3 Signs You Are Overdoing It With Skincare

by Gio
signs you're overdoing it with skincare

Remember when skincare was easy? Cleanse, tone, moisturize. Done.

Now, we have all kinds of extra products. Exfoliants, serums, facial oils, clay masks, sheet masks… And who knows what will pop up next?

But isn’t using them all a bit too much? I mean, it’s not like skin really needs a 10-step routine. So, what happens if you use one product too many? Will it notice it and throw a tantrum? Or just ignore it?

Here’s the deal. Your skin doesn’t keep count of how many products you use. It doesn’t care. But, it’s how often you use them and, most importantly, what goodies or nasties they contain that can make all the difference and prove too much for your skin.

And when that happens, your skin WILL let you know. It won’t be pretty. It may even be painful. But, how does it ring the alarm?

Here are the three warning signs you’re overdoing your skincare:

1. Your Skin Is Dry

Did you know your skin has a shield? It’s a protective barrier that keeps moisture in and your skin well-hydrated. When this shield breaks in a few places, water evaporates. Skin becomes dry. Red. Irritated, even.

There are plenty of things that can damage this shield. Like the usual culprit, UV rays and cold, freezing weather. Your skincare products, too.

Well, not all of them. Most are fine. But there are some products that are best avoided:

  • Any scrub (it’s 2016, why are you still using them?!)
  • Anything with alcohol denat high up on the label
  • Cleansers that leave your skin feeling tight after washing

Do your skin a favour and leave them on the shelf.

Wait, there’s more. There are goodies that are well… good for you. In moderation. But, if you abuse them, they’ll damage your shield, too. Here are the goodies but naughties:

  • AHAs (such as glycolic acid)
  • Vitamin A (especially retinol)

These are powerful, my smart friend. Use them only two or three times a week.

Need help creating the best skincare routine for you dry skin? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Dry Skincare Routine Cheatsheet” (it includes product recommendations, too!).

Related: How To Care For Dry Skin

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2. Your Skin Is Irritated

Sometimes, a skincare product can irritate your skin or give you an allergy. Those with sensitive skin know what I’m talking about. Everything seems to set off their skin’s alarm.

But, EVERYONE can have a bad reaction to a skincare product, especially if you abuse it. If, after using something, your skin becomes red, inflamed, stings or swells, ditch it immediately!

The products and ingredients I mentioned in the dry skin section above are some of the common culprits to either avoid or handle with care. But, there are others.

Related: Skin Irritation: Cause & Prevention

3. Your Skin Breaks Out

Other times, you slather on a new moisturizer hoping it will make your wrinkles disappear and end up with a face full of pimples.

Here’s how it works: oils, silicones, and other occlusive emollients form a protective barrier on the skin that keeps moisture in. But, together with moisture, it also traps in comedogenic ingredients. That is, if said moisturizer or anything else you’ve applied before has them.

When that happens, it’s breakout galore!

So, just avoid the culprit, right? It’s not that easy:

  1. Comedogenicity ratings aren’t that reliable
  2. It depends on the dose: a little bit won’t give you any pimples, a lot will turn your face into a war zone
  3. It depends on your skin type: if you’re prone to breakouts, you’re more likely to be affected

FIY, if you’ve just started exfoliating, a breakout can be normal. If some pimples were forming deep within your skin, exfoliation will bring them to the surface of your skin faster.

Related: 3 Things You Need To Know About Comedogenicity Ratings

The Bottom Line

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. To avoid problems, introduce only one new product at a time into your skincare routine. That way, if your skin starts to act out, you’ll know what the culprit is. Sometimes, you only have to cut back. Other times, the bin is the only option.

Are you overdoing it with skincare? Share your thoughts in the comments below.



tirurit April 21, 2015 - 2:20 pm

I had never thought of chemical exfoliants bringing latent pimples quicker to the surface but it makes sense!

I am in no way in risk of overdoing it, I am usually more of the forgetful kind. If one night I bother with serum AND face cream it is a treat! 😉 Sad but true, specially since I do have the products on my shelf waiting to be used

Gio April 21, 2015 - 4:14 pm

Tirurit, I used to be like that too a few years ago. Now that I’m in my 30s I tend to pay more attention to my skincare. But, you know, if your serum and face creams are loaded with goodies then you don’t need a ton of products. And that way, you won’t risk harming your skin by doing too much. 🙂

Sharon Wong April 21, 2015 - 3:00 pm

Great post! I have actually been using too much products on my face, and it did cause breakouts which is why I limit myself to just using a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

Gio April 21, 2015 - 4:21 pm

Sharon, oh no! Sometimes, less is more isn’t it?

Trisha April 21, 2015 - 4:46 pm

It’s so true. We can definitely overdo it.

Gio April 21, 2015 - 6:35 pm

Trisha, too much of a good thing can be quite bad, can’t it?

Stavroula DrugstoreBLover April 21, 2015 - 9:32 pm

So true! I’m not overdoing it at the moment, but I definitely have done it in the past and my skin suffered! x

Gio April 22, 2015 - 1:04 pm

Stavroula, sorry that happened to you too. I think we’ve all been through that at some point. I did too. At least now we know better.:)

Sherry G April 29, 2017 - 4:13 pm

Even though I use tretinoin and I’m 57, I still break out if I moisturize every night. I can’t use oils in my face either. I also still use BHA, because my skin looks nicer using it. However, I have to be careful not to use it too often. It’s definitely a balance!

Gio April 29, 2017 - 6:19 pm

Sherry, skin can be a little diva, isn’t it? I agree, it’s all about finding out what works and doing it in moderation.

Sharon March 3, 2019 - 10:30 pm

Hi, I’ve started using bare minerals skincare cleanser serum and moisturiser and once a week exfoliate with a dermaplan razor, I have normal to combination skin “well I think so?” I use bare minerals original foundation it goes on fine and lovely but after couple hours starts to cake on my chin and round my nose so frustrating I can’t get any of it right as . Any help be amazing XX

Gio March 8, 2019 - 5:10 pm

Sharon, have you tried a makeup primer underneath?

Neora September 25, 2019 - 2:29 pm

Thanks very much for always putting so much helpful information into your blog posts!
I am learning so much reading them!

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