Health Experts Say These Three Skincare Mistakes Are Aging You

There’s no way around it: we age. Once we hit a certain age, our hair starts to go gray (and thins!), our metabolism decreases, and our skin loses its elasticity. Although wrinkles and sagging skin aren’t uncommon and happen to many people over the course of their lives, you may still feel like you’re the only one experiencing it. Many women actually make three crucial mistakes in their daily skincare regimen that end up causing more wrinkles and sagging skin.

To learn more about skincare routine mistakes that age skin, we spoke with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Viktoryia Kazlouskaya, PhD, who is currently practicing at Khrom Dermatology in Brooklyn, New York, and Ghanima Abdullah, style and beauty consultant at The Right Hairstyles. They said don’t overclean your face, check the ingredients in your moisturizer, and make sure you’re wearing sunscreen every day. Find out more below!

Don't overclean

Probably the most important part of any skincare routine, and usually the first step, is cleaning your face. Your face gathers dust, dirt, sweat, and grime after a long day or night. If left to their own devices, this gunk can cause inflammation and an acne breakout.

"The most important cleaning mistake is not cleaning itself," Kazlouskaya says. "Lately, there is a lot of research on how environmental factors may lead to skin damage with pollution and free radicals. Washing off the dust, cosmetics, and sweat is essential to keep your skin youthful and prevent inflammation that may lead to acne breakouts and worsening of skin conditions such as acne, seborrheic dermatitis, or rosacea." What you choose to wash your face with is crucial. The major mistake you can make when it comes to washing your face is using the wrong product that doesn't suit your personal skin type.

However, just as cleaning your face is important, overcleaning your face can actually cause more wrinkles. "Washing your skin too frequently with soap dries out the skin and can age you. It's better to use a cleanser without soap for everyday use, especially if you're taking off makeup at night," Abdullah emphasizes. In general, you should be cleaning your face at least twice a day. You should wash your face both morning and night.

Check the ingredients in your moisturizer

While you may want to skip on your moisturizer, Kazlouskaya says, "Dry skin usually appears duller and more wrinkly. Additionally, dry skin may lead to inflammation. It is a common mistake for people with oily skin to skip a moisturizer that may actually worsen or cause acne breakouts." And, you have to be careful of the moisturizer you pick. You'll want to be certain all of the ingredients are safe for your skin.

"Using a moisturizer with glycolic acid or lactic acid is going to age you. Chemical exfoliants should only be used two or three times a week," Abdullah explains. "But if you're moisturizing twice a day with a moisturizer that contains a chemical exfoliant, it will dry your skin out and make fine lines more pronounced. Think of it like the chemical exfoliant that it is, instead of considering it a moisturizer."

"Use a proper moisturizer to keep the skin from drying out and forming fine lines. But avoid hyaluronic acid," she continues. "Hyaluronic acid is great for filler shots, but as skincare, it tends to pool liquid behind the skin and contribute to sagging. Look for ingredients like rosewater and glycerin to hydrate the skin." Serums are also a great way to moisturize aging, dry skin in the winter.

Wear sunscreen every day

During the summer, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating. Even in winter, when the days are short and the sun often hides behind the clouds, UV rays are still beaming down ready to hit your skin–so, you should still be wearing sunscreen in the winter.

Kazlouskaya says, "Avoiding using sunscreen daily will definitely age you. Sun damage leads to collagen destruction, and pigmentation, and may cause early pre-cancerous changes that age your skin." Yikes!

"There are three key necessary steps that every person needs for skin care: cleansing, moisturizing, and sunscreen," she continues. "Retinoids (chemical components of vitamin A) are known to prevent mild wrinkles and improve skin texture and the appearance of pores. Prescription retinoids are the most effective but may cause irritation initially. In this case, OTC retinol can be used."

Remember: wrinkles and sagging skin are completely normal parts of aging. You can prevent and treat your changing skin with a little time and patience. In the meantime, try to figure out if your skincare routine has any of these common mistakes that may be frustrating your skin!