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Skin care is a tricky matter. After hoarding up on those expensive products and tools that advertise flawless skin, frequent breakouts can annoy you now more than ever! It may not be the product’s fault alone, however. Simple things that you’re doing on a daily basis in a bid to make your skin radiant may be the reason why your products may not be working their magic. Read on to find out some of the mistakes you could be making.
Did You Know How Much Women Spend on Skin Care on An Average?
A study conducted in 2016 by CashKaro, a cashback and coupons provider in India, revealed that 77% of the women who responded to their survey spend Rs. 1000 to Rs. 5000 or more on beauty products and services, per month! Sunscreen, kajal, and lip balm were their makeup essentials and they preferred to shop from international brands such as Nivea, Maybelline, and L’Oréal. However, more recently, Indian women seem to be going back to their roots in terms of beauty products made from natural ingredients, and spending a bomb, while at it. Products infused with local kitchen ingredients such as turmeric, coconut oil, lemon – all of which have been prescribed as remedies for any malady since time immemorial – are now gaining popularity, ever since women have started edging away from makeup products with chemical content.
Is Your Skin Care Routine Not Working?
A religious cleansing routine, several beauty products, and a considerably lighter wallet later, you’d expect your face to be spotless and glowing – except that to your horror, it looks exactly the same; with a few pimples more! So what could you have possibly done wrong after following the 20 different tutorials and skin care tips you found online, each advertising a different technique or product?
In your quest to achieve flawless skin, it doesn’t matter how many gold flakes are present in your beauty creams, if following flawed methods or routines is the main reason that those pesky zits refuse to bid goodbye. It may be the simplest mistake that you’re making, correcting which can give you the glowing skin that your camera’s filters grant you!
12 Skin Care Mistakes You Are Making
There may be certain instructions or methods that you may be following, believing that they’re beneficial for your skin. However, these could be doing your skin more harm than good. Ensure that the following steps are not a part of your skincare routine to get the beautiful skin you desire!
1. Substituting Sunscreen with SPF Makeup
If your makeup has SPF value, consider it an added benefit, and not a replacement for the real thing. In fact, Dr Leslie Baumann, a dermatologist, says that it will require you to wear 7 times the normal amount of foundation and 14 times the normal amount of powder to experience the same effects of applying sunscreen, which is not realistic!
2. Natural is Not Always Better
It’s easy to be misguided by the plethora of information out on the internet, some of which tell you techniques that seem easy and effective, up until the breakout on your face proves otherwise. One example for this is using pure lemon juice as a cure for acne. Well, here’s the thing. Does it contain properties which are good for your skin? Yes, and that acid is found in skincare products. Is pure lemon juice, therefore, good for your skin? No, because the high acidity content messes with the natural pH of the skin, not to mention its harmful reactions when you step out into the sun! Research heavily on any similar discovery and ensure that it is indeed safe for use.
3. Using Only Water to Wash Your Face
Water, with all its magical properties, does not remove the dirt that’s stuck to your face, excess sebum and oil, and remnants of makeup. While soaps are to be avoided on the face completely, depending on your skin type, you can choose an appropriate face wash. A salicylic acid based face wash is essential for oily skin, while those with dry skin can opt for a cleansing milk formula or a paste made out of gram flour. That being said, staying hydrated is absolutely necessary for your skin to glow from within, so don’t cut back on drinking water!
4. Washing Your Face Too Much
In addition to the previous point, you don’t need to keep washing your face every so often! You will see that breakouts are less frequent when you’re not continuously washing your face! While keeping your face clean is important, the oils in the face get removed when it is subject to constant washing, which causes the skin to overcompensate and overproduce oils.
5. Exfoliating Too Much or Too Little
Exfoliating is important but it has to be done just right. When skin is scrubbed too much and too often, you’re stripping it of its natural oil barrier, and it tends to look red and raw, and feel a little too tight. If you’re not exfoliating regularly, however, you’re making your skin prone to acne and clogged pores. The frequency of exfoliation should depend on your skin type – stick to twice a week for sensitive skin, and 4 times a week if you have tough skin.
6. Not Moisturizing Oily Skin
The benefits of moisturizer cannot be repeated enough! One misunderstanding is that people with oily skin need not apply moisturizer, as its applicable only to people with dry skin. Even for people with an oily skin type, your skin gets dehydrated from being exposed to the sun or the air-conditioner for too long, from constant sweating, even constant washing! Choose a water-based or oil-free product for your moisturizing needs. The product is a must for all skin types; making it a staple in your purse and an essential step in your skincare routine will have your skin thanking you in the years to come.
7. Depending Too Much on Your Lip Balm
While applying lip balm gives your lips much-needed moisture, certain ingredients in the product like phenol, menthol, and salicylic acid can dry your lips out further, which requires you to apply the balm over and over again! Further, flavours and scents in lip balms have the same effect and can make the lips chapped with continuous use. Go for mild, simple, petroleum-jelly based products.
8. Wearing a Lighter Coat of Sunscreen with Higher SPF
When you buy sunscreen with a higher SPF content, it is natural to apply a lesser amount than you would while applying sunscreen with a lower SPF content (say SPF 15 or 30). The sun protection factor (or SPF), however, measures only the UVB rays of the sun, and not UVA; this means that the sunscreen provides protection mainly from UVB rays only. Furthermore, it has been noticed that a sunscreen with SPF 50 provides marginally increased protection than one with SPF 30, which requires you to put on the same amount for protection.
9. Enjoying Those Extra-hot Water Showers
A hot water bath feels like heaven to your weary body after a long tiring day, and some people believe that the high temperature kills germs on the body too. However, hot water wreaks havoc on your skin by disturbing its natural balance and stripping off its oily barriers, which causes the skin to overproduce oils to make up for the loss. While the water dehydrates your skin, the harsh chemicals in your soap add to the harm. Opt for lukewarm water, a milder soap (fragrance-free and not much lather), and slather on the moisturizer once you’re out of the bath!
10. Drinking Diet Soda
As much as you think that you’re doing your body a favour by switching from regular sugary drinks to diet soda, the artificial sweeteners in these diet sodas can be a reason for your constant acne problems. The sweeteners can affect insulin levels and change the composition of good bacteria in your gut, causing the effects to become visible as acne on your facial skin.
11. Avoiding Your Daily Coffee
If you’re on a caffeine detox, it may be affecting your skin. You may have cut back on your coffee intake to reduce your dependence on it, but quitting cold-turkey is not necessary. In fact, the antioxidants in coffee help to fight premature ageing which arises from free radicals. While this is definitely good news, ensure that you don’t radically up your coffee intake to beat the ageing process!
12. Applying Acne Medication on Affected Areas Only
While the medication takes care of the blemishes that are already present, it doesn’t prevent new breakouts. If your skin is acne-prone, apply a thin layer of the medicine on all areas of your face.
Skin Care Advice by Dermatologist
Dr Jaishree Sharad, the celebrity cosmetic dermatologist, answers questions on skin care in this interview with the team from Nykaa cosmetics.
Watch: Skin Care Tips and Essentials
Dr Sharad mentions the certain points in her interview:
- There are certain ingredients and properties one should look for in their products. For sunscreen, don’t just look at SPF – look at PA+++ as well. Day creams need to be light moisturizers, while night creams can be on the heavier side.
- Skin care needs to start right from when a child is able to take care of his own personal hygiene. They can use products meant for kids itself.
- For working women, a good regime starts with cleansing twice a day, removing makeup before going to bed, loads of sunscreen, and moisturizing constantly.
- In terms of dermacosmetic products, which are a combination of cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, she recommends using them as they penetrate till the mid-layers of the skin and are well-researched products. They are also monitored by the US FDA.
- She also stresses on how important it is to follow a skin care regimen to suit your skin type. For different conditions like pigmentation or acne, it’s important to get your skin care products in order and stick to them!
- Skin requires lifetime maintenance, and lasers cannot provide any permanent benefit that calls for stopping your skincare routine.
7 Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid
While there is an extensive list of chemicals that could cause your skin harm, here are a few ingredients that you necessarily need to check for while buying skin care products.
1. Sunscreen chemicals
Found in sunscreens (what a surprise!), chemicals such as avobenzone, homosalate, PABA, benzophenone and so on, which are endocrine disruptors and can be easily absorbed into the body. Some of these can cause cellular damage and hormone disruption. Instead, choose a physical sunscreen with zinc or titanium dioxide content.
While selecting your favourite perfume, ensure that it is devoid of formaldehyde, which can also be mentioned as imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM-hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15 on the bottle. It causes irritation of the skin and is a known carcinogen.
3. Mineral Oils
White oil, liquid paraffin or pariffinum liquidum are commonly found in moisturizers and are usually petroleum ingredients. The coating they provide to the face is similar to that of a plastic wrap and can restrict the skin’s ability to breathe or take in moisture.
Found in a variety of skin care and cosmetic products, talc increases the risk of exposure to ovarian cancer. It can also cause breathing problems if inhaled accidentally, especially when used on babies. Cornstarch, baking soda, chickpea powder, rice flour etc. are good alternatives to talcum powder.
5. Pure Essential Oils
While some compounds found in essential oils can have beneficial antiseptic or antimicrobial properties, they can sometimes contain geraniol, which is a contact allergen. Carrier oils which are made from the fatty component of the plant, such as its seeds or kernels, may not be very fragrant, but can still be more beneficial for your skin.
While usually not listed on labels, dioxins can be present in antibacterial agents such as triclosan and PEGs, and are known endocrine disruptors. They are known to cause cancer and other toxic effects to various organs of the body and to inhibit its development too.
This preservative is being used an alternative to parabens which are known to be harmful. However, phenoxyethanol is not a safer choice as it has been seen to cause reproductive and developmental problems. Products containing this preservative are banned in Japan and European countries.
It’s not always easy or practical to look out for every harmful ingredient on bottles or to stay loyal to a set of products always. But you can always avoid other regular and simple mistakes that you’re making, such as:
- Constantly touching your face.
- Not changing your pillowcase too often.
- Not cleaning your makeup brushes.
- Sharing your makeup products.
- Not tying your hair while sleeping.
Simple changes, a healthy diet, loads of water, and a regimen that suits your skin type, and you can have skin that looks almost Photoshopped!