Your skin goes through a lot. On any given day it's exposed to a slew of products, pollutants, and — depending on where you live — harsh weather.
That means skin needs good care to function and look its best. But a lot of us may be inadvertently engaging in skin-care practices that do more harm than good.
INSIDER spoke with dermatologists about skin-care habits and behaviors we're better off dropping. Here's what they had to say.
1. Assuming natural products are better
Just because a product is natural, doesn't mean it's better for your skin.
In fact, natural products can even harm the skin. Earlier this year, for instance, a group of doctors reported on a woman who got second-degree burns on her foot because she tried to treat a fungal infection with garlic.
And that's not the only example.
2. Self-treating skin conditions
3. Assuming baby products are better for sensitive skin
4. Thinking hypoallergenic products are better for sensitive skin
A product labeled "hypoallergenic" can still cause allergic reactions — even the Food and Drug Administration says so.
"There are no federal standards or definitions that govern the use of the term 'hypoallergenic,'" the agency writeson its website. "The term means whatever a particular company wants it to mean."
And it may not mean much. A few years back, a group of researchers tested 135 children's skin-care products labeled "hypoallergenic" and found almost 90% of them contained at least one known skin allergen.
The best way to find out if you'll react to a product is to read the ingredients list. And if you're not sure what you're allergic to, ask a dermatologist about patch testing, which can help you identify specific problem ingredients, Arthur explained.
5. Laying in the sun to get your vitamin D
"If cigarette smoking caused your body to produce vitamin D, would you start smoking cigarettes to raise your vitamin D levels? That's how dermatologists feel about getting unprotected sun exposure as a source for vitamin D," she said.
6. Trying to scrub away acne
7. Popping pimples
If you do get a pimple that you just can't stand, a dermatologist or aesthetician can treat it in a way that minimizes damage and inflammation, Garshick said. Or you could always satisfy the urge to pop by watching other people do it on YouTube.
8. Never changing your pillowcase
9. Exfoliating too hard and too often
10. Taking hot showers
11. Using makeup remover wipes
12. Sleeping in makeup
13. Using too many products — or too much of a product
When it comes to using new skin products, Garshick says less is more.
14. Relying too heavily on your sunscreen
Strange but true: Wearing sunscreen might backfire if you use it as justification to spend more time in the sun. In fact, some research shows that people who report using sunscreen don't actually get fewer sunburns.
two hours, and after swimming, toweling off, or excessive sweating.
15. Using toner
Toner is sometimes touted as a way to improve acne-prone skin, but it may not help with blemishes at all.
16. Cleaning cuts with peroxide or antibacterial ointments
"People think that cleaning a wound with peroxide ... prevents infection and helps with healing," she said. "However, peroxide is irritating to an open wound."
Instead, she recommended covering wounds with a plain ointment like petroleum jelly.
"Plain ointments also help avoid the unnecessary risk of creating an allergy to antibacterial creams and ointments," Hanson said.