There are certain skin-care habits that we all know aren’t great, like sleeping in makeup and forgetting to apply SPF every morning. But aside from the obvious examples, there are a few other common practices that you may not realize fall into the “bad habit” category… and all of them are messing with the health of your skin barrier.
A quick refresher: Your skin barrier acts as your skin’s natural protective shield. It’s got its own microbiome (aka a layer of “good bacteria” that keeps your skin healthy), and when this ecosystem is disrupted it can lead to a whole host of issues including irritation, inflammation, and flare-ups of acne, rosacea, and eczema. A well-functioning skin barrier is imperative for locking in moisture, defending against the elements, and keeping your complexion healthy overall. It’s particularly important to keep it intact during the winter months, when cold and dry air run rampant, because it essentially acts as a “puffer coat” for your skin.
With that in mind, we rounded up three “skin-care bad habits”—care of our favorite TikTok dermatologist, Muneeb Shah, DO—that you’ll need to break up with (STAT!) for the sake of your skin barrier.
1. Exfoliating too often
If your skin could talk, it would be singing some Adele right now—go easy on me, baby! If you’re aggressively scrubbing your skin trying to get those dry, dead cells off your visage this winter, reel it in a bit. Over-exfoliation can lead to sensitized skin, which can weaken your barrier and cause inflammation and irritation. To avoid this, Dr. Shah suggests capping your exfoliating routine to a twice-weekly slough sesh.
2. Removing makeup with wipes
If you’re currently using makeup remover wipes—specifically to remove eye makeup—don’t. Aside from being not-great for the environment, derms (including Dr. Shah) note that they strip your skin of natural oils and can cause irritation. Unless you’re rinsing your face after you use them, these wipes often leave active ingredients on your skin, which can create issues for your barrier. “This residue can include surfactants, solubilizers, emulsifiers, and preservatives, which, when left on the skin, can lead to irritation or an allergic reaction,” Charlotte Birnbaum, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with Spring Street Dermatology, previously told Well+Good, adding that this residue can be particularly problematic for people with sensitive skin, rosacea, and eczema. Plus, though makeup wipes may help …….