Should you hit the bed with makeup on? No. Should you over-exfoliate your skin? Hell no. Besides these common—and fairly obvious—skincare mistakes, you'd be shocked to learn that you're guilty of committing a few more skin sins, ones that you may or may not be aware of. Believe it or not, most of us slack once in a blue moon. And, while it's okay to be screwing up seldom, it is NOT okay to repeat these mistakes one too many times.
From skipping sunscreen to popping zits (we know this stimulates the feel-good hormone, but stop already), Cosmo reached out to some of India's leading dermatologists and skin experts to break down the most basic—yet severely damaging—beauty habits you ought to give up.
Aggressively Exfoliating Your Skin
Exfoliation is paramount—roughly twice a week, to get rid of dead cells—but any more than that may just be having the opposite effect on your skin. "Physical exfoliators contain hard granules that can leave micro-tears on your skin, increasing its sensitivity. Instead, opt for products containing glycolic acid or salicylic acid, which will exfoliate your skin the right way with the regeneration of new skin along with de-clogging your pores," suggests Dr Shibani Bhatia, Consulting Dermatologist, Kaya Ltd.
Skipping the SPF
"One of the biggest mistakes, by far, is not including sunscreen in your daily skincare regime. Even when indoors, make sure that you're wearing a moisturiser with SPF. Contrary to popular belief, even the lights at home can damage your skin. Hence, apply sunscreen that suits your skin type. If you have oily skin, opt for an oil-free sunscreen, whereas for excessive dryness wear a moisturising sunscreen to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays," explains Namrata Soni, Founder, Simply Nam.
"Wearing sunscreen can shield your skin against early signs of ageing, pigmentation, and even skin cancer. An SPF every day, all year round, is an absolute must. Apply a generous layer on your face, neck, ears, hands, arms, and other exposed areas," adds Dr Taruna Yadav, Forest Essentials. (Fun fact: 80 per cent of the UV rays can penetrate through the clouds on rainy days, causing significant skin damage).
Buying Into Baseless Myths
'If you possess an oily skin type, starve it off moisturiser.' Girl, NO. "By doing so, your skin can end up overproducing oil to compensate for the lack of hydration—a feedback mechanism of sorts. Go in for a lightweight niacinamide-based moisturiser and stick to using a foamy cleanser," Dr Shibani puts forth. "Additionally, if you're using a serum on oily skin, you need to lock in the formula with a suitable moisturiser," adds Namrata.
Postponing Anti-Ageing Skincare
Many people avoid jumping on the anti-ageing skincare bandwagon because they think they’re too young or too old to start. "It's important to incorporate the right products in your skincare routine from the get-go to maintain healthy skin. You may not be aware that most people begin to show signs of premature ageing by their late 20s and early 30s. The skin is exposed to myriad external stressors, which is why one must adopt a regime, early-on, that combats skin ageing," Dr Taruna posits.
The Pimple Popping Habit
Pimple popping can lead to the spread of bacteria, which, in turn, can aggravate breakouts. "By doing so, you are transferring the bacteria and dirt from your hands to the face, which can further inflammation. Plus, you end up forcing the bacteria and oil deeper into your skin by squeezing it, leading to scarring and blemishes. And, in case you didn't know, you might interfere with the natural healing process of your skin," explains Dr Geetika, a Mumbai-based Celebrity Dermatologist.
Shuffling Between Hot and Cold Water
According to Namrata, using excessively hot water for your face can open up your pores. Hence, make sure that you wash your face with lukewarm water. In case you already have large, noticeable pores, icing the skin twice a week can do wonders. Wrap ice cubes in a mulmul cloth with rose water for a soothing experience. Within a month or two, you will see a difference.
The Cardinal Sins of Unhygienic Makeup Habits
Borrowing and sharing makeup tools and products lead to the spread of dirt and bacteria from one person to the other, and the makeup products as well. "For instance, makeup sponges and brushes accumulate dead skin cells, dirt, oil, and bacteria. When this grime builds up, it could spur acne or aggravate other skin irritations such as rashes, redness, or allergies," says Dr Geetika.
She also puts forth, "Wearing makeup under a mask for prolonged periods can also lead to 'maskne' due to trapped moisture, perspiration, and clogging of pores. Since viruses and bacteria can live on fabrics for long, one must regularly wash their face masks." Dr Taruna adds, "Removing your makeup and cleansing your skin at the end of the day is an absolute must. Doing so helps your skin rejuvenate overnight and reduces the probability of developing blemishes."
Playing Mixologist Without Adequate Information
Dr Geetika warns that mixing skincare ingredients that do not necessarily complement each other can lead to acne and other skin conditions. "A few ingredient combinations counteract one another; they may be effective on their own, but together, they might act against your skin. Hence, ingredients that are not stable in a formula shouldn’t be layered as they significantly increase the risk of irritation."
Image: Courtesy Cosmopolitan Philippines