Skin Care Mistakes That Are Bad For Your Skin

It happens to the best of us – some days we’re really good about taking care of our skin, while other days (and nights!) completing our skin care routine can seem like too much of a chore. If you’re noticing increased skin issues like breakouts, excessive dryness or other signs of irritated skin, one of these common skin care mistakes might be the culprit. Read on to find out whether your habits are causing more harm than good, and what you can do to change them and prevent premature aging, breakouts and more. 

Mistake #1: Using Dirty Linens | Mistake #2: Wearing Makeup To Bed | Mistake #3: Skipping SPF | Mistake #4: Ignoring Dehydrated Skin | Mistake #5: Over-Exfoliating | Mistake #6: Using Makeup Wipes | Mistake #7 Not Cleaning Makeup Tools

Mistake #1: Using Dirty Linens

Most of us use linens every single day (and all night long), and don’t really give them much thought. Your pillowcase, for example, is in contact with your skin for hours on end. This nightly face time results in a buildup of oils, dirt and sweat, not to mention thousands of skin cells! Cotton pillowcases can harbor bacteria that can lead to breakouts and allergies. Experts suggest flipping your pillow over after a night of sleep and then washing the pillowcase every other day. Switching from cotton to other natural fibers like bamboo or silk can also be helpful, but a regular laundry schedule is still a must. 

Using dirty face cloths is another mistake that many make. Use a fresh one daily to avoid reintroducing yesterday’s dirt when you’re trying to cleanse your skin. Seems simple, but it’s worth repeating. 

Mistake #2: Wearing Makeup To Bed

After a long day or night out, it can be tempting to hit the sheets without washing your makeup off, but this skin care step is a non-negotiable. Your skin produces oil and sebum naturally throughout the day. When it combines with makeup, dirt or bacteria that have been sitting in pores for hours at a time, there’s a major potential for breakouts. Clogged pores, a dull complexion and increased blackheads are just some of the concerns you might experience when you go to bed without washing your face. Skin renews itself while you sleep, and when you leave makeup on, you are preventing that from happening.   

The best way to avoid these skin concerns is to do a double cleanse before calling it a night. An oil-based cleanser is best for breaking up and removing makeup. Follow that with a second cleansing using your favorite formula, which goes to work deep within pores to eliminate impurities and any trace remnants of makeup after the initial cleansing. It will only take a couple of minutes, and then you can apply your serums and drift off to sleep without guilt weighing on your mind – or dirt and oil clogging your pores and weighing on your skin.

Try our Calm Skin Chamomile Cleanser to remove the impurities of the day from your skin. Infused with chamomile, arnica and rosemary, this calming cream cleanser is perfect for sensitive skin prone to redness and makes a great second step in a double cleanse. 

If you’re fighting the appearance of breakouts, our Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser is the best choice to remove excess sebum from your complexion. It’s a clarifying cream-gel cleanser that treats oily and problem skin with cucumber and tea tree oil. Sweet almond milk and yogurt reduce the visible signs of problem skin without stripping the skin of moisture. In other words, it can help your skin recover from past “mistakes.”

Mistake #3: Skipping Sunscreen

It’s no secret that sun exposure and UV rays have the potential to cause a number of skin issues, including melanoma, fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin and dark spots. Wearing sunscreen is essential for protecting the skin against harmful UV rays, and daily protection is crucial to the health of your skin. 

Sunscreen helps to keep the skin protected from the dangers of sun exposure, including sunburn, sun damage and melanoma. It’s also beneficial in minimizing the premature aging effects of UV rays, such as fine lines, wrinkles, sagging and rough skin. 

There are different types of sunscreens, most notably chemical and mineral. Both protect your skin from the sun’s powerful rays, but they provide that protection in different ways. Chemical sunscreens penetrate the skin, absorb sunlight and convert it to heat before releasing it. Mineral sunscreens sit on top of the skin’s surface and block sunlight – reflecting the UV rays before they reach the skin’s surface. Personal preference and skin type can be factors in choosing an SPF, but ultimately the goal is the same: to protect the skin.

If adding another step to your morning routine feels like too much work, save a step by using a moisturizer that contains an SPF, like Lilikoi Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF 40, an all-in-one lightweight daily moisturizer.

Mistake #4: Ignoring Dehydrated Skin 

Signs of dehydrated skin include itchy patches, undereye circles, dullness and fine lines. Unlike “dry skin,” which is a skin type (caused by a natural lack of oils), dehydrated skin is a condition caused by a lack of water. Dehydrated skin occurs when your body loses more water than it is taking in — for example, from not replenishing liquids after an intense workout or a long day outside in a warm climate. Really, dehydration can happen in any circumstance when not enough water is being consumed. A minimum of eight cups a day is a good baseline. And no, coffee doesn’t count! (But herbal tea does). 

To determine whether you are experiencing dry skin or dehydrated skin, pinch the skin on the back of your hand. If the skin fails to snap back, your skin could be dehydrated. Fortunately, reversing dehydration can be accomplished with a few lifestyle changes. Some of them include: 

  • Drinking alcohol in moderation (if at all)
  • Limiting coffee and other sources of caffeine
  • Stopping smoking
  • Exercising regularly
  • Replenishing fluids after you work out
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Eating more fruits, vegetables and other plant-based foods 

Our Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum is a great option to deeply hydrate both dry and dehydrated skin, leaving it softer and smoother. 

Mistake #5: Over-Exfoliating

Exfoliating your skin keeps the complexion soft and smooth while reducing the look of dullness. Exfoliating helps to remove dead skin cells by breaking the bonds that glue them together, allowing new cells to surface and resulting in the appearance of a “glow.” When done right, exfoliation is one of the most important skin care habits you can adopt.

Too much of a good thing? While some exfoliating is good for the skin, too much can actually cause damage to the skin barrier and strip its moisture. There is a protective layer of oils and fats on the surface of the skin which helps seal moisture and keeps irritants out. When these protective properties are stripped away with excessive exfoliation, the result is a weakened barrier. The Charcoal Exfoliating Gel Cleanser is a great option as it washes away impurities, while leaving the skin balanced.  

Everyone’s skin is a little bit different, so you may have to try a few skin care products and routines to figure out what’s best for you – but according to Healthline, most experts advise that you exfoliate two to three times per week – as long as your skin can handle it.

Mistake #6: Using Makeup Wipes 

While makeup wipes may seem like a quick and easy way to remove your makeup and other buildup from the day (especially after a late night!) — think twice about taking this shortcut. It can seem tempting to literally wipe the day off in one simple step, especially before bed when exhaustion can overpower common sense (see Mistake #1). 

Unfortunately, makeup wipes don’t really clean your skin. What they do instead is smear around whatever makeup, dirt and dead skin is on your face, leaving a greasy residue and clogging pores, or put simply: the exact opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s a step that can do more harm than good, causing irritation and breakouts. On top of that, many wipes contain preservatives (to keep them fresh and bacteria-free in their warm, moist packages). Some of these preservatives include chemicals that release formaldehyde, as well as solubilizers, surfactants and emulsifiers. And don’t get us started on the impact of disposable wipes on the planet.

According to Diana Felton, MD, state toxicologist with the Hawaii Department of Health: “One group estimates that 20 million pounds of single-use wipes are disposed of every day in the U.S. Many wipes are disposed of in landfills, and despite claims to the contrary, most are not biodegradable and do not rapidly break down, creating too much trash to fit in our landfills.” If you’re reticent to give them up for your skin, do it for the planet!

Mistake #7 Not Properly Cleaning Makeup Tools 

When was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes or gave your gua sha or jade roller a good scrub? If it’s been longer than a month, and you’re dealing with breakouts or dull complexion, dirty makeup and skin care tools may be the culprit.

Makeup brushes and sponges absorb oils, dirt and bacteria from the skin with each use. Imagine going weeks or months without giving them a proper cleanse! Dirty makeup brushes have the potential to introduce bacteria and buildup to pores, jeopardizing the overall health of your skin. Wash all makeup brushes and reusable sponges at least once a month – and once a week if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin.

And while we’re on the subject of tools, make sure you use a little spoon or spatula when getting product and makeup out of jars. Scooping creams out with your fingers can introduce bacteria into the mix and on to your skin. It can also shorten the shelf life of the product. And clean hands are a must. Always wash your hands thoroughly before applying anything to your face or body. Another simple skin care habit that can go a long way.

Watch Lead Skin Care Trainer Natalie Pergar walk you through more common skin care mistakes and how to fix them.



Recognize your own habits on this list? Visit your favorite Eminence Organics Spa Partner for more advice on avoiding skin care mistakes and creating the best skin care routine for you.  

This article was originally written in January 2020.

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