9 Skin Care Mistakes That Are Drying Out Your Skin
Dry, flaky skin is the ultimate good-skin-day buzzkill (after acne blemishes, of course). Even more frustrating than the dry skin itself is the notion that a handful of bad skin care habits could be making our dry skin worse—without us even realizing it. Ahead, we’re sharing nine common mistakes that could be drying out your skin, plus how to fix them.
Mistake #1: Over-exfoliating
Exfoliation offers numerous skin benefits and should be part of every gal’s routine. Ridding the skin’s surface of dead skin cells can not only make a complexion look bright and radiant, but can also help skin care products work more efficiently. But there could be too much of a good thing. Over-scrubbing the skin with—or exfoliating too often—can leave skin feeling raw, dry, and irritated. The jury’s still out on how often one should exfoliate, so it’s best to start with a lower cadence, maybe once or twice a week, and slowly build up a tolerance. Use a gentle scrub that gently exfoliates, like Kiehl’s Pineapple Papaya Facial Scrub.
Mistake #2: Skipping Moisturizer
This is a big no-no! All skin needs daily hydration, regardless of type. It’s important to moisturize immediately after cleansing, exfoliating, or showering, while skin is still slightly damp. If you are spending prolonged periods of time outdoors in cold and windy conditions, it’s a good idea to moisturize as soon as you head back indoors to reintroduce any lost moisture from the elements into the skin. Just as important as moisturizing is choosing the right product. Always pay attention to your skin type before choosing a moisturizer. Also, keep in mind the time of year. You’ll want to swap out your summertime go-to light, gel moisturizer in favor of a creamy, heavy-duty moisturizer during the cooler fall and winter months.
Mistake #3: Using the Wrong Cleanser
Most people believe that a foamy cleanser is the best way to achieve clean skin and pores. This might hold true for some skin types, but not necessarily for those with dry skin. Foaming cleansers can be too harsh for dry skin and strip away natural oils, making already dry skin well…more dry. A good alternative that’s suitable for all skin types—even sensitive!—is micellar water. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water effectively removes makeup, cleanses, and refreshes skin with no harsh rubbing or rinsing. The result? Skin that’s perfectly clean and hydrated without over-drying.
Mistake #4: Taking Hot Baths and Showers
Unwinding in a hot bath or shower at the end of a long day may feel relaxing, but the side effects it could have on your skin are anything but soothing. Hot showers and baths can be incredibly drying. Instead of scalding hot water, opt for lukewarm and keep the shower/bath length on the shorter side. Before you dry off completely, apply a creamy body lotion—like The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter—onto damp skin to lock in moisture.
Mistake #5: Using a Toner With Alcohol
Alcohol is one of those skin care ingredients you should steer clear from if you have dry and/or sensitive skin, since anything astringent-based can strip skin of its vital moisture and leave it feeling dry. If a gentle toner is what you’re after, try Vichy Pureté Thermale Toner. It’s alcohol-free and enriched with hydrating glycerin and soothing Vichy Mineralizing Water to refresh and moisturize skin.
Mistake #6: Sleeping With Your Makeup On
We all have our lazy days from time to time, days when it’s really really hard to muster up the strength and energy to remove our makeup. We feel for you, really, but we also know how important it is to go to sleep with a clean canvas. Sleeping with your makeup on doesn’t allow your skin to breathe, and can lead to a dry and irritated complexion (not to mention breakouts!) come morning. Since it’s while we snooze that our skin undergoes self-repair, it’s vital to not provide any roadblocks to that process. Store makeup remover wipes—like NYX Professional Makeup Be Gone! Makeup Remover Wipes—on your nightstand if you can’t make it to the sink. That way you’ll have no excuse to snooze while donning your smokey eye.
Mistake #7: Not Wearing Sunscreen
You may love the bronzed glow it gives you in the summer, but the sun can do a lot more harm to skin than good without the proper precautions. In addition to visible signs of aging and an increased risk of certain skin cancers, unprotected sun exposure can also dry out the skin and leave it looking dull and fatigued. Always, always, always wear broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher—even if it’s cloudy! Pick a moisturizer that has built-in SPF—Lancôme Bienfait Multi-Vital SPF Lotion is one of our favorites—so you get the hydration benefits plus the UV protection. Win-win.
Mistake #8: Sitting/Sleeping in Moisture-Sucking Environments
Love to blast the heat while you sleep? It might feel ultra-cozy, but it could be drying out your skin. Same goes for sitting in an office that pumps artificial heat on a cold, wintry day. What should you do? Place a humidifier next to your bed to help counteract some of the drying effects. If you’re at the office, keep a facial mist on your desk and spritz every so often. La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water offers a quick, refreshing burst of hydration.
Mistake #9: Licking Your Lips
Don’t forget, lips are skin too. If you have a habit of licking your lips, try your hardest to break it. Saliva may provide short-lived relief on a dry pout, but it’s filled with acidic enzymes that can further dehydrate the delicate skin on your lips. Instead of your tongue, use a salve or balm with a rich, moisturizing formula with oils and butters. Need a recommendation? Peep our review of Maybelline’s iconic Baby Lips lip balm, here!
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