9 everyday skincare routines you're probably doing wrong

PHOTO: SkinCeuticals

From the importance of clean pillowcases to whether or not we should apply sunscreen under our eyes, three skincare experts shed the light.

When it comes to skincare, I'm ashamed to admit that I'm a terribly lazy girl. Even though I have the products, I seldom apply face mask and night moisturiser, which probably explains why my skin is often dehydrated. But this post isn't about basic skincare steps - we all know them - this is about surprising skincare mistakes many of us unwittingly make. Ready?

Can we still use the skincare product if it's just slightly past the "Best before" date?

"Most skincare products that are marked with an expiration date contain highly active ingredients such as sun protection filters. It is recommended to abide by the expiration dates for these types of products. For all skincare products it is also important to monitor the period after opening (for example, Kiehl's products are marked with an icon that communicates this suggested timeframe, printed on each product label) and to ensure that the products are stored properly before and during usage, too. Ideally skincare products should be stored in a cool, dry location and tightly re-sealed between uses." - Cammie Cannella, VP of Global Education & Customer Experience for Kiehl's

"It is probably okay to use skincare products slightly past the expiry date. However, once the product has been opened, it is exposed to environmental harm and can degrade. The skincare products may lose its effectiveness if used past expiry date. If one notices that the product has changed colour, texture or smell, it would be better to toss the product." - Dr Lum Yang Xi, Medical Doctor at IDS Clinic

"The answer would be a strict no-no. Reason being, the preservatives in the formula are added in to last a specific period. Once past the expiry date, they would begin to lose their efficacy. So even if the product looks or smells all right, the formula may have already broken down. Using such products increases the chances of an allergic reaction. All of Bioderma products have expiry dates indicated on them, this is to ensure the customer know exactly how long the product can last, hence ensuring safety and efficacy." - Tan Yi Chieh, Bioderma Asia Pacific Trainer

Exactly how much moisturiser should we apply on our skin?

"Moisturisers are like barriers between the skin and the environment, preventing water loss from the skin and preventing the skin from becoming too dehydrated. If your skin is dry, applying an amount equivalent to a 20-cent coin is usually sufficient. Apply just enough on the skin for it to be absorbed without it leaving a greasy finish." - Dr Lum Yang Xi, Medical Doctor at IDS Clinic

Is it true we should immediately - or within 60 seconds - apply our toner or moisturiser after cleansing?

"While a facial moisturiser can be applied any time it is needed, the most optimal and comfortable time to apply it is immediately (or within a few minutes) after cleansing the skin. This is because the cleansing process helps prepare the skin to be able to better absorb the moisturiser. Additionally, applying a moisturiser on the face while the skin is still slightly damp from cleansing can help to 'trap' the extra moisture in the skin." - Cammie Cannella, VP of Global Education & Customer Experience for Kiehl's

"Yes, it is good to apply skincare products after cleansing or a shower as soon as possible. This is because after cleansing or after a shower, the skin barrier is temporarily disrupted, allowing the products to penetrate better. But I think it is pretty stressful to put a 60-second rule and timing on when to apply the skincare when our lives are already so stressful!" - Dr Lum Yang Xi, Medical Doctor at IDS Clinic

How important are clean pillowcases for healthy skin? How often should we change our sheets?

"Objects, such as pillow cases, that touch your face make a significant difference in terms of your skin's hygiene and can help to reduce breakouts. We recommend rotating or washing pillow cases at least once per week in order to minimise the transfer of oils and product from the scalp onto the face." - Cammie Cannella, VP of Global Education & Customer Experience for Kiehl's

"It is important to wash your pillowcases as pillowcases can house bacteria and oil. Everyone has their own personal habits when it comes to changing their sheets. It is good to do it as often as possible; once a week may be a good timing to change the sheets." - Dr Lum Yang Xi, Medical Doctor at IDS Clinic

"At night, as we slumber into dreamland, our skin continues to produce oil and sweat. And, we may be using some kind of leave-on hair treatment products and these accumulated in the long run may irritate the skin. Generally, we recommended that pillowcase be changed once a week." - Tan Yi Chieh, Bioderma Asia Pacific Trainer

Taking hot showers - is that bad for our skin?

"Taking hot showers may damage the skin, especially if the temperature is excessively high. It damages the top layer of the skin, causing water loss from the skin, drying out the skin." - Dr Lum Yang Xi, Medical Doctor at IDS Clinic

"We don't recommend it. While the heat from the shower feels good, it can cause the skin to heat up unnecessarily, causing redness and discomfort, especially for those with sensitive skin." - Tan Yi Chieh, Bioderma Asia Pacific Trainer

Should we apply sunscreen under our eyes?

"Yes - we should always protect the area around our eyes from sun damage. Sun damage around the eyes can lead to premature wrinkling, crow's feet and pigmentation on the area." - Dr Lum Yang Xi, Medical Doctor at IDS Clinic

"Only if the brand's product says so. Otherwise, avoid it. Look for those eyecare products with SPF in them; those are specifically created for the eye area. Remember to buy those that offer good UVA and UVB protection with a minimum of SPF 15 or more." - Tan Yi Chieh, Bioderma Asia Pacific Trainer

How often should we exfoliate?

"It really depends on the brand. As a general rule: For traditional scrubs, only 1 to 2 times a week is fine. There are some alternative scrub that claim they can be used daily as a gentle 2-in-1 product (i.e. cleanser and scrub). But do in mind that too much exfoliation may not be a good thing." - Tan Yi Chieh, Bioderma Asia Pacific Trainer

Must we wipe off sunscreen with makeup remover?

"No. Unless the sunscreen product contains a tint (in which case a makeup remover is a good option), your daily sunscreen formula will be effectively removed by cleansing the skin with your regular facial wash." - Cammie Cannella, VP of Global Education & Customer Experience for Kiehl's

"Most sunscreens are formulated to be 'substantive' so that they do not run off when you perspire or even when you go swimming. This makes it difficult for normal cleansers to remove sunscreens effectively, hence a makeup remover is recommended." - Dr Lum Yang Xi, Medical Doctor at IDS Clinic

What's the proper way to remove makeup using makeup removal facial wipes?

"Always begin from the middle of the face. Start from the forehead, then the nose area, the cheeks, the area between the nose and lips, the chin and finally the neck area. For the face, do the wiping in a sweeping motion, from the middle of the face outwards. For the neck area, it's best to sweep downwards as you want your chin and your neck area to be really clean! A lot of people make the mistake of sweeping upwards for the neck area when using facial makeup-removing wipes; this is a mistake as doing so would cause you to sweep all the dirt from your lower neck area to the chin area, hence increasing the chances of clogged pores and breakouts." - Tan Yi Chieh, Bioderma Asia Pacific Trainer

Material World is a women’s lifestyle website started by four former magazine editors specialising in beauty, lifestyle, and self-improvement.

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