"You have to be very careful with your skin now, so that it's in the best shape possible later," says Gervaise Gerstner, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in NYC.
According to Gerstner, here's what could wreak havoc on your pretty little face in the future:
1. Not washing your face nightly. "By skipping this step, you're inviting bacteria, dirt, and oil to have a field day and clog your pores," she says. "Not only can this result in unwanted acne, but leaving your makeup on for a prolonged period of time can also dehydrate your skin, making it look lackluster and highlighting any fine lines and wrinkles that you might have that otherwise wouldn't be visible if your skin was plump and hydrated."
2. Picking your face. "Regardless of whether you have a pimple or a spot of some sort on your face, do not pick it," she warns. "Because the moment you do, the area will become red and even get infected and turn into a larger issue if you can't stop yourself," explains Gerstner. "Then, you'll be left with a big scar."
3. Introducing more than one beauty product into your routine at once. "You can get actually give yourself contact dermatitis—a red, rash-like allergic reaction—if you start using too many new products on your complexion at once," she says. "To avoid this from happening, I recommend introducing any new products one at a time to be sure you're not allergic to any of their ingredients."
4. Skipping sunscreen. "A lot of young people are afraid that if they use an SPF daily they'll break out, but the trick to making sure that's not the case is getting an oil-free sunscreen and using it religiously," Gerstner says. "The sun has it's own dangers that we need to be protected from, but its harsh rays can also cause scarring if you have or have had acne and don't protect your skin from UV rays. Contrary to popular belief, sunlight cannot dry up a pimple, so don't skip SPF because you think you're going to end up with clearer skin—it's just not the case."
5. Not extending your skincare down onto your neck and chest. "Those two areas show your age (as do your hands)"—think brown spots, fine lines, redness—"so instead of applying your skincare onto your face only, make sure you slather your lotion and anti-aging products on them as well," she says. That way you give the same fighting chance to your neck, décolletage, and hands that you do your face to look younger later in life.
6. Getting routine facials. "The steam used during a facial to open your pores for a deeper cleaning can actually harm you in the long run because it can burst capillaries in your face because of the heat," she says. "And extractions, even done by a professional, can lead to scarring because if the facialist starts digging at a spot that ends up being a mole or something else, he or she could cause a wound that could be there for life."
7. Avoiding anti-aging products because you think you're too young. You might not think you need to start early when it comes to anti-aging products, but these fountain of youth, peptide- and vitamin A-packed products are what will keep you looking 30 something when you're actually in your mid-40s.
It's not something you really think about, but in some ways what you rely on to make youself even more beautiful could turn on you in the end.
According to makeup artist Kirstin Piggott, here's what you could be doing wrong the beauty department:
1. Using a foundation that is suffocating your skin. "If you're using a foundation that's too heavy, you can actually clog your pores," she says. "If you want coverage, you still need to find a formula that will let your skin breathe. If it looks or feels like it's caked on, then it's probably too thick for your skin and could end up causing breakouts with continued use."
2. Curling your lashes after applying mascara or too roughly. "Doing so too harshly, or curling them after you've applied mascara while they're still wet, can cause them to stick to the lash curler and be tugged right out of your lash line," explains Piggott. "Instead, if you want to enhance your lashes, curl them when they're bare and then apply your mascara. And make sure you squeeze the curler gently only a few times—if you're rough when you do it, you can cause your lashes to break or you might even rip them right out of your lash line."
3. OD'ing on waterproof mascara. "You can use waterproof mascara, but don't do it everyday," she says. "In general, it contains less moisturizing ingredients than your regular mascara because it has to adhere to your lashes longer, so it could end up causing your lashes to fall out early. Plus, it's hard to get off, so when you're rubbing it to get it off, you might pull a few lashes out then, which isn't good."
4. Wiping your eyes like crazy to get your makeup off. "Be gentle when you're removing your makeup," Piggott suggests. "After you've dampened a cotton ball with your remover, take a minute and let the makeup breakdown as you hold it against your eye before you start wiping it off. Rubbing your eyes ferociously will only leave your eyes and the surrounding skin red and irritated. Worst case scenario: You could even cause a blood vessel to burst."
5. Leaving your lip balm out of the equation. Moisturized lips = ones that aren't cracked, dry, flaky, or bleeding. Piggott recommends making sure your lips are properly hydrated when you're not wearing a highly pigmented color to keep them soft and supple aka ready to be kissed at any time.
6. Over-tweezing. You may have wanted the skinny Kate Moss brow back in the '90s, but thicker, bushy arches are what's in now. "The only thing is some women take too much hair off with their tweezers and then it never grows back," says Piggott. "Then they're stuck creating elongated brows with powders, pencils, and brow mascara for the rest of their lives. You want your eyebrows to always be present because they frame your eyes and enhance the eye area, so instead of trying to come up with a completely different shape and strip them away, simply just clean up your natural shape with tweezers to be safe."
7. Lining the inner rim of your eye every single day. "If you do this once in a while when you have a big event to go to and you really want your eyes defined, then it's alright to do," says Elise Brisco, O.D. an optometrist at Hollywood Vision Center and cofounder of the rehabilitative vision clinic at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in LA. "But if you do it on a daily basis, what ends up happening ultimately is the liner bleeds into your eye and the particles float into your tear duct clogging it. This can lead to eye infections, a sty, and trigger an allergic reaction in your eye, especially because of the preservatives and chemicals that the makeup contains." If you want to amp up your eyes but avoid the above (Who wouldn't?), apply liner along your lash line only—instead of the inner rim—just to be safe.
8. Sharing makeup. Sure, she's your BFF but her bacteria isn't as friendly as she is. Brisco says to stay away from sharing your favorite eyeliner, mascara, any makeup you own with your friends, since each time you do it, you transfer bacteria. And since not all bacteria play well together, you could end up with an uncomfortable eye infection in exchange for your beauty-filled generosity.
"There are a lot of things you do on a daily basis that can wreak havoc on your hair," says celebrity stylist Harry Josh, who tends to the hair of Gisele, Rose Byrne, and a ton of other A-listers.
According to Josh, here's what you might be doing that is totally trashing your hair:
1. Trying to bleach your hair yourself. "If you're trying to do ombré look or give yourself highlights at home, and your hair comes out looking more yellow than what you were going for, call your stylist," he says. "If you go out and buy another box, thinking you're going to give it another go, think again. You could end up frying off your hair and making it fall out in the end, which would be terrible and unfixable."
2. Using a hair tie that rips your hair out. "You might still be using an elastic with the metal fasteners that hold the hair tie together, or, god forbid, an office rubber band to put your hair up, but these types of hair binders will only rip out your hair when you try to take them out," Josh says. "Instead, get one that is made entirely out of fabric or one that isn't held together with a small metal piece. And never use an office rubber band to pull your hair up—they're your hair's worst enemy."
3. Pulling your hair up in the same ponytail position. "If you normally put your hair in a ponytail in the exact same spot every day, you can actually cause surface breakage in that area," he says. "What happens over time is that your hair will start to get weaker and break off in that spot and you'll be left with a bunch of flyaways you'll have to spray back with hairspray." To avoid this strand situation, change up your ponytail placement so you don't wear out your hair at the crown of your head, for example.
4. Copying ballerinas and pulling your hair back too tightly. "Over time this can cause breakage to the hairline, since you're essentially putting a lot of tension on your hair at the root," he explains. "If you have a frail hairline, opt for looser styles that don't give an instant facelift as soon as you pull it back."
5. Skipping heat protectant products when you style. "These types of products nourish as they style and put a barrier between the plates of the hot tool and your inner core of your hair shaft that keeps it strong," says Josh. "Some even contain UV filters, which help shield UV rays from sun damage that makes your hair porous, which makes it feel rough and look dry." .
6. Brushing your hair with boar bristle brush when it's wet. "You always want to use a paddle brush or wide-tooth comb when you're trying to detangle your hair after you shower," Josh warns. "Go for one with bristles set far apart; otherwise, using a boar bristle brush will yank your hair out since its bristles are so close together."
7. Never brushing your hair. "Brushing your hair invigorates the blood in your scalp, bringing it to the follicle," he says. "And the healthier the follicle is, the healthier and more lustrous your hair will look."
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.