Dermatologist Reveals The No. 1 Mistake Women Make With Their Skincare Routines – Exclusive

There was a time when skincare routines only consisted of using a face wash and moisturizer. With hundreds of brands on the market promoting the next must-have ingredient and products promising miraculous results going viral on TikTok now, it's easy to get confused when deciding which products you actually need. Before you jump on the bandwagon and fill your bathroom vanity with the "next best thing" in skincare that promises to erase all signs of aging, it's important to realize there are skincare routine mistakes — such as skipping or not reapplying sunscreen — that you should avoid. 

Dermal clinician James Vivian told Byrdie, "It's one thing to apply SPF in the morning (and congratulations to those of you who do), but please keep in mind that SPF lasts merely hours and therefore requires applications throughout the day, especially during times when sun exposure is at its highest." Other skincare mistakes you can make are using too many products that can lead to irritation or not using them in the right order to boost effectiveness.

However, there's one cardinal sin when it comes to skincare routine mistakes. To learn what that is, we spoke with Dr. Macrene Alexiades, who previously shared her number one skincare tip for women and the best laser treatments for every decade. Dr. Alexiades is a Manhattan-based dermatologist with over 25 years of research experience specializing in anti-aging skincare (via NY Derm). Here, she shares the one strict no-no regarding skincare routines.

Consistency is key for Dr. Macrene Alexiades

Dr. Macrene Alexiades received her B.A., M.D., and Ph.D. from Harvard University (via NY Derm). When we asked her the biggest mistake women make with their skincare routine, she told The List it's all about consistency. "One of the biggest skincare mistakes is an inconsistent skincare routine — switching your regimen around and jumping from one product to another," she explained. According to Dr. Alexiades, consistency is key for the ingredients to work their magic. Unfortunately, there's no such thing as overnight miracles when it comes to skincare — you need to invest time and be patient.

"Inconsistency is the worst thing you can do for your skin," Dr. Alexiades added."Keep a consistent regimen that is like a well-rounded diet for the skin. When something works well for you, stick with it." It's like working out to see results; you can't just take one exercise class and get six-pack abs. It's a routine; you need to do it regularly for it to work.

It can be frustrating to use products and not see results, but that's possibly because you aren't using them regularly or giving them enough time. While it'd be a perfect world if we used a product once and saw immediate results, Janelle Vega, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, told Shape that different ingredients require different amounts of time to show visible results.

Active ingredients in skincare products take time to work

According to Dr. Macrene Alexiades, consistency is vital when it comes to seeing visible results from skincare products. Depending on the ingredient, they can take various amounts of time to show their benefits. "Topical active ingredients require twice daily application over the course of weeks and months to work," Dr. Alexiades told The List. "Stopping and starting them will prevent you from ever realizing results." You heard it from the expert; don't stop using something if you don't see changes within days. Patience indeed is a virtue when it comes to skincare routines.

She also recommended some of her own skincare products. "I recommend using the MACRENE actives High Performance Face Cleanser followed by High Performance Face Serum to the face twice daily for four weeks to get visible skin improvements. Objective computer analyses and third-party clinical trials have shown MACRENE actives to be safe and effective for long-term use — the longer you use them, the better the results over time."

Pillowtalk Derm emphasized that patience is essential. "On average, the skin takes roughly 6-8 weeks to show visible results so try to stick it out but also minimize and prioritize your skin focuses," they wrote. They added that whether your skin concerns are fine lines or hyperpigmentation, sticking to a routine will give "your skin the time it requires to adjust and respond to the product."