12 Skincare Mistakes You’re Making

thayers witch hazel toner, paula's choice BHA, Foreo Luna MINI 2, Biologique Recherche P50 V

It’s easy to get confused when it comes to skincare and the internet! There is so much advice out there. A lot of conflicting information can be boiled down to personal preference, but some advice is flat out wrong! Below I’ve listed some of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to caring for their skin. Each mistake is accompanied by an explanation for why it’s harmful to your skin, and comes with some advice for what you should be doing instead.

The Mistakes

1. You’re Not Rotating Your Pillows or Tying Your Hair Up at Night

I’m guilty of this! Most of us don’t wash our hair everyday; we use dry shampoos to keep the oil at bay. What this means is that our hair is full of pore clogging products and bacteria. At night, your hair has an 8-hour (if you’re lucky–shoutout to all my fellow insomniacs) transfer session of all of that bacteria and hair product onto your pillow. Washing your sheets every two days is just not doable for most people. However, switching out your main pillow’s case every few days can make a huge difference in the amount of bacteria and gunk from your hair that’s coming into contact with your face at night.

Another little thing you can do is tie your hair up at night! Even if you’re switching out your pillowcase often, your hair itself can still make its way all over your face at night. I like to wrap my hair in a ponytail with one of these scrunchies or one of these silk scarves if I’m trying to preserve a style. Not the most glamorous look, but it works! Silk is best for the hair because it doesn’t cause frizz when it rubs against it.

2. You’re Over-Exfoliating

A lot of us have been taught that we MUST exfoliate often because the dead skin on our faces will get sucked back into our pores with oil and cause acne! This is somewhat true, exfoliating is an important step in maintaining healthy skin, but over-exfoliating will do you more harm than good! You can compromise your moisture barrier, which allows more bacteria through the top layer of your dermis. This lets harmful, acne causing agents, to penetrate deeper into your skin. No thanks! I have an in-depth post on why over-exfoliating prevents your skin from healing here.

hada labo gokujyun, foreo luna mini 2, dr jart oil balm, caudalie clay mask3. You’re Using A Manual Exfoliator

Another common mistake is using a manual exfoliator on your face. I used one for years and when I made the switch to acids, my skin turned around for the better. Manual exfoliators cause micro-tears in your skin, which make it easier for bacteria to enter, can cause premature aging, and overall deteriorates the wellness of your skin. The feeling of freshly exfoliated skin is addicting, I will admit, but I’ve found my fix in Foreo’s Luna Mini 2. I wrote all about my love for this anti-bacterial vibrating face brush here.

Acid exfoliators are the way to go for healthy, glowing skin. Two of my all time favorites are Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliator and Biologique Recherche P50 V! Both prevent congestion, brighten the skin, and even the tone of the skin out overtime. If you’re just beginning with an acid exfoliator, I would recommend the Paula’s Choice, which is a cheaper, but equally effective introduction. Here, I’ve written about how it completely changed my skin for the better.

4. You’re Under-Exfoliating

Similarly, if you aren’t exfoliating at all your skin will be susceptible to congestion, clogged pores, and acne. How often one should exfoliate depends on the individual. For more sensitive skin types, twice a week is probably best. If you have tougher skin, 3-4 is possible, though it might not be needed. Pay attention to how your skin reacts to the exfoliator, if you’re exceptionally dry, patchy, flaky, or feeling tight, you’re probably overdoing it.

5. You’ve Got Your Skin Type Wrong

It’s important to learn the difference between dryness and dehydration. Permanently dry skin is mainly down to genetics in the same way that oily skin is. Dehydration is a condition that can affect all skin types. Dehydration can be treated with hyaluronic acids. My all time favorite, Hada Labo Rohto Gokujyn Hyaluronic Acid Lotion is cheap, effective, and easily accessible. One of the most common mistakes is the belief that if you have oily skin, you shouldn’t hydrate your skin. This is false! Everyone needs moisture in their skin. Oily skin types can bind water to their skin using a hyaluronic acid, but keep the actual lotions they put on top lightweight.

6. You’re Following Misinformation From the Internet

I’m a firm believer in fact checking. I love a good DIY as much as the next person, but we shouldn’t be following a lot of the information regarding skincare that floats around the internet. There are tons of DIY’s on Pinterest, for example, that say to use lemon on the face. Please don’t do this. I’ve started a board on my Pinterest for dermatologist approved skincare DIY’s. If you’re unsure if someone’s claims are accurate, Google around and look for legitimate sources from skincare professionals and people with doctorates.

7. You Haven’t Researched How Active Ingredients Interact with Each Other

One of the most potentially harmful mistakes one can do is not research how active ingredients interact with each other. In an effort to keep this post on common mistakes in skincare to the point, I’m going to redirect you to The Klog’s post on which actives you shouldn’t mix together. It’s a great site with lots of in-depth skincare lessons.

8. You’re Mistaking Natural as Better

Natural beauty products have really taken off in the past few years. One of the biggest mistakes I see is falling prey to the fallacy that natural is better for your skin, no questions asked. Poison Ivy is natural but its awful for you. Niacinamide is created in a lab, but is an excellent ingredient for sebum regulation and pore refinement. Being concerned about “chemicals” is misleading. Everything in the world is made of chemicals, water is a chemical, coconut oil is made of chemicals, everything is chemicals. Naturally occurring chemicals are not inherently better than artificial compounds. Both artificial and naturally occurring chemicals go through rigorous studies to determine whether or not they should be going on our faces. Coconut oil, for example, is actually awful for most people’s faces. It clogs pores, is greasy, and doesn’t sink in. Ceramides are lab-created lipids that are excellent at hydrating and nourishing the skin–and they’re made in a lab. The best thing you can do is forget the idea that natural is better and instead just figure out what works for you.

9. You’re Skipping SPF

Missha All Around Safe Block Essence Sun SPF45, Missha All Around Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk SPF50SPF is necessary! Repeat after me, SPF is necessary! SPF prevents skin cancer, aging, wrinkles, and hyper-pigmentation. SPF is also necessary when using actives to treat your face. Many actives are photosensitive, meaning that they are light-sensitive. If you’re using actives such as Retinals, Vitamin C, or BHA’s/AHA’s on your skin, you need to be using an SPF during the day. These products can make your skin more sensitive, prone to burns and hyper-pigmentation if you neglect an SPF. As a side note, you should use these products at night!

Some people avoid SPF because it can clog pores, give a white cast, and feel greasy on the face. I neglected sunscreen for a long time because of all of these factors, but when I became interested in using actives on my face I knew I needed to find something I could tolerate.

Missha is an Asian beauty brand that makes excellent and super affordable sunscreens for all skin types. For oily-normal skin types they have a sunscreen milk, the Missha All Around Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk SPF50, that dries matte and clear–it makes an excellent base under makeup. For normal-dry skin types, the Missha All Around Safe Block Essence Sun SPF45 is the best I’ve found. It applies exactly how a normal face lotion does. If you have normal skin this is hydrating enough that you could use it as your daily face lotion. For dry skin like myself, it’s an extra dose of hydration and my SPF in one. I can’t get enough of this stuff!

10. You’re Doing Too Much at Once

Much like over-exfoliating your skin can do more harm than good, using too many products at once can cause irritation, dryness, and sensitivity. The more products you are applying in one go, the less effective the later products will be. Eventually your skin can’t absorb anything well enough for it to work. Try rotating your treatments to get the most out of them (and to save yourself some cash).

11. You’re Leaving Residue On Your Facethayers witch hazel toner, the ordinary AHA peel, diptyque ambre candle

Leaving anything on your face for too long is potentially harmful to the skin. Even your skincare should be removed and reapplied after a period of time. If you don’t cleanse in the morning, it’s important that you at least wipe off the night’s skincare routine and start with a fresh slate. Your face collects bacteria non-stop so despite the fact that all you did was sleep, your face still needs a rinse. My preference in the morning when I don’t feel like I need to do a whole cleansing routine is the Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera. Witch Hazel is a non-drying, natural astringent that kills bacteria while gently hydrating the skin. Swipe this over the face with a cotton pad to remove any residual residue from last skincare application and start fresh! This is also my daily toner of choice because it regulates your skin’s pH, and the lavender and aloe vera soothe redness.

12. Your Water is Too Hot

We’ve all heard that heat kills germs and for many of us, this idea is subtly ingrained in our minds. Hot water is a big culprit in dehydrating our skin. Hot water causes oils to melt. The natural oils on your face occur for a reason, they’re there to hydrate your skin and keep the layers of your skin underneath protected. If your water is too hot, your natural oils will melt and the water your skin is retaining will escape, because water molecules bind together. So, hot water=removing natural hydration from your skin. Lukewarm or cool water will keep your skin happy!

13. Extra: Your Diet Could Be Thwarting Your Efforts

What we eat is deeply personal. I would never give out advice saying that if you cut out x from your diet, all will be fixed. That’s too simplistic. I will say that there have been many studies linking hormones found in dairy to the appearance and health of one’s facial skin. If you feel like this could be an issue for you, try eliminating dairy for a few weeks and see how you react. Everyone is different, I have found that dairy doesn’t really affect my face in anyway. Some of my friends get cystic pimples from it. It all depends on the individual’s hormone balance.


I hope you all learned something from this post! Avoiding these common mistakes with small fixes can really make such a difference in the appearance of your skin. Leave me some feedback down below if you liked it or if you have conflicting experiences, I’m always looking to learn from my readers!