Put an end to seemingly innocent, everyday beauty blunders, and get glowing skin once more.
1. Sleeping in your makeup
“Going to bed without removing your makeup – and all that accumulated oil, dirt, bacteria and pollutants – can contribute to clogged pores, blackheads, whiteheads and acne breakouts,” says Dr Calvin Chan, medical director of Calvin Chan Aesthetic & Laser Clinic.
“Left overnight, makeup can dehydrate and age your skin (making it look more wrinkly, blotchy and patchy), as it interrupts healthy skin cell turnover and interferes with night-time repair. Day-old makeup is sticky, making it a great trap for free radicals and for locking in irritants and keeping moisture out.”
Makeup artist Larry Yeo recommends cleaning your face with a cleansing oil, then a gentle facial cleanser daily while in the shower. But on nights when you know you are going to crash, keep makeup-removal wipes by your bedside.
2. Relying only on SPF in makeup or skincare
Just because your foundation comes with a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF) doesn’t mean you can skip sunscreen. Makeup and skincare with SPF are not designed to replace sunscreen, but to give you added protection.
“Sunscreen adheres better to the skin as it is generally formulated to be more water- and sweat-resistant than makeup,” explains Larry.“Sun protection from makeup such as foundation is insufficient as we don’t apply enough for adequate UV coverage.”
When applying sunscreen, you generally need a coin-sized amount for effective sun protection. If you’re spending the day outdoors, reapply sunscreen once every two hours.
3. Piling on the products
Resist the urge to layer 10 to 15 products on your skin.“It is not necessary to use so many products as most have similar ingredients,” says Dr Joyce Lim, dermatologist at Joyce Lim Skin and Laser Clinic. What’s more, these ingredients might “clash”. “One product may have an alkaline base that neutralises the benefits of another with an acidic base.”
Overdoing the creams can also clog pores, give you acne and even increase your risk of allergic reactions, given the number of chemicals involved. So stick to a few essentials, such as a lotion, cleanser, moisturiser, serum and sunscreen.
4. Using only overly rich moisturisers
Choose your skincare products based on your age, skin type and skin needs. And know that not all powerful anti-agers, including retinols, may be suitable for your skin.
“Some moisturisers are very thick and oily. These are generally not recommended for Asian skin, which typically has more sebaceous glands and clogs more easily. Use these only if you have mature and dehydrated skin or are taking a winter vacation,” explains Dr Lim. “Sensitive skin tends to look dry. So don’t mistake it for dry skin and slather on super-rich moisturisers.”
If used on normal, combination, oily or sensitive skin, such products may cause irritation and even acne.
5. Cleansing excessively
Depending on your skin type, Dr Chan recommends washing your face just once or twice a day. Dry skin can get away with just a splash of water in the morning and a proper cleanse at night. Oily skin, on the other hand, must be cleansed both morning and night.
Washing your face too often with harsh soaps can upset your skin’s pH balance and strip away its protective natural oils.This exposes skin to environmental pollution, aggressors and bacteria, making it vulnerable to moisture loss, irritation and inflammation.
“And if you must cleanse, say, after a workout, follow with a moisturiser,” adds Dr Chan. “Choose cleansers that leave your skin feeling fresh, not taut.”
6. Switching skincare products frequently
Your skin evolves over time and so should your skincare. But instead of constantly changing your skincare products to keep up with the trends, it is more important to find products that are suitable for your skin type. Using the wrong ones is not only counterproductive but can also irritate the skin and inhibit healing, says Larry.
7. Scrubbing with a vengeance
The skin on your face is delicate so don’t go at it like you’re tackling the kitchen sink! “Overexfoliation may cause irritation or allergic reactions,” warns Dr Eileen Tan, dermatologist at Dr Eileen Tan Skin, Laser & Hair Transplant Clinic. “This can lead to itching, increased skin sensitivity and redness.”
“A physical exfoliator or scrub tends to be milder, and gives more predictable results than chemical peels. So if you have sensitive skin, start with that – if your skin starts to itch, you can easily rinse it off without much side effects,” she adds.
8. Using the same skincare in cold climates
You may have found the perfect moisturiser to use in hot and humid Singapore, but it will not suffice when you hit the ski slopes in Japan.
As weather conditions change, so should your skincare products. Says Dr Tan: “For cold weather, pick an oil-based moisturiser instead of a water-based one – oil creates a protective layer and helps skin retain moisture longer.”
Look for moisturisers containing ceramides, which also lock in moisture longer. Besides upgrading your moisturiser, consider boosting your skincare regimen with serums, oils and masks that are geared towards hydration and skin renewal.
9. Popping your pimples
Yes, it is official: Overzealous squeezing of acne can result in scars, especially depressed ones. “Acne contains sebum, bacteria and debris. When you burst the inflamed lesion, these impurities can spill onto surrounding skin and cause the acne to spread,” says Dr Tan.
So always allow your acne to heal properly, and use an anti-blemish product to zap the bacteria and speed up recovery. And keep your fingers off your face!
10. Concealing inflamed skin with makeup
“Your skin is already irritated, so treat the condition rather than mask it,” says Larry. Dr Tan says wound healing can slow down if your skin remains irritated. And if your makeup is contaminated, it may even cause a bacterial infection.
“Allow skin to heal by keeping it makeup-free for a week and following a basic skincare regimen consisting of oil-free sunblock, a gentle cleanser and a mild moisturiser.” If you need a little coverage in specific areas, a good eye concealer can camouflage flaws while allowing the rest of your face to “breathe”.
This article was first published in Simply Her August 2015.