This week I'm going to be sharing some common mistakes you might be making that are contributing to your breakouts! Many of these mistakes I found myself making, but when I changed these habits and utilized these tips, I did see a difference in my own skin. Some of these tips I learned by experimenting with different things, and some I learned directly from my dermatologist. Without further ado, here are 8 tips to see brighter, clearer skin.
#1: Washing your face incorrectly
When it comes to washing our faces, it seems like it should be pretty straightforward: soap and water. Except it's not that simple, especially if you are someone who wears makeup on the reg. There are two big mistakes I see most commonly:
Using makeup wipes as a "cleanse"
Not using the double cleanse method when wearing makeup
Makeup wipes are great to use if you've had a long night out and simply don't have the will or energy to go through your skincare routine. It's so important that even if you skip your evening skincare routine, take your makeup off at the very least (even if it is a makeup wipe). Leaving makeup on while you sleep is seriously a recipe for disaster and your pores will probably throw a fit. Makeup wipes are a quick fix, but you may want to consider switching to something like micellar water to remove your makeup. Here are some reasons to rethink the makeup wipe:
They cannot be broken down easily, so they end up in oceans and landfills
The ingredients in makeup wipes are not enough to properly remove your makeup and they leave a film on top of your skin which eventually creeps into your pores
The ingredients in most makeup wipes tend to be harsh and stripping of the skin, causing irritation and congestion
Usually you have to tug and pull at your skin pretty hard (especially with eye makeup) to get the makeup to come off, and even then there is definitely still some makeup left on your face. To remove all of the makeup (most of it), you probably would have to go through three makeup wipes and scrub pretty hard, which is a lot of waste and more work than actually washing your face at the sink.
Instead of makeup wipes, try a micellar water with a soft wash cloth to gently and thoroughly remove makeup. Or, you could try my personal favorite: the double cleanse method. To remove my makeup, I use an oil-based cleanser to gently massage into my skin to melt away makeup, dirt and impurities. After I rinse, I continue with a second, targeted cleanser. This second cleanse ensures that all traces of dirt, oil and makeup have been removed. This method makes my skin feel so clean and refreshed and gives the perfect blank canvas to apply the rest of my skincare.
Pro tip: when washing your face, use lukewarm water instead of hot or cold water. Sometimes washing with too hot of water can exacerbate current breakouts and produce redness. Water that is too cold will make it more difficult to remove makeup and melt away makeup and impurities.
#2: Not keeping your phone clean
Let's be real: we all live pretty busy lives so cleaning your phone is one we probably all forget about. But if you think about how many germs are consistently on our hands the
n transferred to our phone and then transferred to our faces..it's kinda gross. The bacteria on your phone will eventually make it to your face at some point or another. When you talk on the phone frequently or you scroll through social media for a few hours and then touch your face like we all do, it's a great idea to try to wipe down your phone with a Lysol or Clorox wipe if you can find any #corona) once a day to keep the germs at bay. This actually leads me to our next tip.....
#3: Touching your face
I know, I know. It's like, impossible. It's involuntary, we rarely ever think about it. Scratching your nose, brushing a hair out of your face, resting your face on your palm, fixing your makeup, itching your forehead. Did you know the average person touches their face 3 to 5 times per minute? That's a lot! To keep your face from being covered in germs, here are some things you can do:
Keep your hands clean and practice proper hand washing
Try to be mindful and aware of when you touch your face
Even though it's difficult, do not pick at your blemishes! Most often when you mess with your zits, they end up looking ten times worse than they did before and then you run the risk of an angry red scar which is harder to get rid of than an actual blemish. Leave the zit popping to your esthetician!
#4: Not changing your pillowcase frequently
When I first learned of this trick, I was pretty dumbfounded. It was such an obvious thing to do, but I just never thought about it! When I was breaking out badly on my cheeks, my dermatologist told me to "use one side of the pillow case one night, the next night turn it to the other side, and change the pillowcase the following night". Continue doing this forever. I definitely noticed a difference in my skin after just a few weeks! When we sleep, our skin still produces oil and sweat.... which dirties our pillowcases. If you continue to sleep on that same pillowcase for even a week without changing it, imagine how much dirt and bacteria you are laying your face in every night!
Pro tip: silk pillowcases are great for your hair and skin! The silk keeps your hair from being pulled while you sleep, and it can help prevent wrinkles caused by your sleeping positions!
#5: Exfoliating improperly
Okay guys, this is a big one. As an esthetician, one of the biggest mistakes I see clients making is improper exfoliation. When you exfoliate too much, your skin can become damaged and breakouts don't have time to heal. If you see a product that says "every day exfoliating face wash" please just run away. Especially if it is St. Ives Apricot Walnut scrub. Never use anything on your face that has any kind of nut in it (the shards will literally tear up your skin, causing microscopic cuts). When these little "wounds" are created in your skin, oil and bacteria can invade, causing pimples. Also, too much exfoliating will cause redness and irritation over time. When choosing a scrub, look for something that is gentle (rice-based scrubs are great)! When exfoliating with a scrub, pretend your skin is a balloon that you don't want to pop. Yes, you can be that gentle and still get results! Also, if you own a clarisonic, try not to use that every day, as that is a form of exfoliating and is pretty aggressive. Exfoliating 2-3x per week is recommended.
Second, when you don't exfoliate enough or not at all, it leaves your skin clogged and complexion dull. Especially for those of us with oily skin. The skin cells (when not exfoliated) will stick together and clog your pores, resulting in breakouts. That's why it's important to exfoliate!
Pro tip: my favorite way to exfoliate is to use The Ordinary's AHA/BHA peel 1x per week. I leave it on for 10 minutes while it exfoliates my pores (no scrubbing needed). After I rinse it off, my skin looks super glowy and fresh. Bonus: it's just under $8!
#6: Using DIY skincare
I never used to be passionate about this one until I watched Bella Thorne's skincare routine on YouTube and I was APPALLED. I couldn't believe some of the things she was recommending! (If you're curious on how not to do skincare, you can watch it here). Some of the ingredients she used on her skin that I've also heard of other people using as well were:
Lemon juice: this is by far my least favorite that I've seen. Lemon juice is so acidic that it can actually give your skin a burn. People use this to "tighten and brighten" the skin. Instead, try a Vitamin C serum as it will brighten your skin, fight premature aging and free radicals without giving your skin a burn.
Coffee grounds as a scrub: this one is just as bad, if not worse than St. Ives Apricot Walnut Scrub. The coffee grounds are actually tiny little shards that will cut up your skin. Stick to a gentle scrub instead or try The Ordinary's AHA/BHA peel.
Essential oils: yes, it is true that some products contain oils like lavender and tea tree oil, but those are formulated specifically for skincare. They are diluted and safe to use. However, when used directly on skin (undiluted), they can cause redness, itchiness, and sometimes an allergic reaction. Leave the essential oils for your diffuser!
Coconut oil: some people swear by coconut oil. I get it. It's great for cooking, for you hair, and for moisturizing your body, but not so great on your face. Slowly, over time, using coconut oil on your skin will start to block your pores which can then cause breakouts. If you are one of those people who use it and swear by it and never break out, you are lucky! But you can find a great moisturizer that has been formulated specifically for your skin that has the same benefits as coconut oil without clogging your pores.
When it comes to skincare, leave it to the chemists. There is great skincare out there that is safe for you to use on your skin, is cruelty-free, paraben-free, and safe for the environment. But just remember, "natural" doesn't always mean better. Sometimes your skin needs things you just can't find out in a field.
#7 Overdoing the skincare routine
I don't know about you, but I've definitely been guilty of trying to use too many products at once.... my skin wasn't happy with being overloaded. I was trying so hard to get every ingredient meant for skin into my face, but then I realized that you actually CAN overdo skincare. And most likely, your skin will break out from it. Like I've said before on this blog- just keep it simple!
Pro tip: Cleansers and moisturizers and SPF are absolutely necessary pieces of skincare. After you have found ones that your skin takes to, now you can introduce a good serum and/or treatment and a retinol. When looking to implement your skincare routine with a serum or treatment, figure out your skincare goals and do some research! If you want to work on your acne, look for a targeted treatment for that. If you want to target premature aging, look for a serum that is formulated with ingredients to fight aging.
#8: Not washing your face immediately after working out
I only share this one because even I am guilty of working out and then laying on the floor for an hour recovering (scrolling through Instagram) while sweat dries on my face and into my pores. Gross. It is so important to rinse your face after working out (especially a sweaty one). It's best not to wear any makeup while working out as well. Sweat + oil + makeup = some temperamental pores. If you're in a rush and can't shower immediately after a work out (we all have done it, let's be honest), even a splash of water on the face is better than nothing!
Small changes can make a huge difference in your skin. If you are struggling with breakouts that won't seem to go away, try incorporating these tips into your everyday life and you may be see a decline in breakouts.