Despite our efforts to achieve glowing, flawless skin, many of us are making mistakes that stand in the way of the finest potions and lotions. Here, the 14 biggest mistakes women are making with their skin, and the fixes to set things right. Gorgeousness, here we come!
Mistake: You’re not wearing sunscreen every single day
We are all sick of hearing this advice (it gets more play than Lady Gaga!), but dermatologists are probably just as tired of repeating it. This is the single biggest mistake most of us are making with our skin, and there’s no need: it’s an easy gaffe to fix.
The Fix: You know it already: Wear an SPF lotion or cream with broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection every single day. But why every day? While UVB rays are strong in summer, UVA rays stay the same year-round. “If you go outside to shovel shovel snow on the most overcast day of the year, you’re getting the same amount of UVA as if you were on the beach during the summer,” says Dr. Jeannette Graf, a Board certified, clinical and research dermatologist. Slather up, whether or not the sun’s out.
Mistake: You think the SPF in your makeup is good enough.
We love a time-saving double duty product as much as the next lady, but this kind of two-fer just doesn’t cut it. Why? Because dotting foundation on to even out skin tone or sweeping a powder across the t-zone simply isn’t a generous enough application to offer real sun protection.
The Fix: “You really need to use an SPF cream or lotion,” says Dr. Graf. In the winter, wear a moisturizer with SPF, but “during the summer you really need to bump it up and use a real sunblock that doesn’t have any other ingredients but sunscreen and antioxidants,” advises Dr. Graf. “You need that extra protection.”
Mistake: You pick and squeeze.
We’ve all been there–it’s just so hard not to!–but it’s
a habit that’s not doing anything to help. “When you have a pimple under the skin, there is absolutely no way that you are going to be able to do anything about it in terms of squeezing,” says Dr. Graf. “Nothing will come out and nothing good will come of it if you touch it.” That is, unless you call scarring a good thing. (Nope!) Another mistake? Using a warm compress to draw out whatever is in there. That just expands the irritation even more, explains Dr. Graf.
The Fix: “If you start to feel a blind pimple under the skin, take it to the dermatologist’s office for a shot.” Can’t make it to the doctor? Apply an ice pack, suggests Dr. Graf. The cold will help constrict the blood vessel and could help make the blemish smaller.
Mistake: You over-dry your skin.
It’s the battle of the blemish, and we’re all just trying to use our strongest artillery. But this plan of attack actually backfires. Over-drying the skin creates irritation and redness, and what’s worse, dry skin leads to clogged pores. Keep this up, warns Dr. Graf, and “you’re actually going to get more breakouts and more clogging.”
The Fix: Take the path of moderation and lay off the full-on product offensive. You might need to try using your acne treatments every other evening or only a few times a week.
Mistake: You treat your entire face like it’s a problem area.
It’s like trying to use a chainsaw to shape your eyebrows. While you might have a few oily areas, like across your t-zone, you don’t need to treat your entire face with products formulated for oily skin. When you treat combination skin like an oil slick it leads to irritation. And you know where irritation gets you–more clogging and more blemishes.