You diligently cleanse before going to bed each night…but then can’t resist prodding at that pimple that’s erupted like Mount Vesuvius on your chin with the zeal of a stylista at a Celine sample sale. Your
poor skin doesn’t deserve this bullying—and you know it. But there may also be ways you’re unwittingly being hard on your skin. We get some top skin experts dish on how to be kind to your skin so you can get and maintain the clear, glowing complexion you want.

READ MORE: Bad beauty habits that cause breakouts

Not adapting your regimen to your skin’s needs

“Just because
your skin was once oily and you used products for oil control and pore refinement doesn’t mean you can always continue with those products,” says New York-based Kiehls Consulting Dermatologist Adam Geyer. “Listen to your skin and adjust both the consistency and frequency of your cleansing according to the season and skin type and be willing to accept change,” he says.


You want smooth, blackhead-free, glowing skin, so the more you exfoliate, the better—that’s what many of us think, only to end up with irritated skin. “Over-exfoliating can cause redness and dehydration—which can then make medicated creams less tolerable,” says Toronto-based dermatologist Benjamin Barankin. He recommends
exfoliating once a week in the winter and twice weekly in the summer months.

READ MORE: 5 signs your skin is drier than you think

Using the wrong cleanser

Don’t get us wrong—washing your face even in a hurry is better than hitting the sheets without using a cleanser to take off your makeup. But cleansing with harsh soaps until you get that stinging sensation is not a sign that your skin is squeaky clean—it’s a sign that you’re using the wrong cleanser, says Joëlle Ciocco, L’Oréal Paris Global Facialist. Also, she suggests only washing your face with a cleanser in the evening. “If you cleanse in the morning, you get rid of the delicate layer of sebum your clean, pollutant-free skin has created overnight—it’s a pity to get rid of this natural, beneficial shield,” she says. Ciocco suggests washing your face using simply an eau thermale or a toner in the a.m.

Can’t keep your hands off your blemishes? Read on for the top reasons to leave them alone and more ways to improve your skin care routine on the next page …
Popping blemishes and forceful DIY blackhead extraction

Can’t keep your hands off your blemishes? That poking and squeezing often turns to scarring. “The oily contents are toxic to the dermis and can cause an inflammatory reaction and enzyme release, resulting in a breakdown in collagen, leading to scarring,” explains Dr. Barankin, who is the medical director of the Toronto Dermatology Centre.

Dr. Geyer, too, often sees patients who have scars from vigorously pinching and pushing at their
blemishes. “People feel like they’re going to improve their skin by unclogging their pores more aggressively, but the truth is nine times out of ten, fiddling with your skin is going to do nothing more than leave a mark that’s going to last a lot longer than the pimple itself,” he says. He encourages his patients to step back from the mirror and consider whether what they’re trying to remove has a clear path for being removed without significant pressure. If yes, he says once your skin has been warmed, you can use a Q-tip and gently extract from the clogged pore, he says. “Never use your fingernails or scratch the skin—it’s too abrasive,” says Dr. Geyer.

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Rushing through your skin care regimen

If you quickly swipe off makeup with a pre-moistened cloth and then slop on some moisturizer, you’re cheating your skin of the benefits you could reap if you took more time. “You need to prep the skin so it is ready to receive the active ingredients in your face products,” says Ciocco. Here’s your new skin care routine: After cleansing, tap and massage your skin, she says. “This will stimulate blood flow and irrigation—and then apply your serum and
moisturizer,” she says. Your skin care ritual must include this preparation of the skin, stresses Ciocco.

Skipping sunscreen

Forcing your skin to have a tan when it shouldn’t have one is a biggie when it comes to skin bullying. People have all sorts of excuses, says Dr. Geyer, from not liking sunscreen texture to it making their skin break out, but the truth is there are sunscreens for everyone, he says. “If you don’t want chemicals, there are physical ingredients, there are ones with antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients if you don’t want to layer too many products,” he says.

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