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Common Skincare Mistakes

Bad skincare habits: We’ve all got ‘em. Even if we don’t mean to. Who among us hasn’t fallen asleep in a face of makeup or used a rough product that did more damage than good?

Some of the most common skincare mistakes are easy to fix. Simply rotating out your expired products for new and improved versions or adding a new cleanser might make a world of difference. You can even turn stressed skin into glowing skin without too much effort.  

Let’s talk about which bad habits you have (no judgement) and how you can break them. You might already have some of the best skincare fixes in your bathroom cabinet already!

Bad skincare habits to break

You don’t have a dermatologist at home, but luckily you have one giving your great skincare advice right here!. Some easy to institute changes make a big difference. 

Not sure where to start? If you recognize any of the following in your daily habits, you’re not doing your skin any favors. 

1. Skipping SPF. Wearing sunscreen is important every day. Even when the weather is overcast or raining, some UV rays can penetrate the clouds and lead to premature aging or cancer. If your foundation doesn’t have an SPF — it’s time to change that! Invest in a quality SPF moisturizer or liquid foundation with sun protection today. Check out our favorite TIZO products! For extra protection layer your tinted makeup over SPF 30+.

2. Exfoliating too much. Exfoliating feels good. It gets rid of those dead skin cells and leaves your face feeling as smooth as a baby’s bottom. We get it. But exfoliating more than three times per week can compromise your skins’ protective barriers. If you’re exfoliating every night — cut back. Happy skin barrier = good and bad bacteria living in harmony instead of wreaking havoc.

3. Sleeping in makeup. Your skin encounters a lot of pollutants during the day, and also produces a lot of natural oil. You can keep both factors in check with nightly washing. If you don’t wash your face before bed, you risk the presence of free radicals on your skin, which attack your collagen and elastin.  Not washing away the day can also lead to clogged pores that can stretch in time to accommodate dirt, debris and oil causing larger looking pores.

4. Picking at your skin. It can be tempting for some people to pick at pimples and dry skin. But there’s a reason they made an entire show about a doctor who pops pimples for a living. It’s not meant to be done at home. In fact, picking at your skin can leave more than scars. The habit can also cause discolored skin. Picking pimples may also cause a rupture beneath the skin that leads to an even bigger breakout. Especially when picking with dirty nails, finger bacteria is transferred deep into the pore.

5. Using expired products. Like the condiments in the back of your fridge, it may be time to throw out some of your skincare products. They have expiration dates for a reason. After their end date, skincare products are less effective and you may notice them separating or changing consistency. Medical grade skincare typically has about a one year shelf life unless otherwise noted as a good rule of thumb.

Most of us have done one of these things in our lives. Try as we might to be careful, we make our stressed skin worse for the wear. But isn’t it great to know that adding SPF, dialing back the exfoliants, and keeping our hands off our skin can make a big difference?

Also helpful is examining the ingredients in your products. More on that below. 

Which products are doing you dirty?

Some ingredients that are often found in skincare products are also prone to irritating your skin. You can change your toning schedule, switch exfoliants, and wear SPF 30 every day — and still have issues if your products contain components that harm your skin. 

While there are a lot of common ingredients that might be too harsh for your skin (including formaldehyde!), these are three common offenders to consider avoiding. 

1. Parabens. This group of ingredients serve as preservatives in skincare products and other beauty products. Among other benefits, they keep your products from growing bacteria. But that’s not all. While the FDA says there is no proof parabens affect human health, parabens may seep through your skin into your body. Since they act like a weak estrogen in the body, there is some concern that they may increase the risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers. Bottom line: while they won’t cause immediate harm, going paraben-free may be a safer option nonetheless. 

2. Fragrances. Artificial fragrances in soaps, moisturizers, lotions, and other skincare products often act as allergens. The American Academy of Dermatology Association says that fragrance can be one of the leading allergens to cause contact dermatitis (a common red skin rash). Stick to fragrance free products if you have sensitive skin, or naturally derived scented products.

3. Alcohol. You’ll find alcohol in a lot of skin products, especially toners and other liquid products. The main issue with alcohol is that it can cause major dryness. If your skin is already on the dry side, you may want to ditch skin products with alcohol as a leading ingredient. It will strip the skin of it’s natural oil and break down the barrier creating a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Use a toner with active ingredients every other day and alternate with something more gentle like a mist.

How to spot serious skin problems

As with any advice about your skincare, we have to point out that there may come a time when more personalized advice from your dermatologist is needed. If you are in pain or changing your skincare routine for four weeks doesn’t offer relief from symptoms like itchiness, extreme dry skin, or redness — it’s time to call your dermatologist. 

For example, if you suspect you have eczema (a chronic disorder that leads to red, itchy, and severely cracked skin), your dermatologist can recommend a customized skincare plan. Likewise, if you have regular irritation without explanation or you continue to get heat rash, call your doctor to get some personalized advice. 


It’s easy to make common mistakes in your skincare routine, but it’s just as simple to fix them. Stop exfoliating every day, wear sunscreen any time you leave the house, and take off your makeup before bed. Cater your skincare routine to your skin type, avoiding products that exacerbate dry or oily skin. 


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