While we all have the best intentions when it comes to taking care of our complexion, we sometimes sabotage our skin without realizing it. Daily habits make a major difference when it comes to preventing damage and premature aging. For my story for The Week Smartlife June issue, I spoke to renowned dermatologists for an insight in to the 10 most common skincare mistakes and how to fix them.
Applying Vitamin E capsules on skin
Vitamin E capsules for oral consumption do not have absorption into the skin and should not be broken and applied to the skin believes Mumbai based Dr. Apratim Goel, Dermatologist and Laser Surgeon. Being a thick oil, it can cause skin irritation and also aggravate acne and rosacea by further clogging skin pores. Also Vitamin E deficiency is very rare and this vitamin has many interactions with other medications, she adds.
Falling for the herbal/organic trap
It’s a myth that herbal or organic products are safe for skin and the chemical based ones are harmful. The truth is that ALL skin products have chemicals in it and not all chemicals are harmful. “Just the term ‘herbal’ does not mean that it is chemical free. Herbal or organic products have all the chemicals and ingredients that other products have. It is impossible to formulate a product without chemicals. So don’t use a product blindly just because of the herbal tag. I would recommend the use of a product based on skin condition and effect desired,” says consulting Dermatologist Dr. Sushil Tahiliani, Hinduja Healthcare Surgical, Mumbai.
Washing the face several times each day
Keeping the face clean does not equal washing it several times a day. In fact, it is a good idea to wash your face only at night. “Use soap and medication only at night. Simply splash water on your face in the morning and follow up with sunscreen. Washing too often produces the same problems as prolonged sun exposure. When the skin’s natural oils are dried up by the sun or constantly washed off, the sebaceous glands will produce even more oil which will clog pores,” reveals Dr Soma Sarkar, Dermatologist from Mumbai.
Skipping the sunscreen
Tan isn’t sexy. It’s the first sign of skin damage. Forgetting to apply sunscreen can leave you with mortifying wrinkles and sun spots. Even on cloudy days, pamper and protect your skin with a good SPF as the UV-A & UV-B rays are omnipresent and can cause harm to the skin. “If you want to prevent wrinkles, wearing sunscreen 365 days a year, rain or shine, inside or out, is a must. Always make it a point to carry a small tube or spray of sunscreen SPF 30+ and keep retouching every four hours or so. It’s a little effort but worth all of it,” suggests Dr Anil K Agrawal, Head Of Skin And Cosmetic Surgery, Park Group Of Hospital, New Delhi.
Be gentle with your face. A lot of people in the quest to look younger and have smoother skin, go at their skin with a bit too much gusto with scrubs and exfoliants. Dr Meghna Gupta, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Director at Delhi Skin Centre warns that over-exfoliation can cause wrinkles, dry skin and even scarring. Avoid using harsh grains and use a gentle scrub or exfoliant so you don’t cause damage to the skin. “Over indulging the skin can cause more harm than help. It’s best to exfoliate no more than once a week, because this gives the baby-new skin cells a chance to grow, and your skin time to replenish and rehydrate,” adds Dr Gupta.
Avoid make up thinking it’s bad for skin
Not always. In fact makeup also hides blemishes, provides sun protection and nourishment as they are fortified with moisturizer, vitamins, sunscreen, etc. However one should not sleep with makeup on and also those with acne prone skin must avoid too much makeup for long hours, warns Dr Tahiliani.
Skimping on sleep and diet
What you put in your body is just as important as what’s on it. If you notice your expensive serums and moisturizers not working, the problem is probably as simple as cutting back on sugar and drinking more water. “Sleep and hydration are essential for skin health. Not getting enough water can literally leave your skin thirsty, making it look dry and dull. So make sure you’re drinking enough water every day (at least eight glasses a day). There are also tons of superfoods you can eat that are packed with vitamins and antioxidants to improve your skin from the inside out. Sleep is so important for skin turnover. Hitting the sheets a little earlier can help give you a healthier glow,” advises Geeta Oberoi, Mumbai based Dermatologist and Cosmetologist.
You pick at your pimples.
Hands off, says Dr Navin Taneja, Dermatologist and Director of The National Skin Centre, New Delhi. “You will end up with a bigger problem because squeezing a pimple will give you severe inflammation which leads to hyper pigmentation and scarring. This can aggravate more acne formation and acne marks.” Here’s the bitter reality: When we try to pop a pimple, we tend to squeeze from the side, which results in the infection moving down, deeper into the pore. Dr Taneja’s advice is to avoid picking and applying a blemish treatment to help dry out the blemish.
Washing face with soap
Washing your face with a bar of soap (no matter how much you paid for it) strips your skin of all its water and instantly creates dead skin cell buildup. “The binders that hold a bar of soap together have a high pH balance, making it too drying for most skin types. Soaps also clog the pores and don’t cleanse the skin as well as a cleanser. It is better to use a face wash instead of soaps. Also choose a cleanser according to your skin type,” says Dr. Goel.
Sleeping with makeup on
There are bound to be nights when even a simple skin care routine feels like too much. But if you want to wake up with gorgeous and glowing looking skin then you have to take off you makeup before bed says Dr Taneja. Your skin uses the time you’re sleeping to renew itself, and if you’re wearing makeup while your skin is trying to do this, it’ll cause blemishes and dry, dull skin. Moreover, going to bed with makeup is a sure way to clog your pores which may lead to acne. Washing your face before hitting the hay is an indispensable part of healthy skin care. And be sure to use a night-time moisturizer, too. If you don’t feel like going to the bathroom to do the full wash, then keep face cleansing wipes that don’t require water on your nightstand. A quick wipe isn’t quite the same as washing your face, but it will at least clean your face of dirt, oils and debris that have accumulated over the day.