#1 Using unwashed makeup brushes
With cream or liquid formulas, the moisture that is embedded within used makeup brushes offers the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Combine this with clogged pores or broken skin, and you've got the perfect receipe for pimples and inflammation.
Try this: Use a daily cleansing spray to give used makeup brushes a cursory clean after each use. Deep clean your makeup tools once every week with a brush or baby shampoo to keep them clean and bacteria-free.
#2 Neglecting your eye area
The first signs of ageing and the effects of late nights usually surface around the eye area. This is because the thinner skin around the eye is more susceptible to fine lines and discolouration (dark eye circles!).
Try this: Gently tap on lightweight eye cream or gel using your ring finger to moisturise the delicate eye area and boost circulation. Use an eye mask once or twice a week to soothe tired eyes and reduce puffiness.
Image: Luriya Chinwan/www.123rf.com
#3 Letting skin be vunerable to daily pollutants
Every day, skin is attacked by free radicals from city smog, pollution and cigarette smoke. They destabilise cell membranes and make the weaker, leading to issues like fine lines.
Try this : Antioxidants give up electrons readily to stabilise free radicals and prevent damage to cells. Introduce an antioxidant-rich product into your skincare routine to fend of ageing.
#4 Using the wrong cleanser
The squeaky, tight feeling you get after cleansing your face is an indication you might be not be using the right cleanser. Stripping skin of its natural oils might cause sebaceous glands to go into overdrive, producing more sebum in a bid to replace lost moisture.
Try this: Those with dehydrated skin should stick to milk cleansers that hydrate skin while cleaning it. Gel-based cleansers are gentle and suitable for those with sensitve skin, while foaming cleansers work well to remove grime from oily skin.
See also: Celeb beauty tips: 6 DIY masks to try before your wedding
The feeling after using a good face scrub can be intoxicating - your face feels smoother, moisturisers seem to seep into skin easily and makeup goes on like a dream. However, exfoliating too often or using a scrub that's too harsh can end up damaging the top layer of healthy skin cells instead.
Try this: Exfoliate a maximum of twice a week with a gentle scrub to keep dullness at bay. If you've used a physical scrub, avoid using products containing chemical exfoliators like salicylic acid and glycolic acid on the same day.
#6 Sleeping without removing your makeup
We can give ourselves excuses not to clean off our makeup before sleeping, but consider this - all the grime and dirt that's been accumlating during the day are still stuck on your skin. Do you really want to have all that rubbed off onto your pillowcase and then have them transferred back onto your face over the next few days?
Try this: Use a makeup remover to break down makeup before washing face with a cleanser. There are also no-rinse formulas, like micellar water, for those lazy days.
#7 Skipping sunscreen
Pigmentation, fine lines and lack of skin firmness - all these could have been delayed with religious application of sunscreen. Studies by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia on 900 test subjects have shown that the daily application of a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 can stop (yes, stop!) skin ageing for up to four and a half years.
Try this: Apply sunscreen every day, even if it's cloudy outside. Sunscreens do photo-degenerate after two hours so reapplication is necessary. Choose a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 which offers about 97 per cent protection against UV damage.
#8 Taking hot showers
Hot showers soften the oils in our skin, which isn't necessarily a bad thing as they trap dirt and sweat. However, adding soap into the mix strips skin of these natural oils, leaving it feeling dry and itchy. The hotter the water and the longer time spent in the shower, the more moisture you're likely to lose.
Try this: Bathe in lukewarm water instead and limit the amount of time spent showering to prevent moisture loss. After toweling dry, apply moisturiser to re-hydrate your skin while it's still slightly damp.
#9 Picking at your skin
Whether it's pimples or dry flakes around your nose area when you have a cold, it can be tempting (not to mention satisfying) when you pick at them. However, there are bacteria and fungi residing under your nails that could be transferred onto your skin when you touch your skin. Or you might aggravate the situation if you acidentally scratch or break the skin.
Try this: Stop picking at your pimples or dry flakes. If you have the habit of touching your face during breakouts, apply pimple patches to shield skin from bacteria and aid in healing. Exfoliate with a gentle scrub to remove dry flakes and moisturise.
#10 Forgetting to apply base coat
Unless you're getting your nails done professionally, most people tend to skip the base coat. Not only does nail polish tend to chip more easily without a base coat to prime the surface, your nails are also more prone to stains and yellowing.
Try this: Apply a strengthening base coat to prevent brittle nails from breaking. If time or cost is an issue, a great all-in-one treatment like the Sally Hansen Complete Care 7-in-1 Nail Treatment not only strengthens and protects, it also works as a top and base coat, too.
This article orginally appeared in The Singapore Women's Weekly.