products sit and feel on the skin, their efficacy or increase the possibility of skin irritation. Are there certain ingredients that must not be mixed? Does pH matter? What products should go in your morning and evening routine? To answer these and more I’ve made a separate post on what order you should apply your skin care products, so check it out if you’d like to know more about layering skincare for best results.

7. Skipping Sunscreen

More than a genuine mistake, this is mostly due to negligence.. haha. And I’m guilty of it, too! It’s known that too much exposure to the sun can cause burns, early skin ageing and increase the risk of skin cancer. Ideally we should wear sunscreen every single day, even in winter, and reapply frequently. Even when you’re indoors, UVA rays can still penetrate the skin behind glass. It doesn’t matter how well we take care of our skin with other skincare products, if we don’t use SPF all the hard work and progress we’ve achieved can get reversed. In extreme weather conditions, don’t rely solely on SPF for protection. Make sure to wear protective clothing as well, hats and sunglasses.

Did you find this post helpful? What are some other skin care mistakes that you’ve made from your personal experience and how did you fix them? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!