6 Habits That May Be Hurting, Rather Than Helping, Your Skin
by Brett Marlow
Published Mar 23, 2014
Want to look like Jennifer Aniston when you’re 40? Yeah, us too. Taking care of your skin can get complicated when there’s a never-ending supply of “new and improved” products out there, making big claims and advertising dramatic before-and-afters. That’s why we turned to skin care expert and celebrity go-to aesthetician Mila Moursi, who works with Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Ellen DeGeneres, and recently launched her product line at Barney’s.
Moursi recently shared with us the common skin care mistakes she’s seen clients make during her lengthy career. Are you an offender? Read on and find out.
“There are two steps to proper cleansing: washing and applying the proper toner. I think a lot of people buy toners and cleansers and don’t use them or they skip one or both at night, when they’re too lazy or too tired,” says Moursi.
Correct it: Don’t skip out. Form a routine and stick to it. According to Moursi, this should involve applying cleanser to a damp face and gently rubbing it in. Instead of using your hands to rinse off, use a clean warm wash cloth and gently pat skin to remove. The reason? Using your fingers to remove cleanser only adds further excess oils and debris to a just-cleansed complexion. “You’re re-doing what you just undid,” says Moursi. Follow up with toner, saturating two cotton pads and swiping over the face, neck, and, décolletage.
Just like our bellies can reveal our bad eating habits, your face can get fat—literally, as in thickened, overly plump skin—from absorbing too many products. If that’s you, it’s time for a diet. “Some clients, when I see them the first time, I tell them, “Your face is obese,” says Moursi. It happens after overloading [with] too many oils and products when it’s not necessary.”
Correct it: “The key is a very simple regimen. As simple as one-, two-, three-, or four-step process, but with the right products," says Moursi. Ask your dermatologist or aesthetician for advice, get your routine down, and stick to it.
Using too high an SPF can prevent oxygenation of the skin and may clog pores, says Moursi.
Correct it: On the face, stick to an SPF up to 30, no higher, and reapply as needed. There are exceptions, of course—especially for those prone to skin cancers and people with fairer skin who should use a stronger SPF and reapply more frequently.
“Such a mistake!” says Moursi. “Most people think going to a professional aesthetician is too expensive, but when they see how much money they’re spending by cherry-picking and buying the wrong products, it’s actually more expensive than having the proper guidance in selecting products that work in synergy.”
Correct it: Save up, and then pick up the phone and call an aesthetician, dermatologist, or even your physician. Make an appointment, let them assess your skin and recommend or prescribe the right regimen that will work for your needs. You’ll see better results and know exactly why. A physician can also tell you if you’re overdoing it with vitamins, that if taken in excess, can also cause skin “obesity.” Moursi recommends a blood test and a professionally prescribed list of supplements based only on nutrients you’re truly deficient in.
“Why are we stopping at the neck? If skin is your body’s largest organ, why wouldn’t you treat it head to toe?” says Moursi. “That’s how the concept of my spa started. I would see someone with a beautiful face, but with aged hands, feet, arms—the skin elsewhere just falling apart and thick.”
Correct it: “Whether you’re doing it at a spa with a professional or if it’s just at home, don’t forget the skin from your neck down,” says Moursi. Wear SPF, properly moisturize, and take time to go in for proper exfoliation and body treatments. She also notes: a massage never hurt anyone.
“If [your entire body is] showered daily, you’re stripping more oil than you should be. It takes forever to regain and produce those oils again,” says Moursi. By stripping oils daily, skin cracks easier, gets thicker (and not in a good way), and becomes more susceptible to diseases and conditions caused by diminished or lack of protective oils.
Correct it: “Do a ‘French bath’ and skip the daily shower! Some like that and some don’t,” Moursi laughs. “But those who believed in what I said and tried showering or bathing less often, their body skin got healthier.” A French bath, essentially, means washing only the parts you really need to (underarms, feet, etc.), and skipping those areas where you’d benefit from keeping those natural oils in—and doing so without standing under a shower or submerging your entire body in the tub. Soaking too long in a bath can have the same effects as a long, hot shower, explains Moursi.