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Biggest Skincare Mistakes to Avoid

You know the basics of skin health: moisturize daily, remove your makeup at night, and wear SPF in the sun. But with trends and mixed information around ingredients, you're bound to have missteps — or, at the very least, questions about your skin care routine. After decades of helping troubled complexions, these are the most common skincare mistakes I see with my clients time and time again.

Mistake #1: Neglecting A Nighttime Routine  

A full nighttime skincare routine strengthens your skin against the next day's environmental aggressors. Therefore, your skincare can be fairly minimal when you wake up in the morning. 

Your skin absorbs products 60% better while you sleep. It's in recovery mode and regenerates skin cells, while during the day, the skin works to protect you. By preparing your skin at night and using products with active ingredients, you're making the most out of the body's natural rejuvenation process.

A basic nighttime routine has a cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream, and moisturizer. But a more thorough regimen may include face masks, eye patches, LED therapy, or massage using The Facial Massager three to four nights a week. The products and tools you use all depend on your skin's needs that day. 

Beyond facial skincare — you've heard me say it before — but don't bring the streets to your sheets. I bathe at night to clear my skin of everything it encounters throughout the day and take the time I need to prepare my body for a night of relaxation and renewal.

Mistake #2: Skipping Toner

Toner is often a second thought for many people, but it's actually a key step in an effective skincare routine. Toner should follow cleansing — note, it's not a cleanser itself — and is the first step in your treatment as it balances the skin's pH and allows for better absorption of the products that follow it. Whether it's called an essence, an infusion, or a toner, they all slightly hydrate and create a beautiful canvas for the rest of your routine.

Cleansing your skin properly is incredibly important, but a cleanser paired with water throws off the pH of your skin, which should ideally sit at 5.5, which is slightly acidic. Toner resets the skin to its natural pH, keeping it healthy, balanced, and functioning correctly.

I recommend applying toner with a press release motion. Pressing the skin opens slightly, and when you release it closes over everything on the surface. You should never skip cleansers, toners, or moisturizers, but I have to call out toner because it is so underrated!


Mistake #3: Forgetting the Neck, Decolletage, and Hands

I always remind my clients that the face starts at the nipples and ends at the hairline, and I encourage them to use their facial skincare on their necks, chest, and hands.

These areas of the body have fewer sebaceous glands, thin skin, and a lack of fat that contribute to early signs of aging. The lipid layer on the neck and decolletage is about 30 to 40 percent less than our faces because we have fewer sebaceous glands in this area. These glands are why acne develops more commonly on the face, but they also act as a natural moisturizer.

Simply sweep your usual skincare routine down until you reach the nipples, and rub any excess product on the back of your hands to keep them in good shape.

Mistake #4: Using the Wrong Products


I frequently see clients using products that aren't compatible with their skin. Sometimes they come to me with irritation because they are following the latest beauty fad or using an acid or retinol their girlfriend recommended. 

It's tempting to ask that friend with great skin what products she uses, but what works for her may not work for you. Everyone's skin is different, so it's best to determine your skin type and find products that complement it or work with an esthetician to create a customized skincare regimen.

I love trends in fashion, but following skincare fads can cause more harm than good. Moreover, even the best and most expensive products can backfire if you misuse them. For example, over-cleansing can result in redness, irritation, and dryness, and using a water-based moisturizer in freezing temps can cause broken blood vessels. So, to keep your skin healthy, skip the trends and only use skincare that suits your climate and skin condition.

Mistake #5: Over-Exfoliating

Over-exfoliating is a skincare mistake I see far too often. There is no need to scrub your face every day. We only have one skin, and we need to respect, support, and protect it.

Our skin is a protective barrier to our organs. Then we have our stratum corneum, or the outermost layer of the skin, that needs to be strengthened and nourished. If you over-exfoliate with peels and lasers, you risk weakening and eventually destroying it. The same can happen with at-home physical and chemical exfoliators and over-cleansing. 

Some exfoliation is beneficial for acne-prone skin to unclog pores, but start slow, and if your skin stings or hurts in any way, you know you've gone too far. A refreshing tingling is the most sensation you should have from exfoliating. Also, don't exfoliate active breakouts, as this can cause further inflammation. 

For physical exfoliators, I use very rounded and mild granules to avoid micro-cuts. I recommend consulting with an esthetician on which chemical or acid exfoliator is best for you, or at least starting with a mild formula.

Find the Best Skincare Products from Joanna Czech

With thousands of skincare brands to choose from and beauty fads tempting you all over social media, it's easy to make mistakes when it comes to skin health. It's best to start simple with science-backed products that respect and support the skin barrier function. A gentle cleanser, toner, targeted serum, and moisturizer will give your skin a healthy foundation. 

Have you experienced any of these skincare mistakes? What beauty trend have you tried that failed? Please share your tips and skincare journey in the comments.

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