Are you guilty of the ten cardinal skin care sins?

Dr Jane Leonard, GP and aesthetics guru, talks you through the ten cardinal skin care sins.

1. Forgetting to take your make up off at night.

We have all been guilty of climbing into bed without taking our makeup off after a night out or long day at work. So what is the harm? Well, it’s so important to fully cleanse your skin, not only to remove your make up, but also to remove the toxins that have built up during the day.

Pollution, smoke, car fumes – to name a few, all create an invisible film on the surface of our skin. These chemicals lead to the generation of free radicals which damage our skin cell’s DNA. This is a leading cause of pre-mature skin ageing because it prevents skin cells dividing and repairing themselves, and damages the collagen that gives our skin its plumpness and elasticity.


Overnight makeup becomes impacted in the skin pores which clogs and stretches them. This causes to inflammation in the skin follicles which can lead to infection and spot formation. The pores also become stretched and dilated, with time; they lose their ability to spring back, so the pores look bigger permanently.

Harley Street Emporium recommended product: Exuviance Age Reverse Bioactiv Wash


2. Forgetting your sunscreen

Every day, even in cooler climates, like the UK, where sunny days are a rarity, our skin still gets exposed to UV radiation. The effects of UV rays on our skin in the number one cause of premature skin ageing. Once in contact with the skin, the UV rays trigger a free radical cascade which leads to intracellular damage to skin cells. This stops them growing and repairing themselves, and also damages collagen.


It is important to wear sunscreen everyday to put a barrier to protect the skin from harmful UV rays. A broad spectrum sunscreen is best as it protects against UVA and UVB rays.  SPF 50 is ideal. It is also really important to have a separate sunscreen rather than one combined with foundations or moisturisers.

Harley Street Emporium recommended product: NeoStrata Sheer Physical Protection SPF50


3. Using face wipes

Although quick and easy to use, face wipes are not ideal for cleansing your skin. Nothing beats washing your face with a cleanser to fully remove make up, dirt and pollution from the skin surface.


Wipes simply spread the grime around without effectively removing it. They also leave a residue on the skin which can actually irritate the skin and prevent serums and moisturisers being absorbed properly.


4. Using too much product

Less is more when it comes to applying skin care products. It’s tempting to layer on more product in attempt to boost or speed up the desired effects. Not only is this wasteful but it can actually overload the skin; clogging pores and in some causes causing congestion, inflammation and triggering break outs. A “pea-sized” amount of product is usually sufficient.



5. Forgetting to moisturise oily skin

Just because your skin is oily doesn’t mean it does need moisture. All skin types need to be moisturised, it is just the type of moisturiser to use is different. Not moisturising oily skin can may it oilier, by triggering an “oil purge” which is a surge in oil production when the skin is dry and dehydrated.

Invest in a moisturiser which will keep your oil levels in balance at the same time as giving your skin the moisture it needs. Remember moisturisers hydrate the skin by adding water, not oil.

Harley Street Emporium recommended product: Dr Nick Lowe’s acclenz Oil Control Day Cream or Dr Aamer Khan’s Harley Street Skin Care Clean Tech Oil Free Hydrator


6. Not cleaning your make up brushes

You wouldn’t wear the same clothes day in day out without washing them, so why would you apply make up every day with the same make up brushes without cleaning them?

Used makeup brushes are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. The bacteria multiply on your make brush ready to be applied to your skin the next time you use them. The bacteria can then cause redness, congestion and trigger breakouts.


Invest in a makeup cleansing spray/solution which is quick and easy to use, so it becomes a daily part of your beauty regime.  Not only does it keep your brushes clean, keep your skin healthy, it also improves application of your makeup and makes it last longer.


7. Exfoliating too much

This may be surprising, but over exfoliating can actually cause more harm than good. Yes, exfoliation is essential part of your skin care routine, but over doing it can cause problems that many people are unaware of. The problem lies in using multiple products that exfoliate the skin, along with different techniques that also exfoliate the skin. For example; using facial scrubs which contain beads to remove dead skin cells, followed by serums or moisturisers containing ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids, AHA which chemically exfoliate the skin surface.



When this is combined with salon/clinic based treatments such as microdermabrasion and skin peels, the level of exfoliation is excessive. This removes too much of the skin’s protective barrier can lead to skin inflammation, irritation, increased sensitivity and increased photo-sensitivity. All modes of exfoliation have their place; however, it is important to mindful about the frequency and space between treatments to avoid unnecessary skin irritation.


8. Using the wrong products for your skin type

When it comes to choosing your skin care products the first step is understanding your skin type. Typically people buy products based on recommendations from others, although this may not be bad advice, it is important to remember, what is perfect for your mum or your best friend may not be best suited to your skin.

Identifying whether your skin is dry, oily or combination is the basic understanding you need. It is also important to consider what your skin is sensitive to, what causes breakouts and what types of products have led to skin improvements in the past. Take the time to book in for a skin analysis/consultation to fully understand your skin type and tailor your skin care regime based on this.

Harley Street Emporium recommendation for dry or sensitive skin: Teoxane Deep Repair Balm

Harley Street Emporium recommendation for dry skin: Beaute Pacifique Instant Hydrating Mask

Harley Street Emporium recommendation for oily skin or for anti-aging: Beaute Pacifique Clinical Suoer 3 Booster 

Harley Street Emporium recommendation for anti-aging: NeoStrata Skin Active Cellular Restoration

Harley Street Emporium recommendation for rosacea: NeoStrata Redness Neutralising Serum


9. Not getting enough sleep

Sleep is the time when your body repairs and regenerates itself. Skin cells are some of the most actively dividing cells in the body and the majority of their activity takes place while you’re asleep.


Lack of quality sleep on a regular basis increases your levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol causes inflammation throughout the body. It can trigger flare ups in pre-existing, inflammatory skin conditions like acne and psoriasis.

Cortisol also increases the breakdown down of collagen. Collagen fibres are an essential part the matrix found in the dermis of the skin which it gives it volume and elasticity. Collagen breakdown occurs naturally as part of the ageing process and leads to the formation of lines and wrinkles. Therefore increased levels of cortisol can lead to pre- mature ageing.


10. Not eating well

Not getting your five a day deprives your skin of essential vitamin and minerals. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables provides an excellent source of anti-oxidants, like vitamin C and Vitamin E which are needed for skin health and as well as anti-ageing benefits.



Diets high in sugar also can cause premature ageing by increasing collagen breakdown.

Diets high in refined sugar and dairy products have also been shown to cause flare ups in skin conditions like acne.