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5 Most Common Skin Care Mistakes | Seen By Dermatologists

By Dr Davin Lim
July 18, 2023
6 minutes

Most skin irritations, neurodermatitis, redness, and breakouts are triggered by skincare mistakes. Here’s an example, washing your face more than is recommended will not only remove the harmful bacteria but will take the skin barrier function away and cause more bacteria infection.

If you’ve got oily skin, over-cleansing is a great mistake, Dr. Davin Lim a certified dermatologist says. Cleansing your facial more than four times a day will make the skin too dry. To counter this, the oil glands in the dermis will produce more oil to soften the skin. The end result is a more oily face. The desire to achieve the best results from skincare products is the main root cause of skin care mistakes.

When you think of exfoliating, cleansing, toning, or moisturizing, make every step with precaution not to overdo or underdo. Otherwise, instead of achieving the right results, you’ll end up with more negative skin effects. Is it even logical to sleep with makeup every day if you care about your skin pores and skin perspiration?

Common Skincare Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Even with the most expensive and effective skincare products, you won’t have awesome skin if you keep including toxic ingredients in your skincare routine, exfoliating too much or you using too hot water when washing your skin. Not avoiding these mistakes often leads to skincare problems like acne.

Here are the common skincare mistakes;

Mistake #1. Sleeping With Makeup

We all want to look younger, conceal wrinkles and fine lines and hide blemishes. That’s why we turn to makeup. But did you know you always clog up the skin pores with makeup? After spending all day with your makeup, you’ll be doing more harm to your skin by sleeping with it.

The common skincare mistake many people do is to sleep with makeup. Always remember to take off your makeup before going to sleep, says dermatologist Dr. Davin Lim. This is because makeup can be occlusive. Sleeping with makeup causes pimples, zits, acne, whiteheads, and blackheads.

Women with amazing skin double-cleanse their faces before sleeping. Eyeliners, foundations, mascaras, and eye shadows don’t dissolve in water-based cleansers. They first use an oil-based cleanser to break down polymers and waxes. Oil-based cleansers are more effective than soap and water. To remove all the makeup residuals left, beauty experts recommend washing the ace with a gentle non-soap cleanser.

Mistake #2. Cleaning Too Much

The skin oil layer is protective. Overwashing the skin strips off the skin barrier thus allowing permeation of irritants into the skin. It also strips off the oil that makes the skin look healthy. Whether you’ve got oily skin or dry skin, the oil layer has to be handled with care. That’s why cleaning the skin too much is a skincare mistake

If you feel the skin is tight and dry know you’re overwashing it and the threshold of having acne problems is high. Other results of overwashing include irritation, itchiness, and rashes. Patients who have a lot of oil tend to wash their skin three to five times a day thinking it’s better for their skin. Even if using water alone, over-cleaning the skin can cause irritant contact dermatitis.

The more you wash the skin the more you get irritated.

To recover from over-washing your face, stop using skincare products and then start washing the face once a day for several days. Another option is to revert to a gentle cleanser and allow the skin some time to recover. Washing or cleaning the skin with natural products like milk and raw organic honey mixed with aloe vera helps the skin recover faster.

Mistake #3. Not Giving Products Time to Work

If you buy that much admired skincare active ingredient, know that it often takes at least 4-6 weeks and also upwards to 3 months to see awesome results on the skin. Even with prescription active grades like retinoids, the positive benefits like reduction of wrinkles, increase in collagen, reduction in pigment, and reduction in oil production; all take time.

If you buy a skincare product that promises instant results, there’re chances that the product is full of bluff. Anyone’s immune system or skin needs time to activate fibroblasts to produce collagen and production of new blood vessels, advises Dr. Davin Lim. These processes take at least 6 weeks with maximum effect showing after three to four months.

So, be patient if you’re using skincare actively and you’re not seeing results within the first, second, third, or fourth week. The worst thing to do is to swap products, layer with other ingredients, and change your skincare routine. This reverses the little-achieved results and all goes backwards.

If you start using a skincare product, stick to it for at least two months. Not giving skincare products time to work and show results is a mistake. As dermatologists do, take photographs probably after every week to monitor the progress of your product. For example, look at the pore size reduction, wrinkle, and fine lines reduction.

Make sure everything you buy counts. Again, don’t use your product for the sake of using it. Using another product means you’re just layering and the result you’ll get is irritation.

Before changing to another product, be patient with the first product and be analytical with your skin.

Mistake #4. Using Too Many Product

Using too many products will certainly have interactions with each other. The common skincare product people make the mistake of using with many other products is retinol because of its many benefits. If you start adding other strong actives like vitamin C or ascorbic acid, you can get a rash or neuron dermatitis.

There are many products you shouldn’t mix like alpha hydroxy acids with beta hydroxy acids, because this can abrade your skin even though it’s anti-inflammatory. Using too many acids in combination with skincare actives in an incorrect order can cause a rash.

Mistake #5. Incorrect Use of Sunscreen

How to use sunscreen the right way is a challenge dermatologists have to gripe with every day. Most skincare users learn how to use other actives first then sunscreen. There’s no point in having an expensive antioxidant mixture with other products like ascorbic acid, vitamin E, tocopherol acid, and ferulic acid when you don’t actually need oxidation.

The first way to prevent or reduce oxidation or oxidative stress is by reducing the amount of UV. Sunscreen is the best product to use when you want to reduce UV damage to the skin. How to use sunscreen correctly is a challenge for 90% of the users.

When using a physical or chemical sunscreen, you need to apply the right amount of sunscreen. The right amount to use is 3-5mls at least twice a day.

Descriptions on most sunscreen packaging boxes and even some dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen after every two hours. This is impractical. Use sunscreen at least twice a day; once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

If you’re using a tiny amount of sunscreen, then you’re using half of the recommended dose which also lowers the amount of SPF needed to protect your skin from UV. So, how to use sunscreen is paramount to reducing oxidation.


Whenever using any active ingredient or working on your skincare routine, it’s important to be precautions in every step. Don’t use too many products as they may cause negative reactions to your skin. Don’t over-wash your skin as doing so will damage the skin barrier and make it simple for bacteria and other infections to penetrate into the deep skin layers.

Dr Davin Lim
I am Davin Lim a Board Certified Dermatologist practicing in Brisbane, Australia. My intentions? Simple! To cut out the hype & mystery of the skin care industry. I cover everything from products, DIY, & skin procedures including lasers, peel, injectables & surgery.
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