5 Things Your Derm Wishes You’d Stop Doing to Your Skin

Caitlin S. Miller
bad skin habits

Photo: ImaxTree

By now you’ve likely made a number of resolutions for the new year. Chances are some of them have to do with your skin care habits—and for good reason. Your skin is like a blank canvas—how you prime it matters for the end result. If you care for your skin and give it the TLC it deserves, you’ll look and feel better. Conversely, if you don’t, your skin has this sneaky way of fighting back. Ever slept in makeup and woken up to a surprise pimple? Yeah, we see you skin. Whether you’ve resolved to take better care of your complexion or not (but really, why wouldn’t you?), we talked to three derms to get the six bad skin habits you need to break in 2016. Get ready to take notes!

Stop picking zits.

This is a big one for all the derms we chatted with. “It’s a habit we are all guilty of, but we all know can cause scarring and discoloration,” says Dr. Annie Chiu, Los Angeles celebrity dermatologist. In addition to scarring and discoloration, picking your skin can lead to inflammation and a prolonged healing time. Just don’t do it! If you have a serious pimple, cyst, or blackhead that simply can’t be cured by a little face wash, visit your derm for a prescription like Epiduo or Aczone or a spot treatment.

Not taking off ALL your makeup before bed.

We get it. It’s late, and the last thing you want to do is go through your entire 10-step beauty routine. If you simply can’t, reach for an exfoliating facial wipe like Burt’s Bees Exfoliating Facial Cleansing Towelettes ($5, ulta.com) or a multipurpose micellar water like Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water ($8, ulta.com) to wash away the day. Trust us, your pores will thank you in the morning.

Constantly over-exfoliating.

Scrubs and sonic brushes can be a Godsend when you’re flaky and in desperate need of exfoliation. But most of the time, they can be too harsh on normal skin. In fact, according to Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, Founder & Director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the George Washington Medical Center, over-exfoliating can lead to chronic redness and irritation. This is especially important for women over 40, says Dr. Debra Jaliman, New York dermatologist and author of Skin Rules. Although using salicylic acids, glycolic acids, retinols, sonic cleansing systems, and cleansing grains are all great for the skin, she warns against using them all together as they might actually dry out skin. Try limiting your favorite scrub or sonic brush to every-other day instead and opt for gentle, natural exfoliants.

Stop thinking a tan is “healthy.”

Our derms couldn’t repeat this enough. Using SPF every day, all over is critical for keeping skin looking young and supple. And don’t get fooled into thinking a tan is safe. “A tan is the skin’s sign that it’s already been damaged,” says Dr. Tanzi. “Protect your skin from premature aging and skin cancer by regularly using sunscreen and more importantly covering up with a hat and clothing,” she adds.

Using the wrong shower gel.

We must admit this bad habit surprised us. But according to Dr. Chiu, it’s time to ditch the antibacterial shower gel. “Our skin has good bacteria that protect us too,” she says. “Antibacterial wash just leads to dry, irritated, rashy skin.” She says although it’s great to have clean skin, it’s just not good—or realistic—to have sterile skin. Instead, opt for a gentle body wash like Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Body Wash ($4, walgreens.com) to wash away dirt without drying the skin.

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