our Top 6 bad skincare habits and how to break them

Vanessa Gibbs

There are many things we do in daily life that can be considered bad habits—just take our Netflix binges and late-night snacking. But when it comes to our skin, you could be making some simple mistakes in your skincare routine that are stopping you from getting results. 

Here at Face Dr, our skin experts have decades of experience in the industry. We’ve helped thousands of clients break their bad skin habits and find the best products, ingredients and routines for them to get that clear glowing skin we’re all striving for. 

Want those results for yourself? Find out directly from an expert what you’re doing wrong and how to fix it with our free online skincare consultations. You can get tailored advice and a made-for-you skincare routine to tackle any concern. 


Here are the bad skincare habits we’ll cover: 

#1 Using low-grade sunscreen 

#2 Over cleansing or exfoliating  

#3 Not investing in the basics 

#4 Not giving a skincare routine enough time 

#5 Choosing the wrong products  

#6 Not getting expert advice 

Interested in more skincare advice? We’ve covered everything from ingredients like azelaic acid, the skincare ingredients that work well together, and how long new skincare routines take to work.  

Now onto the bad habits that may be holding you back from clear skin—and what you can do to fix them. 

#1 Using low-grade sunscreen 


sun shining through clouds

We all know just how important using sunscreen is for our skin. It not only protects you from burning, but it also prevents everything from dark spots to wrinkles to skin cancer. But many people only apply sunscreen on those very sunny days. Unfortunately, our skin can get sun damaged throughout the year—no matter the weather. So it’s important to wear sunscreen every day, rain or shine. However, not all sunscreens are made equal. 

Most high street sunscreen products will protect you from UVA and UVB rays. These are the rays that come from the sun that most often cause burning, discolouration, premature ageing and skin cancer. However, there are other types of light out there that can cause just as much damage, and that’s where high street products just don’t cut it. 

Medical-grade sunscreens protect your skin from those UVA and UVB rays, but also from IR-A and HEV light. IR-A, or infrared, and HEV, or high energy visible light, can also come from the sun. But our devices—including our phones and laptops—emit these types of light, too, and they can cause premature ageing in the skin. 

Luckily, this is a bad habit that’s easy to break. Simply switch your low-grade sunscreen for a medical-grade one. We recommend ZO Skin Health sunscreens as they’re some of the only products out there that protect against IR-A and HEV light. 

Face Dr top pick: 

  • ZO Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 — protect your skin from all kinds of damaging light and leave it with a sheer matte finish with this SPF 50. This is one of our favourite sunscreens as it not only provides great protection, the huge bottle means you won’t run out of product too soon—and it’s the lowest priced. To find out more, simply email us for product information and pricing at hello@myfacedr.com 

#2 Over cleansing or exfoliating  

If you’re not noticing results from your skincare routine, it can be tempting to want to use a product more. But this not only won’t work, it can actually damage your skin. If you’re not getting the results you’re looking for, it’s probably down to the products you’re using rather than how often you’re using them. 

The most common items to over use are cleansers and exfoliators. You should only be cleansing twice a day—although if you wear make-up you should double cleanse in the evening. And you should be exfoliating either with a gentle product once or twice a day or, if you’re using a stronger product, a few times a week. Over cleansing and exfoliating can leave your skin dry, red and flakey and even cause it to produce more oil to combat that dryness, leaving behind a shiny appearance. 

Instead of simply upping the amount you use a product to try and get results, simply switch to more effective products that deliver results without the need to overly strip the skin. 

Face Dr top picks: 

  • ZO Gentle Cleanser — as the name suggests, this cleanser is gentle and soothing for the skin, but still uses high-grade ingredients to cleanse it. 
  • ZO Exfoliating Polish — exfoliate without stripping the skin with magnesium crystals to remove dead skins and get your skin glowing 
  • ZO Exfoliating Cleanser — combine the two with this exfoliating cleanser that’s gentle enough to use everyday but potent enough to give you real results. It’ll remove dirt, oil and make-up as well as dead skin cells to leave you with a clear complexion. 

To find out more about these products and see pricing, email us at hello@myfacedr.com

#3 Not investing in the basics 


man using face mask

Serums, masks and exfoliating treatments are exciting. When looking at which products to invest in, it’s easy to go for these and stick with cheaper basics like cleansers and sunscreens. But these skincare basics are the foundation of your skincare routine and make all the difference in the health of your skin. They also set your skin up in the best way to absorb other products and ingredients. 

If you’re on a lower budget, make sure you invest in a high-grade cleanser, hydrating serum and sunscreen. Then, you can move onto investing in things like exfoliants, toners and masks and other serums as needed. When it comes to high-quality skincare, look out for science-backed medical-grade brands—we love ZO Skin Health, AllSkin Med, Obagi and iS Clinical, for example.

One benefit of choosing the same brand to invest in is that the products are often all formulated to work well with each other. 

If you want a routine that’ll provide huge results without any unnecessary products, we love the ZO Fundamental Five routine. If you prefer to keep things even simpler, we can recommend a three-step routine that’ll still provide benefits for your skin. 

#4 Not giving a skincare routine enough time 

When we start a new routine, we’re all eager to see results, and see them fast! But unfortunately, that’s just not how our skin works. Ingredients take time to make a difference, especially if they’re working in the deeper layers of our skin. Plus, everyone’s skin is different and different concerns may take longer to clear up or appear visibly improved on the surface. 

The average skin turnover is about six weeks. That means it takes about six weeks for your skin to create new skin cells and shed the old ones. These new skin cells not only need to be made, but they take time to move up to the surface of the skin where you can see the difference. And it can often take a few skin cycles for changes to really show. This may be 16 to 20 weeks. Many people give up on their medical-grade skincare routines before this and miss out on the results to come.

Glowing and healthy skin is worth the wait. So make sure you stick with a routine long enough for it to work its magic. Want to find out how long specific ingredients can take to work? We’ve covered that in detail here

#5 Choosing the wrong products 


skincare products and lemons

Everyone’s skin is different and therefore everyone needs different products and different routines. Our own skin can change throughout our life, as our hormones change and even throughout the year. Another bad skincare habit is therefore choosing the wrong products. 

This could mean using products that focus on oil control when you have dry skin. Or perhaps exfoliating with mandelic acid when something stronger, like glycolic acid, would suit you better. This could even mean using the right products in the wrong way, like using it too much, not applying it to the right places (don’t neglect the neck!) or not letting it absorb before moving onto the next step in your routine.

With a professionally built routine, you can not only get advice on how to use products correctly, you can make sure you’re using the best products and ingredients for your skin and adapt this whenever it changes. 

And the best way to know if you’re using the right products in the right way is to check with an expert—which leads us nicely onto our sixth bad skincare habit. 

#6 Not getting expert advice 

Whether you want to target a specific problem—like wrinkles, acne or hyperpigmentation—or you just want to keep your skin looking its best, you don’t have to figure it out alone. In fact, one of the biggest bad skincare habits we see is people choosing the wrong products because they haven’t got expert advice.

Plus, when expert advice is free, there’s no excuse not to take it—and that’s exactly what we offer! You can book a free online skincare consultation with one of our skin experts. We’ll analyse your skin over a 30-minute video call and ask about any concerns you’re looking to tackle. With this information, we can then recommend the best products to try, ingredients to use and even which routine you should be following. We can answer any questions you have on how to use certain products or any other bad skincare habits you may have that are affecting your skin. 

You’ll get your own dedicated skin expert you can contact for advice at any time. And we offer free reviews so you can make sure your routine is still the best one for your skin. 

Ready for an expert opinion? 

Face Dr expert giving online skincare consultation

Have we convinced you to break bad skincare habit number six? If so, we’ve made it easy to do so. You can book your free online skincare consultation and do it without even leaving the house. 

Our experts will only recommend products we’ve seen first-hand results from and brands that are backed by research and science and use medical-grade ingredients. Plus, we can ship any purchases you make directly to your door—though there’s never any obligation to buy. 

We can help you break all your bad skincare habits and build a routine to get your skin looking fresh, clear, young and healthy. 

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