5 Common Skincare Mistakes that can Cause Breakouts

by | Jul 6, 2020 | All Posts, Skin Care

Have you ever wondered why you’re still breaking out when you THINK you’re doing everything right? There are many common skincare mistakes that you may not know about. I’m no stranger to these mistakes, but having this information has helped me maintain clear skin for over a year now!

This blog post is based on my own experience with skincare and based on my consultations with my esthetician. So it’s purely informational, but it may help you. I strongly recommend talking to your dermatologist if you decide to try something new.

Investing in a LOT of skincare products can be very addicting, but making sure that you use them correctly is crucial if you want to reap the benefits.

Remember: You have to be patient when it comes to skincare because products usually take about 2-4 months of consistent use to work.

If you’re someone who has had clear skin for a while and you’re suddenly breaking out, being mindful of these mistakes can help your skin clear up.

5 Common Skin Care Mistakes that can Cause Breakouts!

1. Over washing your face or not washing it enough

There’s two sides to this one.

If you’re someone who has been washing your face with a face wash day and night every single day you may be stripping your skin of all-natural oils that it needs to stay healthy.

So, OVER WASHING your face will trigger more oil production because your skin is feeling stripped, which can cause breakouts.

On the other hand, not washing your face can also cause breakouts because

  1. There’s a lot of dirt on your face which can cause acne
  2. If you have oily skin not washing your face could trigger more oil production which also causes acne

The idea is to find a BALANCE – you need to understand what your skin can tolerate.

Listen to your skin, it’s going to break out if it’s angry with you and will be clear if it’s loving what you’re doing for it.

My solution:

I wash my face at night with a face wash for acne, and in the morning with water.

On days that I workout, where I need to wash my face twice a day, I use a gentle face wash.

For days I wear makeup I double cleanse with the gentle face wash and then only use water to wash the next morning.

2. Not moisturizing

Theres a myth that when you have oily/combination skin using a moisturizer will make you break out. I personally didn’t use a good moisturizer for a while because I feared that my skin would break out.

But a moisturizer is like WATER for your skin, its absolutely essential. A good way to think about this is that, without moisturizer dryer skin gets dryer and oily skin gets more oily.

There’s a reason there are moisturizers for different skin types – oily, combination, dry, normal. Use a moisturizer that is suited to YOUR skin type.

Adding a good moisturizer that is suited to your skin type will balance sebum/oil production because your skin will be hydrated, which means less acne.

Here are the moisturizer textures you should be looking for based on your skin type

  • oily skin – gel/water based light moisturizer
  • dry skin – cream based light moisturizer for the day cream based thicker moisturizer for the night
  • combination and normal – you have to test both of the above to see what works for you. This is because some combination skin leans more towards oily and others towards dry.

So, add a good moisturizer to you morning AND night-time skin care routine and your skin will thank you!

I’ve linked some of the moisturizers I recommend for oily/combination (leaning towards oily) below. These are the moisturizer I currently use and they’ve worked very well for me.

  1. PCA SKIN ClearSkin Moisturizer
  2. Clinique 72 hour Moisture Surge
  3. Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

FYI: Clinique and Laneige products are available in India on Nykaa.

3. Skin Purging or Over Exfoliating

It’s a very common practice to use MORE of the skincare products that are working the ‘fastest’ for us. I’m referring to exfoliators. The results we get post exfoliation seem instant so it’s natural to be tempted to exfoliate more often.

BUT over-exfoliation causes ‘skin purging’. Skin Purging is when your skin reacts to an active ingredient which increases the cell turnover rate.

So your skin is turning over FASTER than normal.

This actually disturbs your natural skin cycle and thus causes you to breakout more often.

You should be careful of this if you use any physical or chemical exfoliators in your routine. Especially with AHA’s and BHA’s as using them too often can cause purging and cause you to break out A LOT!

You’re actually exposing the bottom layers of your skin where there is excess sebum/oil, thus causing breakouts.

You need to switch to a gentle skincare routine if you’re experiencing this so that your skin has time to heal from the inflammation.

Introduce active back into your routine very gently, using them only once/twice a week.

My personal routine – I use a gentle chemical exfoliator every other night, and do a chemical exfoliating face mask every two weeks. I’ve slowly built up my tolerance to chemical exfoliators.

I recommend discussing this with your dermatologist to see if active ingredients will suit your skin.

I personally also stay away from physical exfoliators (like scrubs) because they’re much harsher and irritate my skin more.

4. Using the wrong combination of ingredients or using products in the wrong order

It’s very exciting to have an elaborate skincare routine BUT if you’re not using them in the correct order or mixing ingredients that shouldn’t be mixed you will trigger inflammation.

Some of the ingredients you should NEVER mix are:

  1. Retinol + AHA/BHA – This will cause irritation redness and dryness. Use these on ALTERNATE NIGHTS
  2. Vitamin C + AHA/BHA – These ingredients are dependent in your skin pH to be effective if you’re using them together you wont get the benefits. Use Vit C in the morning and AHA/BHA at night
  3. Retinols + Vit C – Causes irritation and redness
  4. Benzoyl Peroxide + BHA – Inflammation, peeling and redness. Use these on alternate days to improve you acne.

This is based on my research, there are many other combinations you should be mindful off. So take the time to research and see which skin care active ingredients you should not be combining.

For the order in which you should using your skin care products check out this post by Dermstore – https://www.dermstore.com/blog/in-what-order-do-i-apply-my-skin-care-products-infographic/.

Personally, each time I purchase a skincare product I check the main ingredients and google “what can you not mix with ‘name of ingredient'”. This has helped me build my routine so that all my products work for me and not against me.

5. Not being mindful of what sensitizes you

Lastly, the final skincare mistake you’re making is not being MINDFUL of what sensitizes your skin.

EVERYONE’s skin is different. Something that works for one person may not work for the other!

You have to figure out YOUR skincare routine based on what YOUR skin needs. This takes some time but you’ll figure it out if you’re paying attention.

If you’re breaking out take a look at all your products and check to see which one could be causing it. Remove products and re-incorporate them a week later to see if you’re more sensitive while you use them.

You could be sensitive to AHA/BHA, or Niacinamide, or Fragrance, and so much more.

I can’t give you a formula that will work for you because I don’t have your skin. It’s on you to work and research products that are suited for your skin.

But that’s honestly the beauty of skincare, once you take out the time to research and learn about the ingredients in your products you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions. Which means you’re less likely to break out!

I will be doing a breakdown of various skincare ingredients soon, so keep an eye out for that!

I hope this list helps you figure out what could possibly be causing your breakouts! Remember you’re in this for the long haul, so be patient and you will see results.

If you enjoyed this you may enjoy my blog post on the 5 step skincare routine for clearer skin! (includes product recommendations)

Comment below if this helped you understand your skincare routine better!

Here’s to the start of your self care journey!



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3 years ago

So detailed yet precise!! Love it

Hello Everyone I’m Disha

I am so excited that you’re here! I hope you are able to get value from my content. Here’s to starting your self care journey!

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