5 Skin-Care Mistakes Dermatologists Want You to Stop Making Right Now

Photo Credits: LStockStudio / Shutterstock

New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD and Montclair, NJ dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD are two of the most respected dermatologists in the northeast. 

Complete with chic black dresses and crystal-adorned kitten-heeled booties, the pair quietly demands—and receives—both respect and admiration when they walk into the room to promote their no-holds-barred podcast, The Gist, currently in pre-production for season two.

Today’s off-camera discussion: skin-care sins women don’t realize they’re committing. 

Misunderstanding Exfoliation
“Exfoliation is a powerful tool,” says Dr. Day, “but we need to understand its complexities when it comes to our skin.” Case in point: knowing when—and when not—to exfoliate. “Skin cells turn over a little slower in the winter, so you don’t need to exfoliate as much then,” says Dr. Day. 

Dr. Downie adds: “If you over-exfoliate your skin in the winter, it’ll get overly dry and chap—then you’ll want to scratch it and might produce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.” While one perfect formula doesn’t exist for every woman, listening to your skin is key. “If you exfoliate every other day in the summer, try once a week in the winter,” says Dr. Downie.

Dr. Day offers up another helpful exfoliation tip: “Start on the T-zone, then move out. This will give the most energy to the areas of the face that probably need it the most, then lets you go gentler or even skip other areas.” 

Perhaps the most valuable takeaway of them all: don’t be afraid to pile on your skin-care right after. “This is the time to put something valuable right into your skin after you exfoliate,” says Dr Day. Her recommendations: growth factors, antioxidants, and if your skin can tolerate it, retinoids

Neglecting Our Hands 
Shockingly, Dr. Downie explains that there’s been a massive uptick in cancers on the hand from her female patients—and Dr. Day agrees. “This is most likely from putting our hands under the UV lights at our nail salons every week or so,” says Dr. Downie. “Think of those things as miniature tanning beds—you should always keep sunscreen in your purse to apply right before you walk into your appointment.” 

Smoking
If you think a smoking habit doesn’t play that large of a role in the way our skin—particularly the skin on our face—ages, think again. “The chemicals found in smoke will make your skin heal slower,” explains Dr. Downie of the importance of skipping that next smoke, especially after getting a treatment or procedure done. “Smoking also decreases the oxygen supply to your face that would help speed up healing.” And yes, vaping does the same thing. 

Picking Your Face
Sometimes, a statistic has the power to speak for itself. This is one of those times. “A pimple will go away three times faster if you don’t pick it,” says Dr. Downie. *Adds Mario Badescu Drying Lotion to cart.*

Not Hydrating Your Skin Properly
As always, drinking plenty of water is the one of the best things you can do for your skin, but it’s not enough. “You can drink as much water as you want, but if the top layer of your skin is still dead and dry, it doesn’t matter,” contends Dr. Day. Her solution: using a humidifier. “Ensuring your bedroom, or wherever you spend the most time at night, had 35-percent humidity will make such a difference in the moisture of your skin.” No humidifier? No problem. “If you have a radiator, putting a bowl of water right on top and letting the water evaporate from there will do the trick.”