Top 5 Reasons You Don’t Have Your Best Skin (Yet!)

Before you roll your eyes about another soon-to-be skincare habits rant, let me sneak in this disclaimer: chances are, you aren’t doing everything wrong! The beauty world is full of incorrect information, confusing packaging, and flat out crappy products. The upside, is that the beauty world also has a wealth of good information, and well formulated and packaged products. I’ll admit, they can be hard to find. So let me help you! Start by evaluating your regular habits: the things you do every day (as far as skincare are concerned) are the most important. So if some of this list applies to you, don’t get flustered, throw your beauty routine out the window, and call it quits. Start with small, regular changes. Once you’ve made a habit out of it, you can always make other small adjustments. Remember: you’ll have your skin for your whole life, so it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

  1. Bad Cleansing Habits

Okay, we’ve all been there. Maybe you stayed out too late, or had too many glasses of wine, or just plain got lazy and decided not to bother with washing your face this evening. But this habit is absolutely the most critical one to break! Cleansing the skin properly is arguably THE most important step of your skincare routine. If you aren’t going to take the time to remove the make-up, dirt, and grime you’ve accumulated on your face the whole day, there is pretty much no point to lathering any other expensive ingredients on top of the gunk. A good end-of-day cleanse should involve an oil-based cleanser and washcloth to loosen up and remove the obvious make-up and gunk, followed by a second gentle cleanser. In other words, if you still consider using a make-up remover wipe as “cleansing the skin”, it’s time to make a change! If you’re looking for suggestions, I love Clinique’s Take The Day Off Oil Cleanser, and Cetaphil’s Gentle Cleanser.

2. Improper/Lack of Exfoliation

We all remember the St. Ives Apricot scrub days, don’t we? Fortunately, those days are long gone..or at least, they should be. I think “back in the day” we all knew we should be exfoliating every so often, it was just unclear how often, and with what. Fortunately, now we KNOW we should be using a chemical exfoliant regularly to help slough off dead skin and unclog pores. The actual number of times a week someone should exfoliate is entirely dependent on the strength of the product, and the tolerance of the person’s skin. However, it is safe to say everyone should be using a BHA and/or AHA product at least 1-2x a week! (Read more on AHA’s here and BHA’s here).

3. Not Protecting Your Delicate Skin with an SPF!

For some reason, this is probably the thing I get the most fired up about on the entire list. Likely, because people who are the WORST offenders of this know better! And frankly, there is just no excuse for not wearing sunscreen daily. UVA and UVB radiation from the sun are the primary causes of skin damage that leads to the “look” of aging. In a nutshell, sun exposure causes wrinkles, fine lines, loss of elasticity (plumpness of the skin), and sun spots! If I told you there was a magical, very well researched, inexpensive skin care product that could prevent all of this, most people would jump for joy. Except there is. It’s called sunscreen- also known as your best weapon to PREVENT aging- not reverse damage that’s already been caused! Shoot for at least SPF 30 for everyday. If you’ve read a few of my skincare posts, you probably already know I love the Clinique Pep Start SPF50.

4. Not Cleaning All the Stuff that Touches Your Face

The title is broad for one reason: there are three things people usually forget to do that all fall under this category. The first offender: your make-up brushes (and sponges!). When was the last time you cleaned those suckers? Like, REALLY cleaned them? Think about it this way- your skin harbors a mixture of ‘good’ bacteria, as well as some ‘bad’ bacteria. Touching these brushes to your face is going to allow some facial bacteria to end up on your brushes. From there, both types of bacteria have the ability to grow. So when you put that dirty brush back on your face for the 100th time without washing it, you are exposing yourself to whatever bacteria has built up on that brush. Aside from the microbiology side of things, your make-up with apply MUCH better with clean brushes, and your brushes will last much longer if you take good care of them (ie, wash them). I’d recommend spot-cleaning brushes every couple days, and deep cleaning them weekly. I LOVE this brush cleanser because it disinfects your brushes without water, and your brushes dry  almost instantly, so you don’t have to wait long to use them again!

Other than make-up brushes, the other big offenders are your pillowcase and your hands. You spend 8 or so hours on your pillowcase every night, drooling and sweating. You are eventually going to build up oil, bacteria and sweat there too. Aim to swap out for a clean pillowcase every week!

5. Not Drinking Enough Water

Not going to lie, I almost didn’t list this as number five. I went back and forth between a few other common mistakes, but ultimately decided on this one as number five because it was the simplest, most easily controllable change people could make to see improvements in their skin. I’m gonna go out on a limb here without any *actual* data other than my own observations/experience. I would say the most common skin issue is dehydrated skin, not dry or oily skin. In other words, your skin is craving moisture that you can’t get from smearing on a pound of moisturizer every night. Remember, your skin cells, just like the rest of your body, need water! Make it a point to stay hydrated, and you’ll see improvements in your skin, and all kinds of other health benefits too. Plus, its one of the easiest, most inexpensive things you can do to step up your skin-care game.


Did you learn something new today? I certainly hope so. As always, feel free to reach out with questions!

-Amanda Kennedy

Follow along on IG: @amandadev4

This post may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, I only share products I know and love. 

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