When it comes to looking after our skin, there are a few things we’re all guilty of doing at one point or another. You might skip the ‘toning’ step on a busy morning or settle for a makeup wipe after a night out (and we all know how that ends), but what we’re really talking about here are the bigger, less-forgiving mistakes which may have longer term effects on your quest for glowing skin.
Earlier this year, we met Sydney-based dermatologist, Dr. Eleni Yiasemides at a Neutrogena event, and below she shares the most common mistakes women make when it comes to skin concerns including both acne and ageing.
#1 Not protecting your skin from the sun
“If everyone could go back in time and make one change to their skin regime it would simply be this—protect their skin from the sun! Over 90% of the signs of ageing and damage to the skin are a direct result of sun exposure.” Dr. Yiasemides recommends wearing a cream that contains SPF daily as the first non-negotiable, and says that it’s never too late to start.
#2 Over-cleansing/washing the skin
“The skin contains natural oils and proteins that are part of the barrier of the skin that protects our skin and body from the environment,” Dr. Yiasemides explains. “Using harsh soaps, exfoliating products and detergents on the skin may strip the skin of these natural oils and can cause lots of problems including dermatitis and rosacea.”
Dr. Yiasemides advises that cleansing your face once a day (at night) is enough. Be sure to use a gentle, soap-free cleanser and avoid face scrubs and other harsh products can irritate the skin.
“I also highly discourage people from ‘double cleansing’ as there are no known health benefits related to this practice,” she adds. “Also, avoid long hot showers—this will dry out the skin.”
#3 Squeezing pimples or picking at spots
“Some people find it almost irresistible to not squeeze or pick their pimples, but doing so only creates more problems with scarring and pigment change in the skin,” says Dr. Yiasemides. What to do instead? Well, apart from resisting temptation at all costs, go beyond the cream and explore a treatment that works for you. “There are lasers and light therapy (LED) available which are safe and effective at clearing acne-prone skin.”
#4 Using the wrong products for your skin type
Dr. Yiasemides stresses that finding the right skincare regime is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Products promise all sorts of different things which may not work for you. Rather than trying to experiment yourself, seek help from a professional who will be able to examine your skin and steer you in the right direction. Dr. Yiasemides also warns against falling for clever marketing traps. “At the end of the day, the goal is to have beautiful clear skin and achieving this actually doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, spending more money on skincare doesn’t usually provide you with better results.”
#5 Believing that all your skin concerns can be cured with your diet
“Dermatologists have researched diet modification for a number of skin diseases and unfortunately, avoiding certain ingredients in foods (eg. the main suspects gluten and/or dairy) usually does not improve the appearance of the skin or cure your psoriasis, acne, rosacea, eczema etc.”
“Also, another common myth is that if you drink lots of water this makes your skin look younger and removes wrinkles—again this is simply not true. It’s important to stay hydrated but your level of water hydration really doesn’t cause or contribute to the appearance of your wrinkles.”