11 Common Beauty Mistakes That Can Age Your Skin

by Carina Wolff

Most of us have a pretty set beauty routine, whether it's your makeup in the morning or your moisturizing and exfoliating at night. However, some your habits might actually be causing more harm then good, as there are a number of common beauty mistakes that can actually age your skin. Something might help you look good today, but in 10 years, you'll begin to see the damage. What you choose to do with your skin and your overall look is of course totally your choice, but it can't hurt to be armed with information so you can cut out any beauty habits that are unintentionally wreaking havoc on your skin.

"Every day, we see patients whose beauty practices have adversely affected their skin, hair, and nails — sometimes permanently," says dermatologist Bobby Buka, MD over email. "Having a proper skincare regimen keeps skin clean and healthy, inside and out. Daily practices promote the long-term health of your skin."

Everyone's skins has different needs, so you have to pay attention specifically to what works best for you. But some beauty practices are just plain harmful all around and are best avoided. Here are 11 common beauty mistakes that can actually end up aging you.


Taking A Hot Shower


A hot shower sure feels nice, but it can be very drying and strip the skin of its natural oils. "The heat from the shower softens the skin’s natural oil barrier and soap washes it away," say dermatologist and RealSelf contributor Dr. Joel Schlessinger over email. "Without this barrier, skin easily loses moisture, leading to dryness, itchiness and irritation." Hot showers can also make sensitive skin worse. Stick to shorter, lukewarm showers to keep your skin from scracking or drying out.


Using The Same Loofah


You probably don't think twice about your loofah you keep in the shower, but if it's been there too long, it can start to get pretty icky. "Washcloths and loofahs can harbor bacteria, mold and yeast, among other harmful things," says Schlessinger. "Make sure you allow your loofah to dry completely each time and replace it frequently. If you cleanse with a washcloth, grab a fresh one every day and don’t use it on your face. This is very irritating to the skin and ends up causing dry areas, breakouts and even sores."


Skipping Your Neck & Hands


Taking care of your face is important, but don't skip care for your hands or décolletage (neck and upper chest). "Use many of the same healthy skin habits on your hands and décolletage, and use the same anti-aging products in order to keep everything uniform and looking its best," says dermatologist Seth B. Forman, MD over email.


Wearing Tight Braids


Tight braids and ponytails can look chic, but you'll want avoid doing them too often for your own sake. "Tying your hair back too tightly or using chemical straighteners can lead to traction or chemical alopecia, permanent scarring of the scalp that prevents hair from growing...ever," says Buka.


Using Oil-Based Haircare Products


Moroccan oil is amazing to tame your hair, but it's not always so amazing for your complexion. "Practices like using oil-based haircare can lead to forehead acne by clogging pores," says Buka. "Skin-friendly beauty techniques are important for a lifetime of healthy dermis."


Cleansing Too Much


"Clean is good, but cleaner may not be better," dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse over email. "Using a drying acne wash or foaming cleanser multiple times a day will make your skin feel tight and ‘clean’, but stripping your skin of its natural oils reduces the protective layer that keeps the hydration locked into your skin and from becoming irritated from topical products."


Using The Same Products Over The Years


When you fall in love with a product, you likely end up buying it year after year, but sometimes, it's better to switch it up. "Our skin develops resistance to beauty products, like our body can develop resistance to medications," says Anthony Youn, MD, author of The Age Fix, over email. "If you've been using the same products for years and aren't happy with what you are seeing, then change it up. Sometimes your skin with better with something new."

The Age Fix, $16, Amazon


Picking At Your Zits


We all want those whiteheads and blackheads gone right now, but pick at them, and you'll pay the price later. "Picking is so damaging that I can tell instantly who's used their fingers vs a blackhead extractor," says Buka. "If you use your fingers, you inadvertently push bacteria and inflammation further into the dermis, leading to an increased risk of scar formation. Instead, apply circumferential pressure with an extractor, and 'pick' without the risk."


Gel Manicures


Gel nail polish seems great: It lasts longer and seems less harsh on the nails, since they don’t need to be changed as frequently. However, they can actually be very harsh on the nails with their drying and potentially allergenic chemicals. "Removal requires soaking them in super-strength acetone under foils for 15-30 minutes, which strip the nail of its natural oils and it moisture, and nails don’t have much moisture in the first place," says Shainhouse. "Additionally, the UV lights required to cure the gel after it is applied can cause collagen break-down, brown spots, and skin cancers on your hands."


Exfoliating Too Often


Exfoliating frequently can work wonders for your skin, but you don't want to do it too much. "You only need to exfoliate your skin 2-3 times per week, or once a week if you have thin, sensitive skin," says Youn. "Any more than that can create irritation."


Rubbing Your Eyes To Remove Mascara


Most of us know how important it is to remove your makeup before bed, which is why we spend the time meticulously washing off our mascara at the end of the night. But if you rub too hard, you can end up causing long-term damage to the skin. "Rubbing the eye area aggressively can damage the skin, accelerating the formation of fine lines, and it can also cause lashes to tear out, which can lead to an aged eye appearance," says Shainhouse. "Our lashes become finer and less dense with age." Instead of rubbing, Shainhouse recommends soaking a cotton ball with the appropriate makeup remover for your mascara-type and press it to your eye for about 30 seconds before wiping. Otherwise, consider using a facial oil or multipurpose face cleanser that will remove makeup while you wash your face.