6 Things Dermatologists Wish All Women Would Do

You have the basics down and follow the cardinal rules of skin care—you wash your face before bed, drink plenty of H2O and exfoliate your skin squeaky clean. But what are the other things you do, or don't do, that make your dermatologist cringe? Here are the top things your dermatologist wants you to stop (or start) doing, right now!

Stop picking and overplucking.
As any good dermatologist will advise, stop touching your face! You don’t have to be a compulsive picker to cause damage to your skin. Sometimes it's just one little blemish or ingrown hair that appears out of the blue and keeps nagging you until the next thing you know, you’ve created a mountain out of a little molehill.  “It’s damaging to your skin and the resulting scarring and dyspigmentation are often harder to manage than the original problem,” says Houston dermatologist Elizabeth Geddes, MD. Instead of fretting over the tiniest imperfection, take a break from overgrooming and allow your skin to calm down on its own. “Throw away your large magnifying mirror and end your nightly ritual of picking and overplucking,” she adds.

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Don’t tan.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but sun-worshipping is at the top of the list of big no-no’s that could be aging you. “The number-one thing I’d wish people would stop doing is tanning,” says Orlando, FL, dermatologist Kathleen Judge, MD. “It causes cancer and prematurely ages you.” With all of the self-tanners available, it's now easier than ever to get a golden glow without the associated risks of sun exposure.

Use sunscreen.
Forgetting to put on sunscreen is another mistake your dermatologist doesn’t want you to make. “A lot of people think it’s OK to stay outdoors longer on a cloudy or cool day because it's safer, but the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays penetrate clouds and cold air,” says Dr. Judge. If you don’t have time to layer on sunscreen, use makeup with SPF to protect your skin; even on the days you don’t think you need it. According to Dr. Geddes, “Sunscreen is a must— ultraviolet light leads to breakdown of collagen and increased pigmentation— the hallmarks of premature aging. Sunscreen that contains titanium dioxide, iron oxide or zinc oxide reflects the sun's harmful rays away from your skin.”

Forgo the essential oils.
Essential oils can have a rejuvenating effect on your skin, but not if you’re prone to breakouts. “There’s recently been a surge in the use of essential oils, which may have benefits, but they can also cause allergic rashes and acne-like breakouts. It’s best to discuss these things with your dermatologist before applying them to gentle areas of skin, like your face,” advises Dr. Geddes.

Streamline your regimen.
Pare down your skin care routine and stick to the essentials to avoid layering on products that can cause irritation when combined. “To achieve glowing, healthy skin, consistency is key. A carefully crafted regimen tailored to your skin type and trouble issues will give you the best results,” recommends Dr. Geddes. “Gently cleanse, moisturize (only if needed) and use an antioxidant-rich cream, a sunscreen and a vitamin A cream at night.” Dr. Judge advises the same, “Cleanser, serum, moisturizer, a topical retinoid and sunscreen are absolute musts.”

Go see a pro.
Your dermatologist is your biggest asset to help you maintain a flawless complexion. A visit to a pro can sometimes do more than any miracle product or spa facial treatment. “Monthly chemical peels or microdermabrasion will do wonders to help you achieve glowing, healthy skin,” says Dr. Geddes. Dr. Judge adds, “It’s never too early to start using a topical retinoid—they are available in prescription- and non-prescription strength and your dermatologist can help you find the treatment that is right for you."