7 Things You Should Never Do To Your Skin, According To A Dermatologist

As anyone who has ever been to the dermatologist with a tan knows (I personally, avoid seeing mine until at least a month after Labor Day, which is not good), sometimes as patients we do things that they really, really hate. As in all things, there are some offensives that are worse than others. So what should you never do to your skin?

We already know which ingredients we should avoid in our skincare products (formaldehyde,

Methylisothiazolinone, and synthetic coloring, to name a few) but separate from our products, there are certain behaviors that can be harmful too. There are many little things (and some bigger ones) that your dermatologist wants to know. For example, make sure you keep your hands away from your face to avoid spreading bacteria and oil, and find a skincare routine that works for you and stick with it.

You're going to have your skin for the rest of your life (a fact my mom ingrained in my brain from the time I popped my first pimple as a pre-pubescent teen) so it's important to treat it the right way. Here are seven things you should never do to your skin, and seven products that will help (instead of hurt) your gorgeous face.

1. Pop Your Pimples

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, $17, Nordstrom.com

"Never ever pick, pop, or perform self surgery on acne unless it is a volcano on the verge of erupting itself," says Dr. Ellen Murmur, a New York City based dermatologist. There are plenty of right ways to treat your pimples, but prodding around at them is not one of them.

2. Use The Wrong Skincare Routine

Kiehl's Apothecary, Prices Vary, Kiehls.com

"Ask your dermatologist first — sorry, not the salesperson at Saks or Sephora — what you need and stay loyal for at least three months," says Dr. Marmur. The Kiehl's Apothecary line, launching in stores in October, allows you to have an in-store consultation to determine a bespoke skincare routine that fits your skin.

3. Scratch Your Itchy Skin

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream, $60, DrunkElephant.com

Don't. Do. It! Scratching an itch on your skin will only make it worse. Dr. Marmur suggests massaging on moisturizer ten times a day (or, as many as you need to hydrate your skin) to stop the itching.

4. Skipping On Sunscreen

Tizo 3 Facial Mineral Sunscreen, $35, eskinstore.com

Dark tans and sunburns are your skins worst enemy. "From a health point of view, sunscreen is necessary to block out those harmful radiation rays," says dermatologist Dr. Alicia Barba. "And from a vanity point of view, it’s very important because that radiation tears up your collagen and leads to premature wrinkling when you get older."

5. Go To The Tanning Bed

Tarte Brazilliance Self Tanner, $39, tartecosmetics.com

It's pretty simple, says Dr. Marmur: Never use a tanning bed ever. Try sun-free self tanner, like this one from Tarte, instead.

6. Apply Alcohol To Skin

Rituals Ultra Calming Facial Toner, $15, Rituals.com

Alcohol dries out your skin, so it can be tempting to use it to reduce oil if you're feeling super greasy. But because it makes the skin so dry, your skin actually starts to produce excess oil to try to balance itself, so even if you look more matte temporarily it's only going to make you shinier in the long run. It also harms the surface of your skin and depletes it of necessary surface-level nutrients, so it's best just to stick with alcohol in your cocktails instead of your beauty products.

7. Avoid The Dermatologist

La Roche Posay Effaclar Dermatological Acne System, $29.99, Dermstore.com

I know I said I skip the dermatologist in the summer months, but that is a definite no-no (and I'm learning! I swear!). "Let us teach you some simple home fixes for common issues," says Dr. Marmur. "We love to set you on the right track and then you can teach us your favorite hacks —like sweet potato and honey leg masks for calming itchy skin!" Having a dermatologist is just as important as having any other doctor, so prioritize finding a good one who you trust.

Images: Bustle; Courtesy Of Brands