10 Common Skincare Mistakes You Could Be Making

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Rebecca Baxt, M.D., a board certified Manhattan and New Jersey dermatologist says she has noticed an influx of female patients who feel they are doing everything right and still are unsatisfied with the appearance of their skin. What’s more, she often sees patients who feel they are doomed to bad skin based on myths that “you get the genes your parents have.” As such, she is setting the record straight on what really does sabotage the skin. 

Trying to scrub away acne: Acne is not a hygiene problem; it's a hormonal issue. Excessively cleaning won't get rid of acne. Instead of attempting to scrub your pimple-prone skin into submission, clients should wash it gently with a foaming face wash that's designed to lift off dirt without irritating skin. And if clients do feel compelled to enlist a scrub, use it no more than once a week, choosing a product that has even-sized, round beads, not rough particles

Sunscreen: The big mistake women make is trusting the sunscreen label that reads 'all day protection. The truth is that no sunscreen lasts more than four hours. Regular sunscreen use is even more important for clients treating their faces with Retin-A or alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids or getting peels or microdermabrasion, all of which can leave skin more sensitive to the sun's ultraviolet rays.

Alcohol: Consider alternating drinks with water. Drinking alcohol causes dehydration and dilated blood vessels, both of which make skin look tired and unhealthy. Try to drink one glass of water per alcoholic drink consumed to help skin stay hydrated.

Stress: Stress causes your body to go into survival mode by pumping adrenaline to heighten the senses. While this is healthy if you are in danger, prolonged periods of stress can take a toll on your skin. When the body is in survival mode, the most vital organs like the heart, lungs, and brain work overtime. The skin, a less vital organ, becomes deprived of nutrients which eventually affects its appearance. Combat stress by incorporating relaxation techniques into your routine like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.

Not hydrating your skin enough: Drinking eight glasses of water a day and applying a moisturizing cream to your face regularly can save you the headache of dealing with a cracked and sensitive skin.

Cleansing 101: Sleeping with makeup on will leave the skin's pores clogged and prevent it from breathing. No matter how tired you feel, clean your face before going to bed. Using harsh cleansers to clean the skin will strip away the natural oils that protect it from dirt, pollution and other factors that can easily damage your skin. Do your skin a favor and use mild cleaners, they're much gentler and still effective.

Lack of sleep can affect how your skin looks dramatically, leading to dark circles, and dull looking skin. Get at least eight hours of sleep each night and you'll wake up to a much more fresh looking skin.

Thinking that "More is better". When it comes to the skin, more is actually worse, too much washing, too much cream, too much scrub can totally damage your skin.

Washing your face at the wrong time: Always wash your face after you rinse out your hair products and conditioner in the shower, never before. Many conditioners contain pore-clogging isopropyl myristate and other hair products often contain coconut oil—both are common acne-causing ingredients that you don't want to leave on your skin.

Not using a retinoid: Retinol, a form of vitamin A, is the only topical ingredient proven not only to prevent lines and wrinkles but to minimize the ones you already have.

—Rebecca Baxt, MD, MBA, FAAD is a Board Certified Dermatologist specializing in both cosmetic and general dermatology for adults and children. For more information, please visit www.cosmedical.com or visit Baxt Cosmedical Facebook Fan Page.

Can't get enough skincare tips? Check out our story about 5 common skincare myths.