Common Skincare Mistakes That Age Us By 7 Years

How can we better treat our skin and our whole body?  Here are my top recommendations:

No. 6. Hydrating with booze, coffee, and dairy, and consuming processed foods and animal protein.

Eating products loaded with sugar and/or dairy, red meat, poultry, and eggs plus drinking too much alcohol and coffee will definitely wreak havoc on your skin.   Processed foods, too, are about the most problematic foods for our skin; they contain no live nutrients which can easily nourish our cells and only cause more harm than the presumed benefits marketed on the food labels. It is shocking how many people are surprised to learn that the items they’re convinced are “healthy” are the ones making them sick.  

Eating and drinking on-the-go is a common theme for many Americans. Getting the supposedly energy boost from coffee and the relaxation for alcohol only tend to further dehydrate their skins and bodies.  Grabbing processed snacks as a “filler” food and making sure to get enough protein by eating dead animals and their by-products on a daily basis is a standard part of so many people’s lifestyles today. The problem is all of these food sources only provide a plethora of hidden sugars, industrial chemicals, heavy metals, artificial additives, and other dangerous industrial toxins that kill human cells. One of the fastest ways to know the cells on the inside of our body are in big trouble is paying attention to our skin.   Breakouts, rashes, and/or a dull, tired complexion are important indicators of trouble brewing. 

If many of the food and beverage items noted above have been a big part of your diet, considering making some changes soon. Make water as your main beverage of choice where you strive to have at least half your weight in ounces each day as the bare minimum for adequate hydration. 

Eat only alive plant-based whole foods as your only source of nourishment. Add in omega-rich foods like hemp, flax and chia seeds to your meals. Have a cup of hot water or a herbal tea mixed with a tablespoon of coconut oil every morning. Just making a few of these changes will cause your complexion to glow. 

No 5. Using too many skincare products.

The age-old adage is true:  Less is More. The counter-intuitive truth is that overwhelming your skin with several cleansers, moisturizers, oils/serums, masks, and devices—and even switching up your products too often—likely won’t give you the look you desire. Additionally, layering certain products may disagree with your skin type, counteract each other, or irritate your skin causing acute inflammatory damage. As an example, you never want to mix retinol (Vitamin A) and Vitamin C because the combination can make skin extra sensitive and susceptible to sun damage. You could also have the order wrong. You want to avoid layering water-based products on top of oil, since it won’t sink in and have any effect. If you want to have several products, make sure they are of high quality, and try them one at a time. See which ones make a difference and which ones don’t. Incorporate them into your routine one at a time, not all at once. 

No. 4. Smoking. 

Sounds obvious, but it’s important to remember that smoking cigarettes, weed, or e-vaping all fall into this category. Smoking, no matter what is being inhaled, breaks down collagen and, over time, creates fine lines around the mouth and other areas of the face. Vaping, in particular, can dry the living daylights out of your skin (it also heightens your risk of catching COVID-19). Furthermore, nicotine in cigarettes and vaping is known to cause cancer. Why risk it if looking 30 at age 40 appeals to you? Put down the Marlboro Light and the Juul that was supposed to replace it.

No. 3. Over-exfoliating. 

Because most of us want bright, breakout-free skin, we were sold the idea that we need to scrub the living daylights out of our faces—both manually (with scrubs or clay masks) and physically/chemically (with AHAs, BHAs, and retinol). The truth is that for most women under 40, skin undergoes a natural exfoliation process every 28 days. Hence, exfoliating more than once or twice a week is totally unnecessary and can actually be harmful. 

Over exfoliation creates inflammation, sensitivity, breakouts, and angry, inflamed skin. Today, many moisturizers and foundations contain exfoliating ingredients like glycolic acid and retinol, which you might not even think of as being exfoliative. But they are mighty skin-sloughing chemicals. If a product says “Renew,” “Cellular turnover,” “Detox,” or “Brightening Complex,” there is a good chance that something in the product is exfoliating.

You can tell if you’ve gone too far with the exfoliation because over-exfoliated skin will take on a translucent appearance. In other words, it looks like a shiny piece of marble. This is a clear indication that the skin has been thinned and needs repair. In this state, skin can feel itchy, tight, and burn. It’s also more susceptible to darken unevenly when exposed to UV radiation, especially if the skin is prone to melasma or pigmentation. 

In sum, it’s probably best to avoid exfoliating every day. Rather, check in with your skin’s needs on a daily basis. Going for the glow we aspire can be damaging, so it's key to keep an eye on the skin's appearance. Ideally, the skin should have more of a soft satin appearance, not a taught shine. If you think your skin has been over-exfoliated, give your manual scrubs and physical peels a break, and stick to a gentle, natural cleanser and moisturizer.

No. 2. Moisture with only natural oils. 

To better protect the skin, limit direct water exposure through aggressive cleaning. Instead, clean and moisture the skin using natural oils such as from coconut and argan oil. Be aware of all the moisturizing lotions sold over-the-counter; they are almost always loaded with tons of dehydrating alcohols and chemicals which damage the skin and cause you to become addicted to using them on a frequent basis.

No. 1. Protect our skin in the sun. 

The sun is not evil; it is our friend. We need it to activate Vitamin D and better manage our circadian rhythm essential for the production of immune-boosting Melatonin. But excess UV exposure can damage our skin over time. Please be wary of all the SPF sunscreens sold over-the-counter since they are often loaded with tons of chemicals that harm the skin and immune system, increasing our long-term risk of cancer. Some sunscreens are in theory better than others; stick with only plant-based oil derived ones. 

The best way to protect our skin is by wearing light clothing and hats which cover the skin, and applying coconut oil as an effective natural sunscreen.  Try to stay out of direct sun exposure during the hottest peaks of the day if at all possible.  

Where do you fit in? What do you want to work on in 2021?


Dr. Bhandari and the Advanced Health Team Are Here to Support Your Health. Our expert team of integrative holistic practitioners work with patients suffering from chronic health concerns.  We help our patients reverse disease by better understanding how the body optimally functions and providing personalized treatment plans. To learn more and book an appointment, contact Advanced Health or call 1-415-506-9393.

Payal Bhandari M.D. Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is one of U.S.'s top leading integrative functional medical physicians and the founder of San Francisco' top ranked medical center, SF Advanced Health. Her well-experienced holistic healthcare team collaborates together to deliver whole-person personalized care and combines the best in Western and Eastern medicine. By being an expert of cell function, Dr. Bhandari defines the root cause of illness and is able to subside any disease within weeks to months. She specializes in cancer prevention and reversal, digestive & autoimmune disorders. Dr. Bhandari received her Bachelor of Arts degree in biology in 1997 and Doctor of Medicine degree in 2001 from West Virginia University. She the completed her Family Medicine residency in 2004 from the University of Massachusetts and joined a family medicine practice in 2005 which was eventually nationally recognized as San Francisco’s 1st patient-centered medical home. To learn more, go to

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