We all know that lemon juice is bad for your skin, that you should regularly wash your cosmetic brushes, and that you shouldn’t leave the house without sunscreen. But there are less discussed beauty mistakes (and myths) out there that could possibly lead you down a path riddled with unfortunate skin woes. We spoke to a few pros to give you the 4-1-1, so read and change your ways if you’re guilty as charged. And of course, as always, if you have any Q’s about your routine, talk to your doc.
Truth: Your Hair Products Could Be Causing an Allergic Reaction
You may jump to conclusions and assume that those breakouts around your hairline and fringed forehead are acne. While that may be a culprit, an isolated splattering in these areas could potentially point to a bad reaction to a hair-care product. Anita Sun, medical esthetician and co-founder of Dermovia Lace Your Face, says if you notice tiny, blistery bumps, breakouts, and blemishes along your hairline or forehead, it could mean you’re having an allergic reaction to a hair product. That includes mousse and gels. If this is something that does happen to you, there’s a little trick you can try.
“To prevent the skin from irritation in transitioning into a new hair product, apply a light, fast absorbing facial oil along the hair line before you shower and before styling your hair for two to three weeks,” she suggests.
Truth: Makeup Can Be Good For Your Skin
“The misconception that putting on less or no makeup to allow your skin to rest can actually be harmful to your skin,” says celebrity makeup artist Allan Avendano, whose client roster includes Zendaya, Sarah Hyland, and Gigi Hadid.
“The fact is that stepping outside of your house during the day exposes you to harmful UV rays and going out with makeup actually gives you a protective barrier,” Avendano says. “Most foundations have titanium dioxide or some form of SPF, and even if there is a minimal amount, it still can act as a protective barrier. The key is to have something on so the rays aren’t directly hitting your skin.”
Clearly, Avendano is talking about SPF here, so that doesn’t mean to forgo your usual sunscreen just for foundation. He also doesn’t mean going to bed with your makeup on!
But on another note, there are plenty of makeup formulas out there with skin-care benefits, like ingredients built in that address anti-aging, hydration, and more.
Truth: It’s Totally Possible to Over Exfoliate
You should definitely exfoliate, you guys. You just shouldn’t over exfoliate.
“Somehow women have gotten the impression that the more they use retinols, glycolics, and scrubs the better. However, we really need to understand that the skin can only take so much of that stuff,” says Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of her own brand.
“I see time and again women who come in with red, inflamed skin who think they need more peels and microdermabrasion. The skin thins over time with all of that, and I think we can all agree that once you reach the point of inflammation you really can’t expect anything good to result.”
Vargas says you should exfoliate no more than twice a week in the spring and summer and that once per week in the winter is plenty.
Truth: There’s a Right to Apply Your Products
With the introduction of more and more product types—masks and serums and oils and creams, oh my!— things can get a little confusing during your skin-care regimen.
“As a rule, I like to apply everything from the lightest consistency to the heaviest,” says Avendano. For example, after you cleanse, you should apply your toner to help balance the pH of your skin. Then, you can move on to your serum, then face and eye creams. If you’re doing a special treatment, such as a peel or a face mask, try doing that after you cleanse and before you tone.
“As a side note, don’t apply all different serums for different benefits all at once,” adds Avendano. “Alternate them to get the maximum benefit of each one.” Again, talking to your derm about what products can be layered over top of one another is key.
Truth: Medicine Can Make Your Skin More Sensitive
“Ibuprofen–including Advil and Motrin—can make you sun sensitive and increase the risk of sunburn,” says Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, founder and director of the Capital Laser & Skin Care and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at George Washington University Medical Center. The same is true of certain antibiotics and other over-the-counter drugs. You should talk to your doctor about the side effects of any prescribed medicine you’re taking, and always be aware of the effects of OTC meds.
When in doubt, load up on the SPF, wear a large hat and try to keep out of the sun.
This article originally appeared on Mimi Chatter.