Skip To Content

    Skincare Experts Told Us 17 Mistakes We Didn't Even Realize We Were Making

    "The biggest mistake I see in acne patients is spot-treating only."

    We asked skincare experts Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Dr. Lindsey Bordone, and Karen Fernandez (a licensed aesthetician) to tell us the most common mistakes we're making with our skin, and their responses were so, so helpful:

    1. Over-washing your face — you end up stripping the skin and that's NOT good.

    Jonathan Knowles / Getty Images

    "The most common mistake I see in patients with oily skin is over-washing the face. In an attempt to remove excess oil, they end up stripping the skin, impairing the skin barrier, which leads to irritation and inflammation." —Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD.

    "For people with oily skin, the inclination can be to remove the oil, but that often leads to over-stripping the oils from the skin. When skin is dried out like this, it stimulates the body to produce oil and you can end up in a cycle where you’re actually training your skin to create even more oil." —Karen Fernandez, licensed aesthetician.

    2. Stop over-exfoliating your skin just because you see dry flakes.

    Imagehub88 / Getty Images

    "People with dry skin commonly see flakes and think that they need to exfoliate. However, if you have dry skin, listen to what your skin needs and apply moisturizer. Exfoliate only if you still have flakes after moisturizing." —Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD.

    "Many people with dry skin are actually experiencing a buildup of dead skin, which causes a dry and dull appearance. While you need to moisturize, it's also important to exfoliate that dead skin off." —Karen Fernandez, licensed aesthetician.

    3. Spot-treating acne isn't the best tactic when it comes to getting clear skin. You need to treat the entire area.

    Srisakorn / Getty Images

    "Think of your face as having thousands of pipes connecting your oil glands to the surface of the skin. With acne, we know that all of those pipes are somewhat clogged, but we cannot predict which 'pipe' will form a full pimple. Rather than only treating the pimples you see, it's important to treat the whole area that breaks out to prevent new pimples from developing. The biggest mistake I see in acne patients is spot-treating only." —Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD.

    4. Don't use 10,000 anti-aging products because you think you'll see quicker, more youthful results. It's actually better to stick to one single ingredient.

    Danielsbfoto / Getty Images

    "People with aging skin want to see immediate results, so they combine multiple/different products. This frequently leads to skin irritation. The better option is to stick to a single ingredient (like retinol) and continue using it over time. The fight against aging skin is a marathon (not a sprint!) and there is no silver bullet." —Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD.

    5. Using products that strip the skin's barrier — it makes sensitive skin even more sensitive.

    Boyloso / Getty Images

    "If you have sensitive skin, it is important to choose a cleanser appropriate for your skin type. Rather than foaming cleansers that leave you with a squeaky clean feeling, choose hydrating products that respect the skin barrier. Looking for that squeaky clean feeling is the biggest mistake I see in patients with sensitive skin. It actually represents post-wash dryness and is harmful to the skin barrier and can make sensitivity worse." —Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD.

    6. Don't be super aggressive with sensitive skin! Gentleness is key.

    Flashpop / Getty Images

    "A mistake I see with those who have sensitive skin is aggressively exfoliating, especially in rosacea-prone patients. Facial skin is some of the most delicate skin on a person’s body, but between exfoliation and chemical peels it certainly endures some of the harshest treatment. For most people, and especially for rosacea patients, gentle skincare is key in keeping inflammation to a minimum." —Dr. Lindsey Bordone, MD

    7. Not wearing sunscreen every day! Especially if you're prone to redness or have rosacea.

    Lipowski / Getty Images

    "If you have skin that is prone to redness, it usually means that you have a mild form of rosacea. Rosacea is a condition where the skin is extra sensitive and overly reactive to the environment, leading to facial flushing and burning. The biggest mistake I see in these patients is not wearing sunscreen. We know that UV light can make rosacea and facial redness worse. Even on cloudy days, UV light can have a significant impact on the skin." —Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD.

    8. Stop leaving your makeup on (especially foundation) for a long period of time. It leads to irritation and breakouts.

    Jonathan Storey / Getty Images

    "The biggest mistake I see when it comes to makeup is leaving it on the skin for too long. Even though a bottle may be labeled as 'long lasting,' it is not good for your skin when you leave makeup on all day and all night. Make sure to wash your face in the evening to thoroughly remove makeup. Dirt, oil, and sweat all mix with makeup, leading to skin irritation and promoting acne breakouts." —Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD.

    "The biggest acne mistake is not washing at night and then using coverup the next day. Always go to sleep with clean skin so it can heal and recover, and train yourself to get into nighttime routines that promote less acne." —Karen Fernandez, licensed aesthetician.

    9. Not cleaning your skin thoroughly at night creates a whole mess of problems.

    Difydave / Getty Images

    "Keeping your makeup on at night is the biggest mistake you can make. Nighttime is when the skin renews itself, and sleeping with makeup on robs your skin of this important time. I am a big believer in a two-step cleansing routine at night: Start with a makeup remover and then follow up with a cleanser that is right for your skin type." —Karen Fernandez, licensed aesthetician.

    10. Consuming a ton of dairy and sugar — which can lead to more oil production that causes more acne.

    Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

    "When it comes to diet, there is mounting data showing that dairy and sugary foods can promote acne breakouts. Both are thought to stimulate oil production from your sebaceous glands, causing a worsening of acne in predisposed people." —Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD.

    11. And overall, a poor diet can accelerate the aging process.

    Runphoto / Getty Images

    "Genetics are the biggest factor in how a person ages. Beyond genetics, living a healthy lifestyle will help your genes reach their maximum potential. So, just as you would eat healthy to avoid high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity, following the same healthy diet will help your skin stay young." —Dr. Lindsey Bordone, MD

    12. Using too much moisturizer if you're oily/acne-prone.

    Artfully79 / Getty Images

    "Don't use too much moisturizer if you're oily/acne-prone. Acne-prone patients who produce a lot of oil do not need to apply moisturizer in most cases. If your skin is dry, then applying a moisturizer is appropriate but applying moisturizer just because you’ve been told it’s part of a standard nighttime skincare routine may not work for everyone. —Dr. Lindsey Bordone, MD

    13. Another mistake is thinking you only need sunscreen if you're going to be outside — that's just not true. You need it every day, even indoors.

    Jun / Getty Images

    "A common mistake I see is the misconception that you only need to wear sunscreen when it is sunny or if you’re going to go outside. You need sunscreen every day and even indoors." —Karen Fernandez, licensed aesthetician.

    14. Don't ONLY rely on the SPF that's in your makeup as sunscreen — it's not enough.

    Triocean / Getty Images

    "The SPF levels and formulas in makeup are usually not adequate to be broad spectrum protection, which is the gold standard for anti-aging. So, always apply sunscreen under your makeup!" —Karen Fernandez, licensed aesthetician.

    15. Washing your face with a washcloth causes wrinkles = another skincare myth.

    Runphoto / Getty Images

    "Wrinkles are caused by lowered production of collagen. Aggressive washing or drying with a washcloth or towel can cause skin rashes or irritation." —Karen Fernandez, licensed aesthetician.

    16. Pore-clogging makeup (mineral oil and glycerin-based products) aren't doing your skin any favors.

    Cecile Lavabre / Getty Images

    "Using low-quality makeup that is mineral oil and glycerin-based isn't good. These ingredients will clog your pores." —Karen Fernandez, licensed aesthetician.

    17. And finally, drinking water is the most inexpensive beauty product you can find.

    Compassionate Eye Foundation / Getty Images

    "Water is by far the most important thing for your skin! I tell clients the most inexpensive beauty product with the highest return on investment is simply drinking enough water every day. Your skin will immediately perk up if you feed your body enough water and maintain healthy hydration." —Karen Fernandez, licensed aesthetician.

    What questions do you have for skincare experts? Let us know in the comments!