Skincare Mistakes I’ve Made Over The Years (And How I Sorted Them Out)

Skincare Mistakes I've Made Over The Years (And How I Sorted Them Out)

As much as I love blushes and lippies and the latest perfume, the one thing that appeals to me the most is good and proper skincare. It’s funny but now that I’m in my mid 30s, my skin is faring is so much better than when I was in my mid-20s. Back then, my skin was all kinds of messed up and I had no idea what the heck I was doing. I used products from brands that Mum said were good but little did I know that while the brands were good, the products I was using weren’t. With experience and education, I discovered what I needed to keep my skin in as tip-top shape as possible.

This hasn’t always been the way for me. I’ve made many, many skincare mistakes over the years that messed my skin up and it took me a long time to realise that I was doing things wrongly that contributed to skin problems like dehydration, over-production of sebum (hence making my nose especially oily), breakouts, rashes and more. I thought I’d share some of those mistakes with you today and how I managed to sort them out.

Using harsh scrubs almost daily

The mistake:
I remembered rejoicing the day I discovered St Ives’ Apricot Scrub. This was many years ago and my local pharmacy had just started stocking St Ives products, ones I’d only been able to see in magazines so far. I’d only used Biore facial scrubs back then, and while I thought they were all right, I fell head over heels in love with the Apricot Scrub. Little did I know that they contained sharp kernels that were abrasive on the skin rather than just exfoliating it a little too well. And I was even using them on an almost daily basis! A few years later, I stumbled upon new facial scrubs that felt like fine sand and thought “what the heck was I thinking, using such harsh scrubs??

How I nipped it in the bud:
I stopped using apricot scrubs on my face but I must say, they’re bloody fantastic for the elbows, knees and especially dry and cracked heels. I have no problems using apricot scrubs on the rest of my body either as they exfoliate so well. But I draw the line at using them on my face, neck and decolletage. For the past few years, I’ve even reduced my use of scrubs to just once a week or even bi-weekly as I favour chemical exfoliants now. If you’re still using apricot scrubs on your face, please reconsider and use them on your body instead. There are plenty of gentle facial scrubs these days that don’t feel as though you’re rubbing gritty sandpaper on your skin.

Not using enough sunscreen

The mistake:
When I first started using sunscreen regularly and announced proudly on the blog many years ago that one must use sunscreen regularly too, what I didn’t mention back then was actually how little of it I use on my face and body. It was lack of education on my part that while I know I have to apply sunscreen daily, at that time I didn’t actually know I had to apply a lot of it on my face and body. I remembered squeezing just the tiniest amount to apply all over my face AND neck. I used so little on my arms and legs that in hindsight, I might as well not even bother.

How I nipped it in the bud:
Thanks to moving to Australia (it’s imperative to use even more sunscreen here) and learning from Dermalogica of the actual amount I needed to use, I’ve increased the “dosage” significantly. Back then if you’d told me I needed at least 1 teaspoon of sunscreen on my face, I’d think you were joking. These days, I go through a bottle of sunscreen quickly and during the summer months, I actually need multiple tubes of it instead of just one to tide me over half a year.

Rushing the skincare application process

The mistake:
It wasn’t till just a few years ago that I don’t actually take my time to apply my skincare. Back then my skincare routine consists of toner, serum, moisturiser and sunscreen, and it would take me a maximum of 3 minutes to slap all of those on. That’s exactly how I’d do it; I’d literally slap it on and move on to the next step as quickly as possible. Slap slap slap. I didn’t bother waiting for each step to properly absorb before I moved on to the next item. In retrospect, I could have just mixed all toner, serum, moisturiser and sunscreen in a bowl and slap that on instead because everything was mixing together when I was applying each item so quickly. *facepalm*

How I nipped it in the bud:
Skincare application should be a relaxing and enjoyable process and what I did was make it into an inconvenience that I had to go through before I could move on with my day. So I slowed it down, way down. I made sure to give myself ample time to apply my skincare, giving each product time to sink in before I moved on to the next product. Believe it or not, by not rushing the skincare application process, I saw the improvement on my skin. I thoroughly enjoy my skincare process now as it’s a time for me to relax and not drive my blood pressure through the roof with all that rushing.

Not drinking enough water

The mistake:
I used to have a very bad habit of not drinking enough water a day. There were many times when I’ve gone all day with just one glass of water. While this didn’t wreak obvious havoc on my skin, what I developed were many painful mouth ulcers. My terrible lack-of-water-drinking habit sometimes also dried my lips out so much that hard skin developed on the outline of my lips, making it look as though I’ve been wearing a lip liner all day and night. The mouth ulcers and the painfully chapped lips were warning signs that I hadn’t been drinking enough water.

How I nipped it in the bud:
Keeping a glass of water on my desk doesn’t work because once I’m done, I usually forget to replenish the water. What helped tremendously was a big bottle of water on my desk. It contains 3 glasses of water and I make sure I replenish that bottle at least once a day so that I’ve made my quota of 8 glasses of water a day. If you have problems forgetting to drink water, keep a water bottle on your desk at work or at home, preferably right in front of you. Make sure it’s a large water bottle and not just one of those tiny 350ml ones.

What I love about skincare is that it changes as we age. Our skin changes and what we use changes. It’s a journey of getting to know our skin and how to love it better.

In many cases, it’s not too late to undo what has been done.

What about you? Have you made any skincare mistakes over the years? How did you nip those mistakes in the bud?

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15 comments… add one
  1. Mel

    Yeah, I definitely don’t wear sunscreen on my body unless I’m intentionally going outside in sunshine. Most days I apply a SPF 15 (gah I’m sorry!) to my face. But I work in an office and only manage to get 20 minutes of outdoor time while at work. If I go out in the sun on the weekends or after work I do use SPF 50 all over.
    Mel recently posted..What I got for Christmas 2015My Profile

    1. Tine

      Now that the sun rays are getting more and more intense, please do pop your high SPF on your arms and legs, even when going to work. I had SPF30 on yesterday when I went for a 30+ min run and came home sunburnt 🙁

  2. Yu Ming

    Hi Tine, long time no comment 😉 I loved reading this because I made similar mistakes too – wearing too little sunscreen and polishing my face with St Ives Apricot Scrub daily – YIKES!!!! Another skincare mistake I made was quite recent – I used a facial sunscreen with SPF50 that had alcohol in it and after two hours in intense sun, my face still burned. One, I should’ve reapplied in one hour and two, I think the alcohol content does contribute to the skin feeling extremely sensitive. Oh and not putting lip balm with SPF when out in the sun for long hours. I think I’ve gotten to know my skin better but am still learning 😉

    1. Tine

      Hello hello Yu Ming! How are you? Good to see you again!
      Omg I did that too! Polished my skin with that St Ives Apricot Scrub daily. What were we thinking? Might as well had rubbed sandpaper on my face. 😛
      Oh yeah I make that mistake too of not applying lip balm with SPF. It’s still a mistake I’m doing today. Ooops.

  3. Kate

    Same as you, I used the ST Ives apricot scrub also daily until my skin got so sensitive, then I realized I went in the wrong direction, and I continued to use the remaining on my back / legs. Nowadays I prefer using chemical exfoliants compared to physical ones.

    I used to skip sunscreen due to the greasy texture until I came across Heliocare Gel sunscreen. It feels cool upon application and that changes the game all together. And I found the ease of using sunscreen with liquid texture, that makes it even better! Now I maintain a diligent skincare routine with sunscreen everyday, even when I’m indoors.

    1. Tine

      Same here. Man that Apricot Scrub was like sandpaper on the skin, and not even the very fine sort of sandpaper. Having said that, it’s fantastic on the body though, especially when dry-scrubbing. Like you, I prefer chemical exfoliants too these days. They do a better job and not abrasive.

      Good on you for maintaining a good sun protection regime, Kate! 😀

  4. Yip

    I’m so glad I discovered sunscreen early! I’ve been using it daily for years now and my favourite is the Neutrogena dry touch sunscreen! I’ts amazing to use under makeup and it feels so light. I did however, make the same mistake and use rough scrubs every day as I thought it would reveal a clear layer of skin underneath! Now I just light scrubs just once a week or once a fortnight!
    Yip recently posted..Review: Laneige Water Sleeping Pack_EXMy Profile

    1. Tine

      That’s awesome, Yip! Oh yeah, that Dry Touch sunscreen is good. Have you tried the Ultra Sheer Clear Face version? It’s actually lighter. If that’s your kind of thing anyway 🙂

      Scrubs are addictive when you first discovered it. I know when I first felt the smooth skin after scrubbing, I thought I WILL USE THIS EVERY DAY! Little did I know that scrubs weren’t supposed to feel like gritty sandpaper and definitely not supposed to be used daily! 😛

  5. Kat Ness

    I think I’ve used about 10 tubes of that apricot scrub in my lifetime! It felt so good at the time but now I know there’s better ways to exfoliate. I still try not to slap on my skincare… but it takes sooo long!!!!
    Kat Ness recently posted..NotD | Regal ManiMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha yeah I know what you mean. I’d suggest at least taking your time on your skincare routine in the evenings. Early mornings can be hard especially when rushing out to work but in the evenings, treat it as skin pampering time. You’ll see a difference on your skin, I can promise you that. 🙂

  6. MonicaP

    The mistake I’ve made is not using enough product. I think “you only need a dime size” is not always true. I think using a good dollop of moisturizer is always good to do, so now I slather it on 🙂

    MonicaP recently posted..Inspired by KUTMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I know! Especially sunscreens, I tell ya. I used to apply smaller than a pea sized amount of sunscreen on my face and neck and chest. And then I blame the sunscreen and call it useless when I get sunburnt. Idiot. 😛

      1. MonicaP

        tee hee 😉

  7. Efrain

    I’m guilty of not applying enough sunscreen and thinking that a moisturizer with SPF was enough, so shame on me. Also I think I didn’t use one apricot scrub but I used normal scrubs instead of chemical ones so it’s almost the same thing.

    And I’ve learnt my skin doesn’t work well with cleansers that foam, so yes in my case Caroline Hirons was right.

    1. Tine

      Hahahah all hail the queen of skincare, Ms Hirons! 😛

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