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You may have bad skincare habits you don’t even know about. And no, we’re not talking about not removing makeup before bed or squeezing pimples — you already know those are bad habits! These are the little things that can make a big difference to the look of your complexion, and many are even beauty myths, meaning you actually think you’re doing the right thing, but sadly, you’re not. Enough teasing. On to the bad habits you should change right now.

Myth: Oily skin doesn’t need to be moisturized

Fact: That’s like saying that normal skin doesn’t need to be cleansed; of course oily skin needs to be moisturized. Moisturizers won’t put pore-clogging oils onto skin, they actually just help you keep the hydration your complexion needs to stay looking healthy. Despite common misconceptions, moisturizers don’t really add more moisture to your skin (at least not for long), they help your skin retain its natural moisture and prevent it from drying out. And yes, even oily skin can be dry. Sometimes, the reason behind excess oil is actually dry skin that is overcompensating for dryness.

Myth: You don’t need to wear sunscreen in the winter

Fact: The sun is always shining during the day, no matter the season. And as you’ve probably learned on a cloudy day in the summer, you can definitely still get a sunburn on a cloudy day. While the sun may not be quite as strong in the winter, you will still get sun damage from UV exposure. So try incorporating a moisturizer with an SPF into your daily routine.

Myth: Skin should feel squeaky clean after washing

Fact: If your skin feels squeaky clean, you’ve stripped it of some natural moisture. You never want your skin to feel tight or dry after washing and actually, you should moisturize within three minutes of cleansing before the water on your face evaporates, leaving skin dry. If you find your skin feels immediately taut or squeaky clean after cleansing, find a new, less harsh cleanser. If you’re aware that it’s your own overzealous scrubbing that’s the problem, only wash and rinse once, then apply a moisturizer.

Myth: Fruit scrubs are good for exfoliating

Fact: Exfoliating regularly is important, but you need to be careful about how often you scrub and with what. While a gentle physical exfoliant (meaning it has beads or other materials to literally scrub the surface of skin) can be beneficial, be careful about your scrub’s ingredients. This may be hard to hear, but your favourite apricot scrub may be doing more harm than good. Scrubs using fruit kernels literally use tiny pieces of the fruit’s pit to scrub your pores. Imagine using a peach or apricot pit in one piece on your face? Well, even in tiny granules, your skin is being damaged. Instead, look for gentler sugar-based scrubs.

Myth: You need to wash your face in the morning and at night

Fact: You really don’t accumulate a lot of dirt while you sleep. If you find that your skin is dry or irritated, especially in the winter, rinse your face with plain old water in the morning and follow with a moisturizer, then do a good cleanse each evening.

Myth: A hot shower is good for you in the winter

Fact: Hot water can actually dry out your skin and make it itchier in the winter. That goes for body and face, so no matter how cold you are, avoid turning up the water to almost burning temperatures. However, if you must have that hot shower or bath, make sure you moisturize immediately after getting out.

Myth: Skincare is all about taking care of your face

Fact: While we all know that we should moisturize our bodies as well as our faces, many of us ignore our necks and chests. This is a big mistake unless you’re hoping for a wrinkly neck and chest as you age. Your neck and chest are big indicators of your age and skin condition, so treat them like you would your face and moisturize them at the same time. You can use your usual face moisturizer or buy one specifically for the area.

Myth: You only need to wash your makeup brushes when you’re using a new colour or product

Fact: Even if you’re a devoted user of the same blush and colour and have been for years, you should be washing your makeup brushes at least once a month. Think of all the potential germs on your skin and hands and how you touch those brushes daily. Bacteria can build up in your brushes and cause pimples and other skin damage. So wash those brushes! Use a mild shampoo or professional brush cleaner, rinse thoroughly and let the brushes air dry.

Products to Try

skin damage

From left: Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15, $34 at Clinique; Fresh Sugar Face Polish, $68 at Sephora; Clarins Super Restorative Décolleté and Neck Concentrate, $96 at Clarins; M.A.C Brush Cleanser, $18 at M.A.C.