4 Ways You’re Hurting Your Skin

People have spent a lot of time correcting skin mishaps, from the unexpected side effects of harsh products to post-laser scarring (which typically only occurs if you really mess up your SPF). Here we have rounded up the most common slip-ups below—the good news is that they’re super easy to avoid once you know about them.

1. Overusing Exfoliants.

This is what happens when you go too hard on your exfoliants: As you’re exfoliating away, a vital component of your skin, called the lipid barrier, starts to dissolve. When too much has been removed, your skin’s barrier becomes compromised. There are a host of symptoms you can experience if you’ve overdone it with acids or scrubs: Best-case scenario, your skin becomes dry and dehydrated; worst case, your skin becomes exceptionally sensitive, burning, and irritated.

2. Skipping Sunscreen.

Regardless of how good you think your genes are, using a good sunscreen can make or break how you age. Actually, it’s not even a case of if it can make a difference—it will. There are two types of sun rays we need to protect our skin from: UVA and UVB rays. To defend our complexion from unwanted photodamage, we need to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen every day. Yep, even when it’s cloudy.

3. Thinking DIY Treatments Are Always Your Friend.

People still try DIY treatments with crushed aspirin, baking soda, and lemon juice thanks to everyone’s favorite social vision board—Pinterest. But some things just aren’t meant to be used on your skin! While you can create a honey and yogurt mask to nourish your skin and gently exfoliate (it’s quite tame and feels lovely), aspirin, baking soda, and lemon juice all have the potential to wreak havoc on your skin’s barrier.

4. Thinking You Need To “Feel It Work”.

Perhaps the most overlooked mistake is not being kind to your skin. Generally, we tend to do too much or are too aggressive. The idea you need to “feel it work” for products and treatments to transform your skin is incredibly false. The truth is, in most cases, you don’t want to feel anything—or, at the very least, it should be minimal. A tingling or stinging sensation is your skin telling you something isn’t quite right, and you really should listen.