8 Common Skin Hygiene Mistakes You’re Probably Making

We all have our bad beauty habits. I'm definitely guilty of over-cleansing and over-exfoliating. While that may seem like a good thing for my skin, in reality, over scrubbing can cause inflammation, irritation, and even breakouts. You'd be surprised at how easily common skin hygiene mistakes slither their way into your everyday beauty rituals. Fortunately, there's a bright side: These crises can be easily averted with just a few tweaks to your regular morning and evening routines.

Don't let your skin get stripped of the oils it needs, or irritate it with rough exfoliants or towels. And if you're the type of person who never washes your makeup brushes, you should do your skin a favor and start (just grab a brush cleanser, turn up some music, and get to work — your skin will thank you for it in the long run!). Another crucial skin step that's easy to forget is using a clarifying toner. After all, skipping out on pore cleansing just means you'll spend more time covering up unfortunate breakouts. And of course, remember to be kind to your complexion, especially if your skin is sensitive and acne-prone. A nourishing moisturizer will gently cleanse skin, as well as reverse drying caused from acne treatments.

It's easy to do too much (or too little!) when it comes to keeping your skin clean and healthy. But by establishing and maintaining a routine that helps balance everything out, your skin will feel fresh and nourished — and it'll look amazing, too!

1. Don't Overdo It When Exfoliating — Stick To Soothing Ingredients

ELEMIS Gentle Rose Exfoliator, $40, Amazon

Jennifer Fifer, owner of Tru Skin Clinical Spa in Manhattan, says that skin can get inflamed if you exfoliate too often or use cleansers that are too harsh. To avoid irritation, use this gentle rose exfoliator a few times a week. It has micro-spherical jojoba beads to carefully slough off dead skin cells, as well as cucumber extract to moisturize and soothe your skin. Fans of the exfoliator commend its ability to keep sensitive skin from getting red or irritated, and one user said, "This is a great facial product. After use, my face feels and looks very smooth and clear. It is a bit pricey but well worth every penny."

2. Instead of Ignoring Your Brushes, Wash Them At Least Once a Month

J aponesque Makeup Brush Cleanser, $11, Amazon

Washing my makeup brushes is usually the last thing on my to-do list. But Ellen Marmur, a dermatologist in New York City, says you need to clean your makeup brushes at least once a month. Luckily, this makeup brush cleansing spray can sanitize your brushes, clearing away old makeup and bacteria, so you can use them without continually clogging your pores. The formula even conditions brush bristles, so your beloved beauty tools last longer over time.

3. Don't Strip Away Oils While Removing Makeup — Replenish, Instead

L'Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil, $24, Amazon

Removing your makeup with wipes or other cleansers can really dry out your skin, but Kayla Causey, an aesthetician at the Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa, says oil cleansers can help keep your skin’s natural pH balance more regulated. The L'Occitane cleansing oil removes even the stubbornest waterproof makeup with its hydrating shea oil, leaving your skin feeling soft.

4. Don't Skip the Toner, As It Helps Clear Up Skin

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution Toner, $15, Amazon

Before applying products post-face wash, really consider using a toner. Mila Moursi, a Los Angeles skincare specialist, says toners function as a crucial last step in the cleansing process, removing everything your initial pass didn't catch. The La Roche-Posay toner does just that, using glycolic and salicylic acid to deep clean your pores. One user said, "It makes my skin so smooth. I'm guessing that's due to the glycolic acid, which many toners don't have."

5. You Need To Moisturize, Even If You're Naturally Oily

Mario Badescu Control Moisturizer for Oily Skin, $18, Amazon

Without moisturizer, oily skin will overcompensate for loss of hydration, leading to even more annoying breakouts and oily issues over time. So, don't skip the lotion: Mario Badescu moisturizer is formulated specifically for people with oily skin. With botanicals and seaweed extract, this cream can help soothe and hydrate skin that has been dried out or irritated by harsh acne medications.

6. You're Contaminating Your Face, Instead of Using Antibacterial Soap

The Yellow Bird Activated Charcoal Soap, $9, Amazon

Instead of using a generic soap bar all over your body including your face, stick to a soap that's naturally antibacterial with lemongrass and lavender oil. This charcoal bar keeps your shower routine simple, so you don't have to worry about spreading germs all over your body, or using a separate soap for your face. Another reason to go for this bar? Charcoal is a natural detoxifier, which can help clear clogged pores without drying out your skin.

7. Know Clear Pores Are Still Possible With Powerful Sunblock

Vichy Capital Soleil SPF 60 Sunscreen Lotion, $31, Amazon

Skipping sunblock in an attempt to keep pores clear and hygienic? Save yourself the sunburn! You can have clean pores that are still protected from the damaging effects of the sun with this sheer sunscreen lotion. It fights UVA and UVB rays, while antioxidants like white grape polyphenol and vitamin E keep skin refreshed. It's not sticky or greasy, so it will stay invisible and comfortable all day long.

8. Dirty Towels Make Breakouts Worse — Use a Clean & Gentle Washcloth

The Motherhood Collection Baby Bath Washcloths, $16, Amazon

Wet washcloths can easily harbor bacteria, according to Joshua Zeichner, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. He believes in always using a fresh, soft washcloth as part of your skincare routine. These washcloths, though originally marketed for babies, are all-natural and gentle enough for using on sensitive skin. Bonus: Their 100 percent bamboo material means they're hypoallergenic and less likely to irritate your skin.

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Images: Fotolia (1); Amazon (8)