Have you ever wondered why you still don’t have clear skin? Even after all the expensive skincare products? All the homemade face masks? All the spa trips and all the cutting down of sugar? 

I mean seriously. There has never been more advancement in the beauty industry like there is now. There is skincare for all skin types, you can have access to international beauty secrets, expensive formulas, even artificial intelligence that can tell you what is wrong with your skin. Yet, you still get breakouts after a week or two of having clear skin. 

This just doesn’t sit right with me. So, I did my research to find out what is causing breakouts despite all the skincare we do. What I found are 31 lifestyle and even beauty habits that ruin our skin.

I’m going to point out the obvious first: hormones, periods, age, change of environment, climate changes tress, change of routine and fatigued skin. I.e. factors we can’t control. There are factors we can control though like: eating habits, ignoring skincare trends, spotting skincare myths and most of separating wellness habits from skincare habits.

Also, wellness tips like taking a hot shower, or a cold one, your hair care routine, daily body care routine as good and as important as they are to our lives, when mixed with our skincare routine turn out to be counteractive. I’ll be listing them below so you can make tiny changes that improve your skin.

Beauty & Lifestyle Habits Ruining Your Skin.

1. Not washing your face in the morning.

2. Sleeping on dirty pillows.

3. Sleeping with makeup.

4. Not exercising.

5. Applying products in the wrong order.

6. Tanning—chemical tanning.

7. Using cream cleansers: I love cream cleansers because they get the job done. But since I’ve been mostly indoors for so long, I’ve realized that my skin feels sore and bare after using it. It over cleanses my skin since I’ve not been outside, there’s no smoke, dirt, oils or sweat that need the vigorous cleansing of cream cleansers. I’ve had to use my gentle aloe foaming cleanser instead.

8. Using body moisturizer on your face: your body skin is different from your face skin, body moisturizers are heavier on the skin than face moisturizers. Don’t use one for the other.

9. Using body wash on your face: don’t use body wash or soap on your face either, it strips your skin of too much moisture.

10. Using hair spray: hair spray is made up of heavy oils, chemicals and grease. They get everywhere especially your hairline and that’s where most breakouts happen. Either stop using hairspray or clean your hairline immediately after use.

11. Using coconut oil: coconut oil is amazing for the body and it’s easy to get carried away with it since it smells so good and it just has too many benefits. Not to the face though, it will clog your pores and cause acne.

12. Taking a hot shower: hot water strips down the upper layer of your skin so use warm to cold water. What I do is just shower with hot water then wash my face with cold water instead.

13. Popping pimples: apart from spreading infection, by popping pimples you’ll cause more inflammation to your skin and make it harder for your skin to heal from the acne it already has.

14. Skipping sunscreen: sunscreen protects the sun from burning your face, causing wrinkles and reduces aging. Sunscreen is a must for you if you are into skincare because most of the products (scrubs and serums) leave your skin exposed to the harmful rays of the sun.

15. Ignoring your face and neck and only concentrating on your face: your neck and shoulders are the first areas to show signs of aging, they are as delicate as your face. You don’t need a whole new routine, just add a little more and pat it over those areas as well.

16. Not knowing your skin type: How would you know what kind of products to buy?

17. Using any kind of product that is not for your skin type: a normal skin moisturizer will not moisturize dry skin. And for all skin types doesn’t cut it either. Every brand now has products for various skin types. Find your skin type and use it as a guide.

18. Using dirty makeup brushes and spreading bacteria to your face.

19. Using expired makeup—expired chemicals on your skin are what they are so keep them away.

20. Over-exfoliating: exfoliating should remove the dead top most layer of the skin. But when you exfoliate too often, or use harsh exfoliates then they scrub the second tender layer of the skin which leaves it bare and unprotected and using skincare products on bare skin could cause a bad reaction.

21. Going into the sun after using scrubs or serums: always wait for a few minutes for your skin to heal and for the acids to get absorbed because heat accelerates reactions of acids and you’ll end up burning your skin.

22. Working your face: some of us can’t resist poking or pulling at our skin, these movements can cause tears in our skin which can get infected and cause a breakout.

23. Overloading of products: there’s a quantity of products you should use for your skin. Any more or less would either not work or become harmful.

24. Using the 60 second rule: if you need 20 seconds to clean your whole hand, why would you need 60 for your delicate delicate skin. Unless you have make-up on, there is no need to clean your face for that long especially if you are not using a gentle face cleanser.

25. Using natural oils: natural oils are amazing but not all are meant for direct application on the skin especially since you can’t really tell which quantity or concentration will work for you. There’s a reason traditional medicine is not very reliable. Using too little a dose won’t work and too much can cause more harm than good. It’s better to use natural oil derived products.

26. Leaving products on for too long: Your avocado mask should stay for no longer than 15 minutes. Your skin need less than 15 minutes to absorb the amazing nutrients from the mask onto your face. What else is there to absorb after the good stuff? The bad stuff.

27. Using too many acids: the only products that need acids are exfoliates and very few serums. You need at most 2 in your skincare routine which should be used at most 5x a week combined.

28. Dragging products on your skin: pat them into your skin. The products should go into (keyword: INTO) your skin. Dragging your delicate tender skin will just cause wrinkles.

29. Sticking to a product: no matter how good that product has been to your skin, it has to go. For at least another skincare routine. Skincare routines are supposed to improve your skin. But when it has done its job then there’s no job for it to do and then you’re wasting money and putting something useless on your skin. 

Read: 15 signs your skin needs a break and what to do about it

30. Changing your routine too often: testing too many products is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. It’s very tempting though with new brands coming out monthly and product reviews everywhere especially if the products you are using didn’t give you immediate results. Stick to a routine for at least a month, then you can decide to try something else. Don’t forget to test new products on a patch of skin for a few hours first.

31. Believing skincare myths: Your favorite influencer is not an esthetician. Stick to your dermatologist and stick to products that you know work for you. You don’t need to try everything under the sun.

The beauty & wellness industry have improved our lives in so many ways. But what happens when we have too many products that are supposed to achieve a simple task. There is no one fixed product routine that covers your complete care so when mixing two positives, it may become a negative. The key is to pay attention to what your skin needs and provide for it.

The best way to do that is to have a dermatologist that talks to you about your own skin and with that you can choose every aspect of your skincare accordingly. These changes won’t work overnight, give the time and I promise you will notice a big difference not just in how you look but also how you feel.


Ilham Usman is a skincare enthusiast. She is a beauty, confidence and self-development blogger that aims to help women feel beautiful despite society standards and helps them find the courage to go after their goals. Check out her blog and what she’s up to on Twitter and Pinterest.