5 Skincare Habits That Are Actually Damaging Your Skin

Skincare has become more assessable than ever.

Dermatologists and estheticians can reach a larger audience through social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and, most recently, TikTok. There is a lot of great information online about what you should do to keep your skin healthy, but what about the things you shouldn't do? Well, we've got you covered! Here are five things you shouldn't do to your skin.

1. Over-Exfoliating

Exfoliating is a significant part of most skincare routines. Our skin naturally exfoliates dead skin, but chemical exfoliants can speed up the process. Exfoliating can unclog pores, fade dark spots, even skin tone and give you a beautiful glow. The problem with exfoliating is that you can easily overdo it.

Most dermatologists agree that you should not exfoliate more than three times a week. Over-exfoliating can lead to a damaged skin barrier, resulting in sensitive and tight skin. If you're new to exfoliating, start with one time a week and work your way up to three times as needed. Whatever you do, do not listen to the skincare product's instructions that say you can exfoliate once or even twice a day. Also, chemical exfoliants are recommended over physical exfoliants, as the latter can cause micro-tears and irritation.

Shutterstock: woman washing her face with cotton pad

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2. Applying Your Skin Products Out of Order

We know skincare routines are important, but does the order we the products on really matter? According to Modern Dermatology, you should apply the products from thinnest to thickest consistency or liquid to oil. This allows important skincare products like antioxidants and serums to penetrate deeper into your skin. Always finish with moisturizer, unless it's in the morning when you use sunscreen, even if you have oily skin. A moisturizer keeps your skin hydrated and healthy. If you want to know the most effective way to apply products for a morning and night routine, check out this article from Modern Dermatology.

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3. Using Vinegar, Baking Soda, Sugar or Lemon on Your Skin

There has been a renewed interest in natural skincare products and at-home remedies for skincare problems in recent years. TikTok fills the FYP with viral videos about supposed skincare hacks, like using apple cider vinegar as a toner. However, these ingredients should stay in the kitchen, as they can potentially hurt your skin. For example, Paula's Choice warns that "many citrus ingredients can enhance the sun's negative impact on skin." Medical News Today reports that apple cider vinegar can "cause skin cells to shrink, tightening the skin" and "could strip away this good bacteria on the skin and cause irritation." There are benefits to some natural ingredients, which you can find on Paula's Choice website, but it's safer to stick to tested and formulated skincare products to prevent irritation.

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4. Skipping Sunscreen

There are different reasons as to why some people don't like using sunscreen. Some people worry it clogs their pores, while others don't fully understand the importance of proper skin protection. We often think that we only need sunscreen when we're going to be in the sun all day. In reality, you need to wear sunscreen every day, no matter what. Even if it's cloudy or you stay inside your house all day, UVA rays can penetrate through clouds and glass. Not only can it cause problems like sun damage and early signs of aging, but it can also lead to skin cancer. It's important to include sunscreen in your skincare routine and make sure you're using enough. It's best to follow the "two-finger" technique. Line your index and middle finger with sunscreen, from the base to the top of your finger, and apply to the face and neck.

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5. Adding Too Many Products to Your Skincare Routine

When you start getting interested in skincare, it's exciting and you want to try everything. You want to include every serum, oil, cleanser, exfoliator, toner, spot treatment and face mask, and now you have a 29-step skincare routine! The secret to skincare is simplicity. It can be inefficient to include too many skincare products at once. At best, it can just be unnecessary and at worst, it can be irritating. This can be especially if you use skin products with too many active ingredients like hyaluronic acid and retinoids, says Huffington Post UK. If you're fascinated with skincare, you can try different products and cycle them, so you're not using them all at once. A basic skincare routine includes a cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen. You can add toners and serums for an extra boost, but as soon as your skincare routine becomes longer than five to six steps, you might be overdoing it. Simplicity is key!

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Are you struggling with stubborn pores? Check out this expert advice for how to get your pores under control.