We all have unique regimens for beautiful skin, and sometimes our reasoning for straying from these good habits can be just as varied. Laziness, carelessness or simple forgetfulness are usually the most common reasons we make skin care missteps. Some are worse than others, so here are the five most egregious skin sins you need to kick.
1. Skipping that face wash
After a long day, taking the time to hover over the sink might just seem like too much work. However, taking the two minutes to wash all the makeup off your face before sleep is crucial to prevent acne and enlarged pores. Plus, most eye creams and youth serums work best on clean skin. By skipping your nightly wash, you are setting yourself up to develop wrinkles on your face that could otherwise be prevented – and not the kind caused by your pillow.
You might be more likely to stick to your washing regimen if you pick out a face wash that you really love. Unless you are fighting acne or another skin condition, you usually don't need to lather up in the morning. Just a splash of water will usually do. This is especially true if you have dry skin – too much washing could dry it out even more.
2. Too much scrubbing and steaming
It's a good idea to exfoliate your face on a regular basis and do steam treatments to help open up your pores, but moderation is key with these practices. Scrubbing your face with harsh exfoliants too frequently (or too vigorously) can make your skin overly sensitive and cause broken capillaries – those tiny veins just beneath your skin.
Steaming seems like it would moisten your face, but in reality it can be extremely stimulating to the skin and end up drying it out if done too often. Your skin will then produce more oil to make up for the dryness and can cause breakouts.
Bottom line: Exfoliate gently and steam no more than once a week for no longer than 10 minutes.
3. Using old makeup
"I spent $40 on this mascara, I'm not throwing it away!" It can be hard to toss old cosmetics when you spend a lot of money on them, but you will thank yourself later. Expired products perform poorly – hello, streaky foundation and runny eye makeup – and the bacteria they grow can cause breakouts on your skin and infections in your eyes. Toss mascara every three to six months and all other makeup after a year.
4. Reserving SPF for summer
When it's still dark out when you wake up in the morning, it can be hard to remember to wear sunscreen. But SPF is still essential all throughout the winter months. Of course, you probably spend more time outside with more skin exposed when it is summer, but UVA rays – the ones that give you wrinkles and dark spots – are beaming down every day of the year. The worst part? They can penetrate windows and clouds, so can damage your skin even if you are inside all day long.
Make like a vampire and pick athat has SPF, even in the darker times of year. In the winter months it's probably OK to just apply to your face, neck and chest, but in the summer, remember to use an SPF 30 or higher body lotion, too!
5. Giving up
It is easy to get discouraged when you are trying a new skin care regimen or product line. However, one of the main reasons these don't work for many women is because we give up too easily. It usually takes about eight weeks to see results from many ingredients, so don't toss your new face wash or toner before then. At the same time, remember to incorporate new skin care products slowly, about one every two months. This gives your skin time to adjust so it doesn't become over-stimulated and inflamed.