Common skin care habits could be 'damaging your skin' - how to achieve a more youthful appearance

Woman looking at skin in mirror

Clear and glowy skin is something everyone wants to achieve

Sarra Gray

By Sarra Gray

Published: 20/02/2024

- 05:00

Updated: 20/02/2024

- 10:27

A doctor has exclusively shared seven reasons why you may be struggling with your skin

Glowing, clear and youthful skin is something everyone wants but getting this is not easily done.

Speaking exclusively to GB News, a doctor shared why you may be struggling to achieve smooth skin and it could be down to some common skin care habits.

Global skin doctor and founder of SkincarebyDrV Dr Vanita Rattan said seven main culprits could be hindering your skin goals.

Luckily, she has given expert advice on how to treat the causes of dry, oily, uneven or acne-prone skin.

Middle age woman with clear skin outside

Some simple things could be getting in the way of clear skin


You don't know your skin type

Dr Rattan said: "Many people don’t have a clear understanding of their skin type, and this can cause them to use skin care products that are unsuitable. For example, individuals with oily skin might use skin care products containing oils, thinking it would reduce oiliness. Whereas individuals with dry skin might choose products that lack the essential ceramides and peptides to hydrate the skin, resulting in further discomfort.

"Whilst deciphering whether your skin is oily, dry, combination or sensitive is crucial to form the basis of your skin care routine, it is also important to examine your skin tone. Darker skin tones are prone to hyperpigmentation due to overactive melanocytes, which can then manifest as dark spots, patches, or uneven pigmentation.

"As well as this, skin irritation is not always immediately visible in skin of colour as we experience less redness and facial flushing, so we need to be extra careful to avoid irritating the skin with drying alcohols, essential oils, and fragrances. Some three to four per cent of the population get contact dermatitis from fragrance, and for skin of colour, this can lead to hyperpigmentation that can last for years."

You're using too many products

The expert said: "When it comes to skin care, less is more. Using too many different products or applying a high percentage of ingredients can do more harm than good, causing increased sensitivity, irritation, and damage to the skin’s barrier.

"It’s important to know what you’re doing with your skin care routine, ensuring each product works synergistically instead of overwhelming the skin.

"A basic skin care routine, suitable for all skin types typically involves washing your face with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser followed by moisturiser and SPF50. From there, you can expand your routine to address specific skin concerns."

You're not protecting your skin

Dr Rattan said: "Your skin, being a vital organ, requires proper protection that goes beyond aesthetics.

"Exposure to UV rays extends beyond achieving a temporary tan, and overlooking the protection of your skin from sun damage can elevate the risk of developing melanoma, a potentially severe form of skin cancer.

"Applying a broad-spectrum SPF50+ daily helps to mitigate this risk, as well as help prevent against premature ageing, uneven skin tone and dehydrated skin. I would advise to opt for mineral sunscreens over chemical sunscreens as they contain the anti-inflammatory compound Zinc Oxide."

Too much stress

She said: "Your body is an interconnected system, meaning the state of your skin is closely intertwined with your overall wellbeing. If your stress levels are high, the body releases the hormone ‘cortisol’ which can cause more breakouts due to an increase in oil production, a breakdown of elastin, and redness due to increased blood flow.

"Stress is also responsible for inflammation in our body, exacerbating pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea. As well as this, underlying chronic stress is often the cause of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety which can cause individuals to neglect their everyday routines, including skin care.

"To combat stress ageing and maintain a healthy skin care routine, practice stress management techniques such as exercise, meditation and breathwork.

"As well as this, ensure you are getting eight hours of sleep every day to give your skin, body, and mind time to rejuvenate."

Beauty products on shelves

Skin issues could be caused using too much skin care


Too much sugar

The expert detailed: "Consuming excessive amounts of sugar, often found in highly processed foods, can have a negative impact on your skin’s health.

"A high-sugar diet has very little nutrient value and can increase inflammation in the body, leading to worsened breakouts. As well as this, sugary foods can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, leading to an insulin release.

"Elevated insulin levels may stimulate the production of sebum, an oily substance that can clog pores and contribute to acne.

"With hyperglycaemia causing collagen damage, the skin can also appear dull, dry, and aged. Managing this involves reducing sugar intake and adopting an anti-inflammatory diet that includes oily fish, turmeric, flaxseed, ginger, garlic, green tea, and colourful vegetables."

Your shower is too hot

The doctor continued: "Hot showers might feel amazing in the moment, but it can strip your skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. As well as this, the heat damages the keratin cells that make up the outer layer of the skin, weakening your skin’s ability to retain moisture.

"Not only can this damage your skin barrier, but this can result in flaky, dry patches on dehydrated skin. If you are prone to skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, hot showers can irritate the skin further, causing increased itchiness.

"Consider showering in lukewarm water or limiting your time spent in the hot shower, to help your skin retain its natural moisture. After showering, be sure to pat the skin dry instead of rubbing aggressively to prevent redness, itchiness or microtears.

"Finally, I would recommend applying a fatty moisturiser to lock in hydration."

You don't get enough collagen

Dr Rattan said: "Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, it gives structural integrity to the skin and is surrounded by water to support, smooth and firm the skin. It is also the main building block protein that forms your bones, skin, hair, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The primary reason we tend to get superficial wrinkles is because of collagen loss.

"We lose one per cent collagen every year from the mid 20s onwards, and this accelerates later in life, with women losing about 30 per cent in the first five years of menopause and two per cent every year afterwards.

"Topical collagen is often used as a humectant (a water magnet), but it cannot penetrate the epidermis into the dermis to stimulate collagen.

"Essentially, it’s a bit of a marketing gimmick when marketers say there’s a collagen cream. People believe this will actually stimulate their collagen, when it won’t. Instead of topical collagen, orally consume [collagen]."

You may like