Skin care mistakes I have made

by Rayna van Aalst June 29, 2015

Skin care mistakes

Tomorrow, I’m growing up with one more year! Yeap. Turning 32!

I’m celebrating my birthday with family and friends and with you, too. I’m so excited about it that I’m even taking a few silly photos out of the old albums and sharing them with you.

As a child I loved playing with makeup and I had an impressive collection. When my father went to the USA I was still learning to talk and as most children I found some words more challenging to pronounce. Among the gifts he brought for me were eyeshadows and sunflower seeds. The word for them in Bulgarian is similar, with only one letter difference – “senki” and “semki”. He simply didn’t know which one I meant when he had asked me what I wanted and knowing my hobby he thought it would be best to bring both.

While growing up I had other priorities and I left behind my makeup collection. When I graduated from high school and I sort of had my older brother’s permission to wear makeup, my focus was to master applying mascara and eyeshadow.

Until few years ago skin care was not a priority for me. Frankly speaking, I didn’t know much about it and I thought that I don’t need to do much either. OK. Very frankly, I didn’t do almost anything. When as a teenager I occasionally did get one of those gigantic pimples which would make my nose swell, everybody would say “it’s the age” or “it’s the hormones”and would recommend putting toothpaste on it.

A lot has changed since then and I now have a skincare routine I religiously stick to. A year ago I was complimented for my beautiful skin for a first time in my life! When I look in the mirror though I often wonder whether the fine wrinkles I have when I smile would still have been there if I had been taking proper care of my skin all along and not wait until the acne attack when I was 29? Probably yes but there isn’t much I can do about it now except to make sure that when I look in the mirror when I’m 42, 52 or 62, I wouldn’t have to ponder the same question.

I have used non-natural and natural makeup and skincare products from all price ranges in the search of a solution to my problem(s) when what I actually should have done is avoid these so common mistakes. It is never too early or too late to revisit your beauty habits and if you don’t have a beauty routine yet, to create one.

If I could write a letter to my 16-year-old me, and which my 16-year-old me would actually read, here are the skincare mistakes I would share:


Applying and reapplying sun lotion is pain in the neck but UV exposure is responsible for 80% of the visible facial signs of aging. In the books it’s called photo aging but in simple words it’s the wrinkles and dark spots you see on so many faces around you.

There is a more concerning side to sun exposure and it wasn’t a coincidence I choose to write a letter to my 16-year-old me, and not 17, for instance. A few days ago I came across a video called “Dear 16-year-old me” which I strongly recommend. “It’s about being aware”.


Remove your makeup, ALL of it and do this every time you wear makeup! Makeup can trap dirt and oil, holding it against the skin overnight and clogging pores. Additionally, your makeup could contain ingredients which would irritate your skin in the long run.


No matter whether you use makeup or not, cleansing before going to sleep is a must. In the words of Josh Rosebrook “Cleansing properly is the first step to removing the unwanted bacteria, dirt, pollution and imbalanced or excessive oil that can cause inflammation and disruptions to the skin, such as blemishes and problem skin.”

Proper cleansing involves using the right products too. I remember cleansing my skin with a widely popular in Bulgaria product called “Lavender Alcohol” (my translation) which is alcohol with lavender extract in it. By now I have learned that alcohol is not a skin ally – both as a drink and as an ingredient to apply on your skin.


Blemishes have always been a nightmare for me. One wrong move and I would wake up with a zit. Way worse is when for various reason, I would wake up with a blemish with the size of a mountain which can be seen with an “unarmed eye” from space. Totally uncool and painful. When I was a teenager I would go to the drugstore and I would buy the whole line acne fighting products I had most recently seen on TV in the commercial breaks. I would apply them all at once and since the gigantic blemish would not disappear overnight, I wouldn’t use them again.

Depending on the product, you might see results in two weeks or even sooner but remember to give your skin 4-8 weeks to see maximum benefits from the product you’re using.

Needless to say that by now I have learned that prevention is more important and easier than damage control.

Oh, by the way, don’t start more than one product at once.


Exfoliating is important for all skin types as it removes dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. Exfoliation is important all year round as it reveals fresh, glowing skin.

It’s best to exfoliate once to twice a week and remember to be gentle – choose gentle products and apply them with gentle moves.


Regardless of whether you’re using products with natural or synthetic ingredients, they all have a best before date or period after opening. They are there for a reason. Just like you wouldn’t eat something which is beyond its expiry date, don’t feed your skin with old products which at best can no longer do their job but most likely would cause irritation.

For products with Period after opening (an open jar with a number followed by the letter “M”), make sure to write down the date of opening at the bottom of the bottle.


When you care for your skin, don’t forget your neck, décolleté and ears. Yes you read it right. Funnily enough, I found out that I need to take care of the skin of my ears too only today! In my defense, I do apply sunscreen on my ears ;-)


You touch much more things than you realize. Your hands are covered in bacteria and grime and when you touch your face, they get transferred on your skin.


When a brush touches your skin it’s a two way process -the brush applies makeup on your skin and gets oils, dead cells and bacteria from your skin.

Now it's your turn. What mistakes have you done?

xo Rayna

P.S. Don't forget to check out the birthday treats I have for you.

Rayna van Aalst
Rayna van Aalst


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