The Top 5 Skincare Mistakes We See People Making

Nothing makes you feel more confident than having healthy, glowing skin. But getting it isn’t easy. Maybe you’ve invested in products, tried new ingredients and followed a routine religiously, but you’re still not seeing results. If so, you may be making one of these top five skincare mistakes.

Read on to find out the mistakes we see people making with their skin, and how you can avoid them.


1.   Over Exfoliating (or Skipping This Step Altogether) 

Exfoliation is great for the skin. It can remove dirt, oil and dead skin cells, leaving you with a more even skin tone, and a clear, bright complexion. So, it’s a skincare step we recommend to everyone — including those with sensitive or acne-prone skin.

However, once you see the benefits of exfoliating, it can be easy to go overboard and do it too much, especially if you add several exfoliating steps to your routine.

Signs of over exfoliation include:

  • Redness
  • Sensitivity
  • Inflamed skin
  • Dryness
  • More breakouts than usual
  • Excess oiliness (as the skin makes more oil in response)

Not all exfoliating ingredients are the same, either. So, if you find one too much for your skin, try downgrading to a gentler exfoliator.

For example, if glycolic acid leaves your skin feeling sensitive — and using it less frequently isn’t reducing that — you can try a gentler chemical exfoliator like lactic acid.

Quick fix: If you’re new to exfoliating products, start using them once per week. Most of us should use exfoliators two or three times per week to get the best results.


2.   Not Using Medical-Grade Products

Not all skincare products are created equal. Medical-grade products use science-backed formulas, are developed through clinical trials, and have high concentrations of active ingredients that can make a real difference to the look of your skin. You simply can’t get that on the 

If you’re trying to tackle a big concern — like signs of ageing or hyperpigmentation — medical grade is the way to go. This can even save you money over time as you’ll be using a product that works first time, instead of cycling through multiple cheaper products, finding they’re just not doing the trick.

Quick fix: Invest in medical grade skincare products, so your routine actually makes a difference to your skin. We love brands like ZO Skin Health, Medik8 and Skinbetter Science for this.


3.   Not Layering Products Correctly

Believe it or not, there is a right order to apply your skincare products. So, one mistake many people make is using all the right products, but applying them in the wrong order, reducing how effective each product can be.

You should apply your products from thinnest to thickest, otherwise the thinnest products (think serums) won’t be able to get to the skin through the thickest products (think moisturisers).

Wash-off products, like cleansers and certain exfoliators and masks, should be early on in your routine. Then serums and treatments should also be applied, so active ingredients can start working on the skin, and then moisturiser is a good final step to lock in hydration.

Most of the time, the right order for skincare products is:  

  1. Cleanser
  2. Toner
  3. Exfoliator/Treatment/Mask
  4. Serum
  5. Moisturiser
  6. Sunscreen (in the mornings)

Quick fix: Apply your skincare products lightest to heaviest.


4.   Skipping Sunscreen 

Did you guess this mistake was going to be in here? We’re sure you’re bored of hearing skin experts talk about how important sunscreen is, but it’s true!

Sunscreen not only prevents you from burning and protects you from skin cancer, it’s a key step in preventing many skincare concerns like wrinkles and dark spots. And as the saying goes: prevention is better than cure.

Find a high-quality sunscreen product you love, and make it a non-negotiable part of your routine every morning.

Quick fix: Wear sunscreen every day, even in the winter. Our favourite?   Advanced Day Ultimate Protect SPF50+


5.   Never Changing Your Skincare Routine 

You do need to stick with a skincare routine for a few months — or at least four to six weeks — to see results, but that doesn’t mean you should stick with it forever. Your skin changes as you age, and it even changes with each season. So, your concerns and needs will change, too.

We’ve covered why your skincare routine should be different in summer and winter  here. But you should also consider changing your skincare routine if:

  • You notice a new skincare concern you want to tackle — like oiliness, acne or discolouration.
  • You become sensitive to your current routine — it might be time to switch to gentler ingredients or reduce how often you’re using a certain product.
  • Your skin becomes too dry or too oily — changes like this happen with age and the weather or in reaction to your skincare products, all of which can be addressed with a few tweaks to your current routine.
  • You want a skin upgrade — maybe you have no major concerns, but you’re still striving for more healthy, glowy skin — we’re all been there! It may be time to add a few additions to your routine to make it happen.
  • You’re not noticing any difference with your current routine — some ingredients take time (looking at you retinol), but if you’ve been following your current routine for a while and still can’t notice a difference, it might be time to add in some more powerful ingredients or missing steps.

Quick fix: Evaluate your skin and skincare routine regularly to make sure you’re using the right products for you.


One Easy Way to Avoid All Skincare Mistakes? Get Expert Advice

Those are the top five skincare mistakes we see clients making again and again. So, you’re not alone if you’ve done one — or all! — of these things.

The bad news? There are plenty more common skincare mistakes out there that could be getting in the way of clear and healthy skin. But there’s good news too! We offer consultations with our skin specialists at Skin Pharmacy to help you avoid them all.

Let us know your skincare concerns and goals, and we can recommend the right medical-grade products, active ingredients and ideal routine for you, and help you avoid common skincare mistakes. 


Updated: Published:

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