Sometimes the intense desire for clear skin can result in skin that looks even worse. If you’ve been paying more attention to your skin lately, but haven’t noticed results (or the results are even worse than before you had started), you may be doing more harm than good.

You’re not washing your hands before you wash your face or re-applying makeup during the day.

Think about all of the gross things your hands come in contact with every single day. Now think of how often you probably touch your face. Grossed out yet?

You’re over-exfoliating.

If your skin is red, irritated and dry, chances are, you’ve been exfoliating too hard or too frequently. While it’s good to exfoliate, going a little overboard can lead to more skin problems, including broken blood vessels.

You’re picking the wrong products.

Using stuff that’s wrong for your skin type is a hugely common mistake, says Miami dermatologist Leslie Baumann, author of The Skin Type Solution(Bantam). Here’s what you should know:

If you have oily skin, choose a cleanser with salicylic acid. Fight shine with an oil-free lotion and rub on a chemical exfoliant such as glycolic acid once a week.

If you have sensitive skin, wash with a milky cleanser. Use a fragrance-free, nonirritating sunscreen and look for anti-aging creams with added hydrators such as hyaluronic acid and shea butter.

If you have combination skin, choose a foaming cleanser for oily skin. Use a lightweight moisturizer.

If you have dry skin, non-soap creamy cleansers don’t strip away protective oils. A moisturizer with trehalose will prevent tightness. Apply an anti-aging treatment with retinol every other day (daily use could aggravate dryness). Or switch to a cream with kinetin or the Matrixyl—they’re less drying than retinoids. [via Allure]

You’re drinking too much alcohol.

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but more than one alcoholic beverage a day isn’t the best for your skin. Alcohol increases the level inflammatory agents in the bloodstream —”which can hasten skin sagging over time,” says Fredric Brandt, a dermatologist in New York City and Coral Gables, Florida. [via Allure]

You’re using expired products.

It’s easy to become desperate and start searching for answers in your product drawer. But if you’re using an old-but-familiar product from your product drawer, make sure to check the expiration date.

You’re not replacing your makeup sponges and washing your makeup brushes.

This is a classic mistake that can lead to even more pimples to cover up. If you’ve recently been concealing a massive pimple, make sure to either toss that makeup sponge or clean them thoroughly.

You’re allergic to your laundry detergent. 

I had been breaking out on the side of my face for a few months before I realized that the laundry detergent that I was using was irritating my skin. I’ve since then switched to a clear, fragrance-free soap.

Have you been sabotaging your skin?

Image source, Image source, Image source, Image source, Image source