Your skin is one of the first things people see, but it can be hard to navigate through the sea of cleansers, wipes, scrubs, masks and other products to know what is best to use.
Suzi Bryant, master aesthetician at Carilion Clinic Cosmetic Center, shares some of the most common skin care mistakes so you can get on the right track to take great care of your skin.
Mistake #1: Not washing your face enough
You should be washing twice a day with something specifically made for your face.
“What you use to clean your body is not the right thing to use on your face,” said Suzi. “Use a facial cleanser and better yet, talk to an aesthetician for products that are best for your skin type.”
The best way to wash your face is with your hands and warm (not hot!) water. Use circular motions and go in an upward-and-outward motion.
Rinse with cooler water. Dry by patting, not rubbing, and use a clean hand towel—not the one you use to dry your hands. Apply cream or serum.
If you really want to use a washcloth instead of your hands, make sure it is microfiber so it is gentle on your skin.
You can use a wipe to remove makeup and precleanse, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you use.
Mistake #2: Over exfoliating
Whether you use a clarisonic brushes, charcoal or gritty scrub, you should exfoliate only once every third night.
Exfoliation is key because if you don’t exfoliate, any skin care products, sunscreen or makeup are just sitting on dead skin.
“You do have to be very gentle when you exfoliate,” said Suzi. “It may seem like a good idea to scrub hard to get rid of buildup, but that can actually scratch your skin and do damage.”
Wash your face first. If you’re using enzyme exfoliant, apply it in a circular motion but don’t scrub; you’ll let it sit for 10-20 minutes.
If you’re using a scrub, use it in a circular motion but be gentle; don’t push too hard. Rinse, pat dry and apply cream or serum.
Mistake #3: Using products that aren’t right for you
Every person is different. Some need skin products that are more soothing or calming, some need a cleanser that is more heavy duty, some need products to help prevent breakouts.
And some products that seem perfect when you pick them out at the store could actually cause breakouts or clogged pores.
“Using skin care regimens that aren’t right for you can leave your skin dry, red or irritated,” said Suzi. “Aestheticians are trained to know the ins and outs of different kinds of products and can help you find what will work for you.”
Share with your aesthetician what you’re currently using, how you’re using it and what your goals are—they’ll give you advice on how to use products properly or give you samples of new products to try.
Mistake #4: Not wearing sunscreen every day
You know you’re supposed to protect your skin. But do you know how much protection is enough?
“It’s important to use SPF 30-50 every day on your face, neck and hands,” said Suzi. “Those areas get the most exposure to the sun, even at times when you don’t realize it.”
Lots of moisturizers and makeup products have sunscreen in them, but it is usually a low SPF—and if you use a moisturizer that is SPF 15 and a makeup that is SPF 15, that doesn’t equal SPF 30!
Use sunscreen that is specifically formulated for your face, and put it on before your makeup. There are also products available that are tinted moisturizers combined with a high SPF sunscreen.
Mistake #5: Not doing anything for your skin
Aestheticians are trained and skilled—but they aren’t miracle workers. The way your skin look depends on you and what you do at home.
“At least 60 percent of the responsibility of making your skin look its best lies with you,” said Suzi. “A good skin care regimen and regular visits to your aesthetician add up to great skin.”
Your skin can look brighter, tighter, less red, less dry and younger when you use the right products and get microderms or facials at least once a quarter.
Do it for your skin, and do it for you. The sooner you start the better, but don’t be intimidated; your aesthetician is there to help you establish a routine that will work for you.