So many times I have thought to myself: if only I knew this any sooner!!! I’m pretty sure that many of you can relate to this too. Obviously, it’s better to learn something later than never. Therefore, now that I’m in my forties after making some gross mistakes, I can finally say that I’ve nailed my skincare routine. Alas, and just in time before my skin gives up on me!
My skin troubles have always frustrated me because just like every other girl, I long for young looking, clean and glowing skin. But when that’s not the case, we notice it. Everyone does and unfortunately, it takes some time to sort it out. It betrays us if we have poor sleeping and eating habits or are going under a hormonal imbalance.
Hence, let’s delve into the four worst skincare mistakes I’m guilty of (and perhaps many of you too). Let me start off with a huge chapter.
Skincare Products Not Designed for Your Skin Type – Mistake No. 1
Skincare products come in every imaginable price tag! And I’ve tried most of them. I squandered on the big brand names with those big marketing campaigns that use BIG celebrity names from the film and fashion industry to advertise. You know the kind that promises to deliver a bit shorter than a miracle. But I also tried the ones over the drugstore counters and lately, some of the all natural ingredient ones.
My conclusion is that there are no skincare products that deliver miracles. That was a hard reality for me to accept at first, because I foolishly kept hoping I find the ONE. After a while, I reckoned that I just wasn’t lucky enough to find that product that would live up to its promises. But, believe me luck has very little to do with it.
After some time I had to face the reality of things. All skincare products work only on the surface – only! That’s it! Hence, the best thing to do is to use one that is a good fit and feels comfortable on your skin (i.e. if you have oily skin type then stir away from an oil-rich formula). Thus, it is important to read the labels carefully. (Make sure you know what the cosmetic labels mean though).
If in any doubt, then a consultation with your dermatologist will clear up everything for you and more importantly help you determine your actual skin type at that given time. (Our skin type may change as we grow older). Hence, a dermatologist will make it easier for you to navigate through all those skin products and lead you to your best fit. That’s as good as it gets. So, after so many product trials, I have finally settled for products that work for me in an honest way.
Exfoliating – Mistake No. 2
Exfoliating is a great way to keep skin looking younger. It really helps with clogged pores – one of the factors that lead to acne. Men who shave every day or every other day are really exfoliating deep. Obviously, I’m not suggesting that we start shaving. Hell no! But a good exfoliating routine can really help, as long as we don’t overdo it.
However, you may be guilty of over-exfoliating. I know I was. Actually, I was foolish enough to exfoliate every day as part of my skincare routine and believe me the results were not what I expected. I ended up with a skin surface that looked as if it was just sanded down. But the worst part was that a few hours later my glands started working overtime and my skin turned even more oily than the day before.
After a consultation though with my dermatologist, who explained to me the wrongs and ills of over-exfoliating, I stopped. It took a while for my skin to reach a new balance, but it did. So nowadays, I use a Vitamin C rich cream overnight prescribed by my dermatologist. And I couldn’t be happier for I wake up with a smoother and fresh looking skin.
Cleanliness – Mistake No. 3
Acne can shutter your self image. You can wake up one morning with one zit that can lead to a full blown outbreak. If you don’t take the right steps to find a balanced remedy with the care of a med professional like a dermatologist, then you might end up struggling with breakouts and their consequences again and again. And it’s not worth it!
Obviously, popping a zit is a really bad idea. Chances are that you’ll infect your skin and may cause unnecessary scarring. Cleanliness is super important. However, from my experience, washing my acne-prone skin too often didn’t solve my acne woes. After every wash, my skin felt dry and the worst part is that in the long-run my glands were trained to work overtime.
If you are guilty of that too, then let me tell you this. The remedy is simple: use a gentle (and I mean gentle) cleanser suited to acne-prone skin. And don’t over-wash. Usually, twice a day will suffice, unless your med professional says otherwise.
Moreover, I follow three “rules” that prevent and/or contain breakouts. The first rule is to never touch my face with my hands. The second rule is to change my pillowcases every other day. And the third one is that I never sleep without cleansing my face off from any make-up/sunscreen. (Oh, and I also wash my blush application brush with an antibacterial soap on a regular basis). Anyway, as silly as these may sound, they keep bacteria at bay. Hence, my breakouts are rare and always manageable.
Did someone shout: ‘But what if a hormonal imbalance is at the root of the problem?’ Then, you’ll definitely going to need a med professional to look into it. Still, I’m convinced that these basic cleanliness rules work in containing the spread of bacteria and keep any inflammation to a manageable level.
Wearing Sunscreen in the Summer Only – Mistake 4
Every morning, no matter what the season is, I wear sunscreen. To be exact, I don’t wear any make-up foundation. Yes, that’s right (but that’s another story I’ll get into another time). The bottom line is that I use a tinted SPF sunscreen to protect my skin all year round and it’s as good as any foundation keeping it all simple and minimal.
As we head into winter’s coldest days, if you are also making any of these four mistakes then, make it a point to stop doing them. Visit your dermatologist for a consultation. Learning how to look after your skin from a professional will pay off in the long run. Surely, we all age. I’m 44 and the first wrinkles have settled on my face. But I also believe that it’s possible to age gracefully and taking care of our skin properly, hydrating the right way and attaining better eating and sleeping habits, all contribute in that direction.
Till next time, xo