Skincare Routine Mistakes to Watch Out For

Four layering errors you should avoid.

Dylan Mustapich

Esthetician at Atolla

Dylan Mustapich

Dylan Mustapich is a NYC-based lead esthetician who has been featured in New Beauty, Teen Vogue, Wired, and The Huffington Post. With a lifelong love of all things skin, he is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare ingredients, routine refinement, and personalized skincare, and follows emerging technology closely.



The skincare industry has evolved and greatly expanded over the years, to the point that we are now presented with hundreds of beneficial ingredients we can add into our at-home skincare routine. While having all these options available may seem incredible, it can often lead to overdoing it when it comes to putting together a routine. 

According to our database, 1 in 2 people are using products with ingredients that can cause negative effects when layered together. These interactions, in addition to other common errors, can contribute to skin barrier damage, resulting in dry, irritated skin. Below are some common skin care mistakes, with tips on how to avoid them and keep your complexion glowing.

1. Active Ingredient Drama 

The rise of the elaborate multi-step routine has resulted in many of us unknowingly mixing conflicting ingredients in our skincare. Originally, a multi-step routine was designed to use products from the same brand that were formulated to work harmoniously together. Instead, many people put together their own routine a la carte, mixing products from different brands that weren’t meant to be used together. 

When you apply two ingredients that don’t play well together, it can lead to irritation and exacerbate underlying skin conditions such as rosacea and eczema. Combining certain ingredients can also affect their potency and even render them practically useless. For example, layering a Retinol product over a serum containing an AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) could be a recipe for irritation and other negative skin reactions, while combining a Benzoyl Peroxide acne treatment and a Retinol product essentially cancel each other out. 

If you’re an Atolla member, the skincare manager in your account takes the guesswork out of mixing different products/ingredients by pinpointing conflicts in your routine. We help suggest when and how to use each product to avoid any possible negative interaction.

2. Too Much of a Good Thing

In skincare as in life, more does not always equal better. You may love the results you’re getting from an at-home peel, but use it too frequently and the next thing you know you’re walking around with a bright red complexion! In addition, using potent actives like Salicylic Acid in just one product may be enough; if it’s in your serum, moisturizer, and cleanser it could severely dry out your skin and actually cause you to start producing more oil.

3. Product Overload

With the many amazing skincare ingredients available today, it’s natural to want to include them all in your at-home routine. In fact, some ingredients like Vitamin C and antioxidants complement each other beautifully when formulated and layered properly. 

We start to run into problems when using many different skincare products to pack all these ingredients into our routines. Not only is this more likely to lead to possible interactions, but having all those products on your face can cause pilling or clogged pores. 

The goal of a good skincare routine is to help the skin take care of itself (it’s pretty good at that), not to overload it with products. It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of using too many products, then buying even more products to try to fix issues. Using a serum and moisturizer that are designed to be used together have several benefits including supporting skin health with their active ingredients and ensuring that your oil and moisture levels stay balanced.

4. Buyer’s Remorse

While it may be fun to come home from the mall and try on all the new clothes you just bought, the same should not be done with new skincare products! When you add a bunch of new skincare products into your routine, the chances of a potential reaction go way up. If your skin does react, it then becomes a game of elimination to find the offending product. This can be a frustrating and time-consuming process, easily avoided by simply adding one new product into your routine at a time. This allows you to gauge any side effects as your skin becomes acclimated to the new ingredients.  

By steering clear of these skincare mistakes, you can achieve better results from the products you use while saving money and minimizing potential harm to your skin. With all that is available to us today, it can be overwhelming to put together a routine that avoids ingredient interactions and these other common mistakes. Atolla simplifies this process by generating custom formulations based on your skin health and desired results. This allows you to use products with ingredients specially selected to work together without conflict, while avoiding the tiresome and often expensive trial and error phase of putting together a skincare routine.

Simplify your skincare with a custom, complementary routine.