7 Deadly Sins of Skin Care According to the Experts
Every day, people all over the world commit high crimes and misdemeanors against their skin. Picking is just the tip of the iceberg. Whether intentionally (we all cut corners now and again) or because you just didn’t know the rules, your skin will ultimately let you know there’s a problem.
To help you keep your nose clean, our skin care experts illuminate some of the most egregious, but less obvious, skin care sins they see in their practices. If you’re guilty, it’s time to turn your regimen around.
To err is human, to forge good skin care habits is divine.
SKIMPING ON PRODUCTS
“People will come in monthly for facials but in between will go home and use drugstore and makeup counter products on their face,” says Kimberly Miller, esthetician, acne specialist, and owner of Kimberly Miller Skin in Scottsdale, AZ. “Not all products are created equal, and even though products say they have retinol, vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, etc., the potency and the way its extracted are not the same as in the professional products.”
USING PRODUCTS INCORRECTLY
“I find that a lot of people use products incorrectly or they use products that aren’t right for their skin tone or type,” says Rochelle Rudolph, owner of Los Angeles skin clinic The Modern Ü. She points to spot treating pimples as an example.
“Trying to get rid of a zit by globbing on a high concentration of benzoyl peroxide as a spot treatment may kill that one zit, but doing this can burn the skin and cause discoloration. This ends up being much harder to fix than the little breakout it started out as. It also leaves bacteria in the surrounding skin that will cause flare-ups. I’m very particular about showing my clients how and when to apply each specific product so they can avoid problems and get the best results. This is key in taking proper care of your skin, especially when using medicated products. A little goes a long way.”
Using wipes instead of cleansers. Skipping the toner. Going to bed with makeup on. All these things will show up in your skin. If you’re not washing properly, pores will get clogged with dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. If you skip the toner, you miss the important step of priming skin for better absorption of additional products. If you sleep with makeup on, you not only clog pores, you rob your skin of the benefits that your nightly regimen products bring during the reparative sleep cycle.
Shawn Lynn Haviland, a medical aesthetician, certified laser specialist, and owner of Denver’s Cherry Hills Facial Aesthetics compares a skin care routine to working out.
“Skin care is a commitment. Just like exercise. It takes a lot of consistent work and a variety of professional treatments. It also involves taking care of yourself at home with good skin care and diet.”
Whether physical or chemical, regular exfoliation is necessary for clearing away dead skin cells, removing blemishes, and generating new skin cells. It also generates collagen and elastin. It removes dullness, minimizes fine lines, and keeps skin looking smooth and rejuvenated.
“I find that people have a huge fear of over-exfoliating their skin,” says Cassie Fehlen aesthetician and owner of Minneapolis aesthetic studio Skin MPLS.
“Your skin will send you signs to tell you if it’s getting close to over-exfoliated, so listen. If you’re looking a bit pinker than usual or feeling a bit chapped or wind-burnt, lay off the exfoliation for a day or so. Then gently restart once you’re feeling better. You just need to give the skin time to repair, and then it will be better than ever.”
TAKING BAD ADVICE
A lot of misinformation gets circulated on the web. Be sure that you’re getting advice from a credible source. Some will tell you to put highly acidic lemon juice on your face (extremely irritating and highly disruptive to your skin’s protective barrier) or to use coconut oil as a moisturizer.
Jill Syslo, co-owner and head esthetician at New York’s holistically inspired med spa Sacred Skincare points out the dangers of blindly following internet advice.
“Coconut oil is rated a four on the comedogenicity scale. [Zero being non-comedogenic and five being the most.] Coconut oil has so many amazing benefits for your health and body, just keep it off your face if you’re prone to breakouts.”
IGNORING YOUR DIET
St. Louis aesthetician Shaylyn Gilmer reminds us that “hydration and a healthy and well-balanced diet have a huge impact on skin health.
“I tell my clients to steer clear of dairy, which in my opinion, may be a trigger for acne. Also avoid foods containing a lot of sugar, which can cause inflammation and accelerate the aging process. Stay hydrated....water, water, water. Boost it with a slice of lemon for some added vitamin C.”
NOT PROTECTING SKIN FROM THE SUN
Protection from UV damage with a daily SPF is essential, said every esthetician ever.
“We all need sunscreen. I find that so many women coming in don't use sunscreen every day. We need it on our face and on our hands as we’re out driving in our cars. Everywhere. All the time.” - Melanie Brown, aesthetician and owner of the Colorado-based salon, A Billion Lashes.