This post may contain affiliate links. Any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you!
Acne mistakes 101 – what are some skincare mistakes that cause acne or worsen breakouts and how to avoid them…
You thought you’d be saying goodbye to acne with your teenage years. But fast forward a couple of years (or decades), and the little bastards keep repairing.
Dealing with acne at any point of your life seems like a frustrating, never-ending task. And finding that balance between wanting to destroy them all and caring for the rest of your skin is the key to getting a clear, glowing complexion.
But that balance is not an easy one to find, which is why many of us fall into several common traps, making all the same acne mistakes over and over again. We are not even aware that our skin care routine, carefully designed to remove zits as soon as they even think of appearing, might actually be what’s making our breakouts even worse.
To clear some air, here are some of the biggest skincare mistakes that cause acne and worsen them while causing a handful of other skin problems as well…
9 Common Acne Mistakes That Are Worsening Your Breakouts
Acne Mistake #1:
Overusing the same actives in several different products
Just because you have acne, it doesn’t mean that every step of your skin care routine should involve anti-acne products. Especially since, if you check the labels, you will see that most of these products contain a handful of same ingredients, and in concentrations that already cover one routine requirements.
Anti-acne products can be very harsh and drying. Even one or two per routine can help with your acne. If every step in your routine contains salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, retinol or AHAs, they can severely dry out your skin both in short and long run.
Plus, every skin, including acne prone, has several different needs. So, make sure to balance those drying products with hydration, antioxidants and soothing anti-inflammatory components.
Acne Mistake #2:
Washing your face too much
Washing your face regularly is a crucial skin care step no matter your skin type, but especially if you have acne. You need to remove all the makeup, excess sebum and grime that is can clog your pores and worsen your breakouts.
But many people with acne prone skin take this advice to a whole other level. Yes, you need to wash your face every day, but washing it five times a day and using too harsh cleansers can only make the matters worse.
This is because overwashing your face can overstrip your skin of its natural oils that are actually necessary for your skin’s optimal functioning. This can also trick your skin into producing even more sebum to make up for the difference.
Acne Mistake #3:
Using makeup wipes instead of a cleanser
There are plenty of people who swear by only using makeup wipes to remove the daily buildup of makeup, sunscreen, grime and bacteria. But according to dermatologists, this is not a good idea even for people with clear skin, much less for skin prone to acne.
Apparently, makeup wipes can’t truly remove all the traces of dirt the way a good face wash can. Instead, they remove some, smear around some more and leave behind a residue that can clog your pores and trigger breakouts.
Plus, even just the friction that comes from rubbing your skin with makeup wipes can make the inflamed acne even worse. So, as tempting as it may be to just grab a wipe and speed up your evening routine, your skin would much prefer a regular wash, especially in combination with an oil cleanser.
Acne Mistake #4:
We know, we know! If your skin is oily and it breaks out all the time, sometimes there’s nothing scarier than to add even more oiliness by applying a face moisturizer.
But! Oily skin can still be dehydrated. Plus, just like we talked about overwashing your face, skipping moisturizer can trigger your skin to produce even more sebum.
A lightweight, quality moisturizer can maintain a balance and provide your skin with necessary healthy moisture it desperately needs after all the acne products. Just make sure your face moisturizer is non-comedogenic and suitable for oily skin and acne.
Acne Mistake #5:
No one is all too happy about having to apply sunscreen every single day. But there’s a reason derms stress it out all the time – you really do need that shield if you want to maintain your skin healthy and youthful.
And sun exposure can even make your acne worse after a while. Plus, some acne meds and ingredients that go into almost all acne products might actually make your skin even more sensitive to UV rays.
Of course, sunscreens can be quite thick and heavy, which is not ideal when your skin breaks out easily. Which is why it is important that you find a lightweight, non-comedogenic sunscreen that can protect your skin without clogging your pores.
Acne Mistake #6:
Applying acne treatment too soon
Spot treatments are amongst the best, the most concentrated acne fighters. They are certainly not the only treatment an acne prone skin needs, but they are the heroes that can make individual zits disappear much faster.
However, many people make a mistake of applying a spot treatment as soon as a new acne starts to develop deep inside the skin. However, this can actually trap the puss beneath the surface of the skin for even longer.
What you actually need to do is wait until you can clearly see the white head or until the zit is extracted before using the spot treatment to help it heal faster. You can read more here about everything you need to know about spot treatments.
Acne Mistake #7:
Being too harsh on your breakouts
Acne is an inflamed skin condition that just can’t stand harsh treatments. Anything that upsets the skin and can potentially worsen redness and inflammation needs to go.
So, picking at your acne with dirty fingers or long nails, harsh physical scrubs and rubbing the skin with, say, makeup wipes are all big no-nos. Even exfoliating brushes, as soft as they come, might not be the best idea for people with active acne.
There are other ways to exfoliate your skin and remove everything that is clogging your pores. In fact, your acne products probably already contain powerful exfoliants, such as glycolic and salicylic acids.
Acne Mistake #8:
Looking for a ‘quick fix’
The battle against acne is a long one and only consistent, balanced routine can give you the results you want. You can’t just switch between (often harmful) products that offer instant solution or give up as soon as you see first results.
Plus, as we already mentioned, too many actives can do more harm than good. A couple of well-chosen products, on the other hand, might take some more time to work, but they will get your skin where you want it to be.
So, as daunting as it might be, try to take a step back and figure out what your skin really needs. What it likes and what it reacts to well. Then just – be consistent.
Acne Mistake #9:
Only focusing on skin care
So, you’ve got your bullet-proof skin care routine, you are being consistent, but the breakouts just won’t go away. Maybe you are overlooking something that keeps causing your acne, that you are doing on a daily basis.
For example, are you making sure everything that comes in touch with your face doesn’t have a buildup of grime and bacteria on it? If you think about it, there are a lot of things that touch your face all the time, including pillowcases, towels, your phone, headsets, glasses, your hair and all the products you’ve put in it.
Your diet can also have a huge impact on your skin. The food doesn’t cause acne, but it can make them worse if you are already breaking out. Healthy diet and plenty of water – as boring as it sounds, it’s still one of the best ways to enhance your skin care, no matter your skin type.