But now it's time to right the wrongs, undo the damage and start afresh which is why we've recruited our very own skincare guru, Jill Zander, to tell us exactly where we're going wrong.
It's all too easy to scrub away at angry spots or reach for the face wipes, or worse fall into bed with a full face of make-up on - we've all been there. But, we might act differently if we knew that all of these beauty blunders were causing premature ageing and increased breakouts. *Gulp*
With recent research from Witch Skincare revealing that 72% of us would feel more confident with clearer skin, it's plain to see that our complexions are a pretty big deal.
You might not even realise your skincare routine is out of touch. Perhaps you weren't aware that face wipes are too harsh on your delicate eye area or that a foundation without SPF is unforgivable? But now's your chance to redeem your beauty brownie points with the ultimate good girl skincare routine...
Here's Jill's 16 skincare sins and how to resolve them ...
1. Using too much moisturiser
"If a moisturiser is correctly suited to your skin type, it should feel comfortable on the skin and not leave skin feeling greasy or oily. If you select the wrong moisturiser for your skin type, your skin can become too dry or too greasy.
"A day moisturiser should always contain an SPF and night creams should only be used at night as they tend to be richer and don’t contain any sun protection. Never put moisturiser around your eyes as the thinner skin can easily become overloaded with product and cause blockages that appear as little white spots."
The best way to proceed? Identify your skin type - a skincare consultant at a department store should be able to help you to do this, or try the test below - then select a cream that suits your needs.
2. Exfoliating too often/too close to the delicate eye area
"Over-exfoliating can lead to redness and irritation and constantly stripping your skin can actually make the skin greasy as it overcompensates for lack of oil.
"Physical exfoliating scrubs that have sharp, uneven grains can tear or damage the skin," Jill says.
Rather than going for granules and grains, Jill suggests trying non-abrasive exfoliators that use AHA, BHA and fruit acids.
She says this "can help prevent sensitive skin from being over-exfoliated. Remember, normal to oily skin only needs exfoliating twice a week."
3. Face mask mistakes
"As with moisturisers, select your face mask according to your skin type. For example clay-based masks, or those with ingredients for oily, spotty skin, such as salicylic acid will cause normal-dry skin to flake off.
"If your skin is in need of moisture, select one for dry skin with skin-nourishing and replenishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid or vitamin E."
Don't overdo the face masks either - one a week should be more than enough to keep your skin under control.
4. Rushing the serum stage
Guilty of slapping on your moisturiser moments after applying your serum? Time to stop all that.
Jill says: "We need to carefully layer our skincare products like we layer our clothes. When using a serum on the skin, it’s important to let it sink in and dry before applying your moisturiser. Otherwise the concentrated serum gets diluted by the moisturiser meaning your skin doesn’t reap all the benefits."
That'll stop ya!
5. Using anti-ageing products too soon
"A huge no-no is to use anti-ageing skincare before your skin shows signs of ageing. If you use potent anti-ageing ingredients before your skin needs them, they will either have no effect or a detrimental one.
For example retinols are superb for anti-ageing the skin, however if used before they are needed, or in too high a concentration, the skin will literally peel off. Similarly with skin peels – if you use them too early, too frequently or too potent a peel, skin can become very fragile and thin."
If you're not sure when to start using anti-ageing products you can always talk to a dermatologist for advice.
6. Going crazy with retinol
"Retinol has been proven to improve skin clarity and texture, promote anti-pigmentation and treat acne but when starting to use a retinol product, skin needs to gradually acclimatise as vitamin A (retinol) can irritate skin.
"To build up skin tolerance, allow 3 day intervals between applications for two weeks. Only apply retinol in the evening to minimise light sensitivity. Also ensure you have not been given a product where the concentration is too high if you are younger. A great one to try is Medik8 Retinol 3 TR (£31) as this is less irritating due to the time-release technology which gradually releases the active ingredients."
7. Not applying your SPF
Want to look older faster? Didn't think so. Ignore this rule at your own risk.
Jill says: "Come rain or shine, we should all wear SPF during the day as the sun is the biggest cause of wrinkles. The trick is to find a sunscreen that slips elegantly under foundation and moisturiser and becomes a seamless part of your morning routine. Better still, wear a daily moisturiser or moisturising tint that contains an SPF. Then, you don’t have to even think about your SPF application!"
8. Using face wipes
They may be the best friend of the girl on the go, but face wipes aren't the best way to care for your skin.
"Some face wipes contain harsh chemicals and high levels of alcohol that can dry the skin out. When rubbed vigorously on the skin, particularly around the delicate eye area, they can cause irritation and even stinging or redness. Stripping the skin using harsh ingredients like alcohol can actually not only dry, but cause the skin to become greasy," Jill says.
9. Sleeping in make-up
"Sleeping with dirt, oil and make-up on can cause acne and enlarged pores. This is not the route to being a sleeping beauty! As we sleep at night, our skin repairs itself, so it’s a key time to feed your skin with nourishing skincare products, but only once the canvas is clean. Think of make-up removal as washing away the day’s grime!"
One of our favourite cleansers? Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish. It does the job perfectly.
10. Slapping on the creams
"People tend to slap on creams and rub vigorously, mainly on the cheeks. The pressure, direction and movement should be as below to spread creams evenly:
"Eyes – apply a small amount using your index finger in a circle around the eye area. Use gentle pressure for this area as the skin is fine and delicate.
"Face – apply cream from the neck up, using semi-firm upward movements, working against gravity! Never drag skin downwards.
"Décolletage – People forget the décolletage – use cream here too!"
11. Squeezing spots
We know it's tempting, but this is one skincare sin that you have to stop!
"Squeezing spots is one of the biggest beauty crimes! Not only can the spot become infected, but you can actually make it bigger and even leave a scar. It can also spread bacteria leading to more spots.
"Instead, use a spot gel that contains niacinamide (which soothes the skin) and resist picking at it, and it’ll fade on its own. Over-treating the blemish will just irritate your skin, and picking it will cause the oil to spread, and leave you with a nasty scab that’s a lot harder to conceal than a tiny little pimple."
12. Changing products too often
"A very common mistake is changing products too often. It’s really important to try a new product for at least 3 months to see the true effect it has on the skin. If a product doesn’t agree with your skin, stop using it immediately. Also incorporate new products slowly – one about every 6 weeks. But do look at your skincare every 6 months – autumn and spring to fit the weather."
13. Forgetting to clean make-up brushes
"If using make-up brushes, washing them should be a regular part of your beauty routine. When you use your brushes, bits of make-up, oil, dirt, and even bacteria can get trapped in the bristles. So while it might seem basic, skipping this step can lead to clogged pores and pesky breakouts. Clean make-up brushes weekly."
So simple, yet so logical too.
14. Using the wrong products for your skin type
"The quickest way to find out your skin type is to wash your face, pat it dry, leave it for 20 minutes, then take this skin test:
· Press a piece of tissue on different spots on your face
· The paper will stick if you have oily skin
· If the tissue doesn’t stick you have dry skin
· If it sticks in your T-zone area (forehead, nose and chin), you have combination skin"
15. Not getting enough sleep
You get tired - and so does your skin.
Jill says: "Skin repairs itself at night. If you are regularly sleep deprived, your complexion will show it. It’s not called beauty sleep for nothing!"
16. Forgetting your eye cream
"Eye cream is an essential part of your skincare routine as the skin around the eyes is thinner and more delicate. This means that it ages faster than the rest of your face."
Jill suggests using an eye cream twice a day from your 20s onwards.
What are your bad beauty habits? Dish the dirt @sofeminineuk