9 Skincare mistakes you may be making, from using pore strips to bingeing on exfoliants


By Redzhanna Jazmin

9 Skincare mistakes you may be making, from using pore strips to bingeing on exfoliants

Perhaps you do a 12-step evening K-beauty routine, or maybe you’re a minimalist wash, moisturise and go kind of gal (or guy). Either way, novice or not, skincare trends are ever-changing. There is one thing that never changes, though: the tried-and-true rules of skincare.

You probably already know the basics: oily skin still needs (oil-free) moisturiser, that rough apricot scrub you used every night as a teenager has (probably) ruined your skin a fair bit, and your products need to be thrown out when they reach their expiration date. However, we guarantee there are at least a few you’ve missed.

It’s a rough ride to perfect skin but the payoff is worth it. Here are nine skincare mistakes you are probably making.

Skincare mistake 1: Ignoring your neck and chest

Remember this: Your face stops at your boobs. That’s not a riddle nor a joke–when you do your skincare routine, you better be bringing all those products all the way down your neck and chest.

They are just as important when it comes to preventing premature ageing and other common skin problems. In fact, the first signs of ageing appear on your neck as the skin loses its elasticity. Plus, if you’re susceptible to chestne (that’s a cute term to describe acne that appears exclusively on your chest), a good skincare routine that covers all bases is your best friend.

Skincare mistake 2: Using applicators directly on your skin

The dropper that dispenses your face oil should never touch your face. The spatula you use to scoop up your night cream should never touch your face. Stop using them to apply and spread your products directly onto your skin: All you’re doing is spreading bacteria and shortening the shelf life of your products.

Tip: Dispense the product using a dropper or spatula onto your palms/fingertips and only then apply it onto your skin.

Skincare mistake 3: Under cleansing

We’ve all heard the ‘use a gentle cleanser’ mantra by this point. It’s well established that overcleansing by washing your face too often or using harsh cleansers that dry out the skin too much can lead to the overproduction of sebum and, therefore, acne. However, it’s also important to note that you still need to cleanse your face enough–as in, so that it is actually clean.

Take it this way, after a day, whether you have a full face of makeup on or just a little sunscreen and moisturiser, dirt and grime stick and build up in your pores. By the end of the day, you’ll be positively mucky, whether you’ve actually been outside or not.

So, when the time comes for your nighttime routine, you’ll want to make sure that you’re double cleansing–first, if you’ve got makeup on, go in with makeup remover to get the bulk off. Then, go in with a deep-cleansing oil cleanser to break down any stubborn particles, and then follow up with your regular, gentle cleanser. It’s foolproof and it’s imperative—there is no point doing the rest of your skincare routine on a dirty face.

Skincare mistake 4: Rubbing in your product

The skin on your face is like a newborn baby–you have to be really gentle with it. That’s definitely a real saying (please don’t look it up). Basically, people tend to be quite rough with their skin (men reading this, we’re looking at you, too).

When it comes to moisturisers, rubbing with a very heavy hand seems to be the general consensus, which is doing more harm than good (though it does seem effective in the moment). The rough, rubbing motion can lead to wrinkles, flakiness, irritation and redness, all of which aren’t the cutest look. Instead, you’ll want to gently pat it in or, if you must rub, do so in very light, feathery circles.

Skincare mistake 5: Applying too much product

Bigger isn’t always better–and the same applies to your skincare routine. Using more than you need is just wasteful–most of it is either going to end up on your pillow or get blotted off throughout the day. Now, this differs depending on the product you’re using, but with things like serums, a little tends to go a long way–the key is to use just enough that your whole face is covered. Similarly, for spot cream, less is better so you prevent drying out the surrounding skin too much. Moisturiser too–most are sufficient and effective enough in small amounts, but if you really need hydration touch ups throughout the day, invest in a hydrating mist instead.

Skincare mistake 6: Overdoing it on…

Clay masks:

Clay masks are great for purifying skin and controlling oil production, but they are also incredibly drying. When using a clay mask, do not let it dry out completely–doing so can cause some serious damage to your skin. Further, limit your use to twice a week at most and make sure that you’re following up with plenty of hydration.

Sheet masks

Yep, you can use sheet masks wrong. You may be asking–how is that possible? They’re convenient (albeit sometimes at the expense of the environment), effective and fool-proof. Well, not exactly.

Basically, if you’re leaving your sheet masks on your skin to the point that it dries, you’re undoing all of its benefits. You see, it’s absolutely imperative that a sheet mask stays moist because as soon as it starts drying, it begins sucking all the moisture out of your skin. All in all, you’ll be left with some very unhappy cheeks by the end, so make sure you stick to the directions on the packaging!


Is your skin feeling dry, tight, red and irritated? That’s a pretty clear sign that you’re going a little too hard on the exfoliating products. Whether you’re a chemical, physical or enzyme exfoliant kind of girl, you’ll want to cut back to twice a week at most. Oh, and if you’re an avid fan of clay masks, you’ll want to cut back even more than that as clay masks do their fair share of exfoliating too.

Pore strips

We get it, blackheads suck, and the attraction of pore strips is their gross fascination (you just want to see what’s going to come out of your little nose). However, what if we told you that the little specks coming out of your pores weren’t actually blackheads. No, no, no–they’re sebaceous filaments! There’s a very big difference: Blackheads are pores that are clogged very deep with hardened, oxidised sebum and dead-skin cells. Pore strips do not work on these as they are so deep in the pore.

Sebaceous filaments, on the other hand, are small dots that sometimes look like blackheads, except lighter in colour. They are actually there to fill your pores and prevent clogging and when you use a pore strip, is these filaments that end up being pulled out, leaving your pores ripe for blackheads to settle in. Plus, pore strips actually damage your skin when you peel them, so, the moral of the story is: Stop using pore strips–they’re making your skin worse and they are a huge waste of time. Instead, to deal with blackheads, you can dissolve them by using products that contain salicylic acid.

So, did you learn anything new from our comprehensive skincare guide?

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