Skincare doesn’t have to be complicated, and issues ranging from visible signs of aging to acne can all be improved with the proper product regimen. But with that said, it’s easy to veer off-course—and even make some major mistakes without even knowing it. We tapped into two skin experts, New York City dermatologist Dr. Jessica Krant and Joanna Vargas, founder of Joanna Vargas Salons and Skincare Collection and facialist to the stars, for the biggest skincare no-no’s they see all too often.
More is not more when it comes to exfoliation, and too much of this good thing can have a detrimental effect on the skin. “Somehow women have gotten the impression that the more they use retinols, acids and scrubs the better,” says Vargas, who emphasizes that the skin can only take so much. “I have clients come in with red, inflamed skin and they think they need more peels and microdermabrasion.” Exfoliation is supposed to help your skin look and feel better, so if you experience negative side effects, take a break until your skin recovers—and consider a gentler means of sloughing away dead cells.
It takes roughly 28 days for the skin to “turn over,” which means it’s going to take approximately that long to see true improvement from any product—aside from ingredients such as hyaluronic acid that instantly yet temporarily smooth and plump the skin. According to Vargas, “Constantly introducing new products and using them only for a few days is bad for the skin.” Once you receive recommendations from your dermatologist or aesthetician, stick with them. “This will save you money, and probably save your skin, too,” Vargas adds.
Being too consistent.
Our skin’s need change from season to season and when traveling to a different climate, so it’s important to adjust your skincare regimen accordingly. All skin types can benefit from a richer moisturizer come winter, so if you use a lotion during the summer, try a cream during cooler months—and if you use a cream in warmer weather, layer with an oil to compensate for colder, drier air. But one thing Dr. Krant says should be consistent 365 days a year is sunscreen. “Everyone should use an SPF of at least 30 each and every morning, regardless of the weather or their plans for the day.” (Keep reading for more advice about sunscreen snafus.)
An unhealthy lifestyle.
Beauty truly comes from within, and if you’re not treating your body properly, expect it to show on your skin. Lack of sleep, too-much stress and too-little exercise all contribute to a sallow appearance, and according to Vargas, “Eating poorly is big. Skipping meals, eating junk at night and too much alcohol can all have an impact on the complexion.”
Applying sunscreen incorrectly.
Using SPF each and every morning is a step in the right direction, but optimal sun protection requires a bit more effort—especially when outdoors for extended periods of time. “Neglecting to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and after swimming or sweating can be almost as bad as not applying anything at all,” says Dr. Krant. Even more, most people don’t apply enough sunscreen to get the protection stated on the bottle. “One teaspoon is the ideal amount necessary for the face, while the average adult needs a shot-glass sized amount (one ounce) of sunscreen for their entire body,” she adds. Lastly, a high SPF isn’t just for days at the beach or pool. “The sun is stronger at high altitudes, so be sure to reapply often while skiing or hiking in mountainous regions.”