Having some mild breakouts? Unsure of how you could improve your routine? Thinking about trying out that miraculous blackhead removal tip you saw on Pinterest? Check out these common mistakes and consider making a change. But be warned, each person is different and what works for one person may not work for the next.
Using baking soda on your face
Many Internet tutorials urge people to apply baking soda as an exfoliant (usually in combination with lemon juice), promising everything from less visible pores to a brighter complexion. The truth is that it can damage your skin’s barrier because of its pH, which is not adequate for use on the skin. Reddit user JoanofSarcasm has provided a well-documented and thorough scientific explanation regarding its harmful effects here. (And, on that note, lemon juice is bad for your skin too!)
Not moisturizing because you have acne
Your skin needs hydration, period. You might think that it will aggravate your acne, but by drying out your skin you are actually making it worse. Your skin will produce even more of its natural oils in order to compensate the lack of moisture and you will be caught in a vicious cycle.
Drying your face with a hand towel
Hand towels are full of germs that you don’t want to transfer onto your face. And if you have a designated face towel, make sure to clean it regularly. If you prefer paper towels, they are also a good option (although less eco-friendly).
Not wearing sunscreen daily
Sunscreen should be a part of your daily routine, applied after your skincare products and
before makeup. It will help combat aging in the long run and the more serious side effects of sun exposure. Make sure to buy one that is appropriate for facial use in order to avoid clogged pores or an allergic reaction. Another essential thing to look for when searching for your holy grail sunscreen is that is broad spectrum, that is, it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Reapplying it is also quite important, as it will wear off throughout the day and more so if you are sweating. For those who wear makeup, there are sunscreen powders which can be handy, since they won’t alter your makeup when reapplying. It might take some time to find the perfect sunscreen for you, depending on fragrance, texture, the white cast it leaves behind, how it works with your foundation, etc. but don’t give up!
Choosing physical exfoliation over chemical
Physical exfoliation refers to the method of exfoliation in which you are basically scrubbing your skin. This can be done with a scrub with microbeads, with an exfoliation glove or sponge or anything similar. Although useful for the rest of you body, it can be irritating and ineffective at opening up clogged pores on the face. Chemical exfoliation requires no scrubbing at all, merely applying the active ingredients and letting them do all the work. There are two types: BHAs and AHAs. Read about the differences between them over at Lab Muffin. (Remember to read all the instructions carefully and allow them to work for about 20 minutes before applying moisturizer or your next step in your routine. It is better if you use them at night, as they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun and don’t forget to wear sunscreen!)
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