1. Overdoing it
Too much washing can age your skin. Do it no more than twice daily, though an extra wash pre- or post-workout is okay.
2. Using a harsh cleanser
Consider swapping out soap — which can strip your skin of its natural oils and cause irritation — for a non-soap cleanser, like Yes to Carrots Fragrance Free Daily Cream Facial Cleanser ($8, Target.com), particularly if you have sensitive skin. Also, look for cleansers with calming ingredients, like green tea, that will soothe sensitive skin. And if you have oily, acne-prone skin, use a face wash with salicylic acid.
3. Either over-exfoliating or not exfoliating at all
Using an exfoliator can enhance the texture and tone of your skin. “As we get older, our own enzymes that normally exfoliate our skin are no longer as effective so complexions can look rough and dull,” New York dermatologist Jeannette Graf, MD, told Good Housekeeping. She recommends exfoliating at night, since that’s when skin is in “renewal mode,” generating new skin cells. But keep in mind that exfoliating more than twice a week can irritate your skin.
4. Not washing off your makeup before bed
Yes, it’s tempting to fall asleep with your makeup on — who hasn’t done it? But it can ruin your complexion for weeks, since makeup clogs your pores and prevents sebum, the lubricant in our skin that moisturizes skin and removes dead skin cells, from doing its job. And don’t forget to take off your eye makeup, too — leaving it on could cause infection or irritation.
5. Rinsing with too-hot water
This is especially important in the winter, when we are more dry-skin prone. Since hot water can dry out your skin, try to wash your face at the sink, rather than in the shower, so you can use lukewarm or cold water.
6. Overusing facial wipes
Facial wipes are convenient for removing makeup or doing a quick cleanse when you’re in a hurry or at the gym, but don’t use them in place of your regular cleanser. To thoroughly clean your pores, always follow up with a cleanser and/or scrub when you get home.