I am by no means a beauty blogger or even a licensed esthetician for that matter; however, if there is one thing I know, it’s skincare. Growing up with acne means that I have tried what seems like every treatment or routine under the sun. This also means I have made my fair share (more than just a fair share, if we’re being honest) of mistakes when it comes to taking care of my skin. In the age where “do it yourself” tutorials are everywhere and professional skincare advice is—at most times—inaccessible, it can be easy to give in and try that DIY spot treatment you found on Pinterest. Despite this, I am here to share what I have learned from my own mistakes in hopes of saving your skin and your time.
1. Sleeping in Makeup
Maybe you have a friend like I do, who swears by sleeping with your makeup on to obtain clear skin. Perhaps you, like most of us have, just end up being too tired or too lazy at night to be bothered with removing your makeup. However, taking off all of your makeup at the end of the day is a very important step in taking care of your skin. Not only can sleeping with makeup on clog your pores, making your acne worse, but it also prevents you from being able to apply skincare products you might need. As tempting as it may be to forgo washing your face and crawl into bed after a late night, spending just a few minutes with a cotton ball and some micellar water can ensure that your skin (and your pillowcases) will thank you in the morning.
2. Picking/Popping Pimples
Personally, I find Dr. Pimple Popper both equally fascinating and unsettling. However, I know I am not a doctor and that popping or picking at your acne can actually do more harm than good. Of all people, I understand that there are times when we have that one annoying pimple that just refuses to go away. If you can resist the urge to head into your bathroom and get rid of it once and for all, you are doing yourself a huge favor. Popping or picking at your acne can spread the bacteria around to other parts of your face, potentially creating even more breakouts. Another problem with this is that while there is a chance your pimple will be gone, you might only irritate it even more or worse, be left with a scar. While it may take a few extra days, an alternative and safer method for dealing with a breakout is to be consistent with a spot treatment such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
For the longest time, I felt that I needed to literally scrub my acne away instead of being patient and treating it. It’s true that our skin can benefit from exfoliation as it helps remove dead skin among other things that can clog our pores and result in acne. However, like most things in life, exfoliation is only good in moderation and too much of it can actually make your skin worse. In truth, many physical exfoliants and scrubs are too harsh for our skin, especially when used in excess. Similar to picking at your acne, harsh facial scrubs can irritate your skin and spread bacteria around your face. If you are exfoliating, try to only do so once every week or even once every two weeks and look into different options such as chemical exfoliants (The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is a personal favorite of mine!) that may be less abrasive.
4. The Danger of DIY
I will be the first to admit that I used to love trying DIY face-masks and acne treatments that I found online. While not all DIY skincare products are inherently bad for you, it’s imperative to be careful and do your research before putting anything from your kitchen on your face. A popular hack you might have heard in the past is to use either toothpaste or lemon juice as a quick and easy spot treatment. I am guilty of using both of these items as “skincare” in my middle school years. The reality is that the chemicals in toothpaste are too harsh and irritating for your skin, especially for those of us with sensitive and dry skin. Irritating your skin like this may only lead to even more breakouts in your future. You might be thinking that lemon juice cannot be bad to use on your face because it is natural, right? Unfortunately, in regard to skincare, natural ingredients do not always mean the product is better for your skin. Lemon juice is too acidic to be used on your face without risking irritation, hypersensitivity and altering the natural pH balance of your skin.