Important Skin Steps You're Probably Not Doing

Most of us know the basics of skin care, like it's important to wear sunscreen daily to protect ourselves from sun damage, and sleeping in our makeup can lead to breakouts. However, there are still things you should be doing for your skin that you're probably not, and it can make a significant difference to the overall health of our complexions.

I personally used to throw most skincare wisdom to the wind, spending the majority of my teens and early-to-mid 20s doing things that now make me cringe. I didn't read labels, didn't think about ingredients, and certainly didn't bother to read reviews or data on the products for which I was shelling out money. If a product looked cool or had pretty packaging, I was pretty much sold.

However, as I got a little older, I started actually seeing changes in my skin — dryness, fine lines, and red patches. I suddenly had a reason to care what was going on my face, and got much more invested in actually informing myself about my skincare routine.

In my continued search for knowledge, I e-mailed Cecilia Wong, celebrity esthetician and founder of Cecilia Wong Skincare in New York City, to ask what I might not be doing for my skin that I should be. I've compiled her advice into five basic points for anyone out there also interested in upping their skincare game.

1. You Don't Tailor Your Products To Your Skin Type

Wong says that the biggest mistake she often sees clients making with their skincare routines is simply using the wrong products for their skin type. She even notes that using a product not targeted for your skin not only won't yield results, but, "can cause more damage." Because of this, it's important to be very aware of your skin and its needs. Do you have oily skin, dry skin, combination? Perhaps you have very sensitive skin that gets easily burned or irritated. Making this the first step before investing in a product is super important.

2. You Don't Use Serums

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Wong says that one of the most beneficial products you can invest in for your skin is a serum. In fact, it was the product she said was most worth splurging on. "Serums acts [like a] vitamin for the skin and they have the ability to absorb into the deeper layers." But remember to take Wong's first point into account and figure out the kind of serum your specific skin type needs before splurging.

3. You Don't Use Masks

According to Wong, masks are like a "secret weapon" for our skin. She says she uses "a clay mask or a DIY antioxidant mask daily." See the above video for how to make a cost efficient clay mask at home.

4. You Use Too Many Products

OK, so this is technically something that you might be doing to your skin, not not doing, but it's definitely worth mentioning. Wong says she often sees women "over do it and use too many products at one time." So just because you've just bought five new serums, lotions, and masks for your skin and are super excited to try them doesn't mean you should be using them all at once, or even on the same day. Remember, your skin should be treated with care!

5. You Don't Exfoliate Regularly

Wong says that exfoliating is extremely important and is actually the smallest thing we can do every day that will yield the biggest results. "Exfoliating is a must. Our skin accumulates dirt and oil on a daily basis. Developing the habit of exfoliating will help shed dead skin cells and reveals a brighter and cleaner complexion," Wong says. I personally use a daily AHA and BHA cream for exfoliating, but there are many varieties on the market.

Taking good care of our skin isn't necessarily hard, but it definitely requires being knowledgeable about our skin type and the effects of the products we use. And remember: when in doubt, do a little research before ever putting anything on your face!

Images: Larisa Birta/Unsplash; Pexels (2)