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10 common mistakes in daily skin care routine

The skin is the largest organ in the body therefore it needs special attention in order to remain healthy and have a youthful appearance. During aging the skin like all other organs and tissues undergoes degenerative changes but the changes in the skin are visible and thus often cause psychological distress.

There are many reasons leading to aging, some of them include genetic and endocrinological factors, UV radiation, poor nutrition, drugs, nicotine, alcohol abuse as well as infections and tumours.

Below are the most common mistakes that one makes in the routine skin care.

  1. Using expensive, non-effective or even harmful moisturizers

Often people buy creams based on their price and packaging or they are just influenced by advertisements. An ideal moisturizer should:

  • Minimalize and prevent TEWL ( Transdermal Water Loss)
  • Be hypo allergenic and fragrance free
  • Be non comedogenic ( should not block pores)
  • Restore the protective lipid barrier
  • Be well absorbed, providing immediate hydration
  • Affordable
  • Cosmetically acceptable and non-greasy.

Examples of moisturizers that meet most of the criteria are moisturizers from Cetaphil, Bioderma and Eucerin.

  1. Using cleansers with high pH (alkaline), for example soaps

Soaps have pH between 9-10.This high pH causes swelling of stratum corneum (the outer layer of the skin) and leads to unwanted deeper penetration of the soap resulting in irritation, dehydration (dryness) and itchiness of the skin. Another side effect of soaps is the removal of the protective lipid barrier in the skin which can increase sensitivity.

Better options for cleansing of the skin are so-called syndets (synthetic detergents) which have a pH of 5.5-7 (closer to the natural skin pH). They provide less lipid disruption. If one looks at the budget then Dove soaps are not a bad option, otherwise milk cleansers for sensitive and mature skin from Cetaphil and Eucerin are also a good choice.

  1. Poor protection from UV rays.

It is a well-known factor that UV rays (UVA and UVB) cause skin damage (photoaging) as well as skin malignancies and thus proper skin protection from UV rays is mandatory.

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and represents the time it takes for a person to get sunburned by UV radiation. So if an individual takes  20 minutes to burn, then a properly applied sunscreen with SPF 30 will provide 30 times longer protection : 20 x 30 = 600 minutes before sunburn.

There are two types of sunscreens: chemical (organic) and physical (inorganic).

Inorganic sunscreens contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, while organic products contain many other chemical substances.  Combinations of both are currently mostly recommended.

Both types work by absorbing UV rays, but inorganic also reflect up to 10 % of UV rays (organic sunscreens containing Tinosorb M offer the same action as inorganic screens).                                                       

Inorganic sunscreens offer a protection from UVA and UVB while most organic sunscreens only protect from UVB rays.

Another important issue is to apply the correct amount of the sunscreen, most of people use too little.                                                                                                                                                                                               

It is recommended to apply 2 mg of sunscreen per square centimetre of skin ( 2mg/cm2), generally two table spoons are needed to cover the full body, for the face and neck a quarter of a tea spoon.

The advised sun screens protection level is 50+.

And finally UV protection is highly recommended every single day unless someone lives in a bunker. Some indoor lights, like fluorescent lights, emit UV rays. UV rays can penetrate via windows.

My favoured sun screen product is from Bioderma Photoderm MAX tinted SPF 50+

  1. Not applying a potent skin agent at night

At night time one should treat the skin with more potent products for example AHA (alfa hydroxy acids), retinol and its derivatives. There are many studies confirming the useful role of these agents in treatment of photo-aged skin.

Topical tretinoin (RetinA) has proven anti-aging properties.  It is a true cornerstone in aesthetic medicine as the quintessential gold standard for topical anti-aging therapy. It is a product that has the ability to reverse changes caused by aging. It initiates a new collagen formation. Even when used alone it effectively treats hyperpigmentation and lentigines. It minimalized the size of pores, the skin becomes tighter and smoother with less wrinkles.

  1. Not applying topical vitamin C or using products which contain ineffective vitamin C.

There are many beneficial effects of the vitamin C on the skin. Studies have shown that vitamin C helps to prevent and treat photoaging by its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and collagen synthesis stimulating properties. As a result, the treated skin presents with less lines and wrinkles, a smoother complexion, less hyperpigmentation and less irritation.

There are many challenges to obtaining an effective product which has the most stable and permeable formulation of the vitamin C. There are many skin products on the market containing vitamin C, most of them very expensive.

The product which I recommend in my practice is Obagi Professional Vitamin C serum.


  1. Taking a handful of supplements/vitamins believing that it will improve the appearance of the skin

Already in 2004 the American Heart Association informed the public that an excessive intake of vitamin E increases the risk of death. Generally no skin supplements can replace a well-balanced diet. A nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and avoidance of highly processed food is the key to looking and staying healthy.

  1. Believing that using natural skin products are a healthier option.

There is no evidence that ingredients naturally occurring in plants are better than synthetic.

There are studies though indicating that natural agents more often sensitize the skin leading to allergic reactions.

  1. Neglecting the neck and hands

Many people apply their skin products on the face only, one should not forget about the neck.                              

It is also recommended to use good quality products on the décolleté and hands.

  1. Using too many skin products at once

Using too many skin agents can be harmful and in most cases is not necessary.  One should follow a simple and easy to understand regimen.

  1. Not getting enough sleep, smoking and abusing alcohol.

During a good sleep the skin undergoes repair processes, regeneration and rejuvenation.                                                            It is recommended to have 8 hours sleep.

 As per smoking and abusing alcohol it goes without saying that both will worsen the skin condition. They accelerate the skin natural aging, delay healing processes and increase the risk of infections. Same as for the UV rays, they should be avoided by all costs.