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Ever wondered why you’re still getting breakouts despite doing everything right for your skin?

After a long day, many of us are guilty of using a winning combo to take our makeup off: micellar water and cotton pads. But, these two products could actually be doing your skin more harm than good.

TikToker @IAmKareno shared her skincare specialist had warned her against using the products after noticing her damaged skin. The harsh products had left her with raw, sensitive skin on her cheeks due to the breakdown of her skin’s natural barrier, the Mirror reports.

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In the video, she said: “I just came out of a facial, and the facialist said that I have these raw spots on my cheeks because my skin barrier is so weak there. Because I’ve been using micellar water and a cotton pad to rub my face – don’t do that!

“I’ve learnt the hard way, like it is raw.”

People in the comments were shocked by the revelation, and wondered what they could use instead. One person said: “Wait then what should we use to take makeup off?” While another said: “So first we’re told makeup wipes are terrible for our skin & now cotton pads + micellar water is bad. So what should we use then?”

Others had helpful suggestions for products that are not as harsh on your skin. One person said: “Cleansing balm and then your regular facial cleanser. elf has a really affordable cleansing balm and the CeraVe cream to foam is good too.” and another person said: “I use the ordinary squalene cleanser!! Takes off all my makeup so easily and it’s only £12.”

Other people weren’t convinced it was the products that were behind the problem. One person said: “It’s definitely not the cotton pad. You were rubbing too hard,” while another said: “Girl we been using cotton pads for decades, don’t rub so hard.”

Skincare specialist, Rachael Robertson, explained: “I like to think of the skin barrier in the same way as you would the body’s immune system. It’s there to protect us and keep the bad stuff out and the good stuff in.

“If you have an impaired immune system, you are less protected from infection than if you had a fully functioning one. It’s the same for the skin that if your barrier is impaired, you’re more likely to experience skin concerns.

“In addition to this, the way that medicinal treatments work more effectively on a person with a functioning immune system, and you see a better result, it’s the same for our barrier and our skincare. Products cannot work to their full potential if it’s impaired.”

Your skin barrier can be damaged by a variety of things from pollution to lack of SPF but Rachel, who founded Bedew Skin, warned that abrasive or harsh topical products and tools can also be a problem. This includes both cotton pads and micellar water if not used carefully and the expert doesn’t recommend using the popular makeup removal method at all.

She said: “While I don’t recommend micellar waters, if you do like to use them use them as a first cleanse, make sure you remove it all with your second cleanse. Cotton pads are ok as a first removal step if you have to, however you won’t get a thorough cleanse with one.”

Micellar water is designed to break down the oils, dirt and makeup sitting on your skin and the ingredients to do that can be a bit harsh so it’s always best to wash your face after using it anyway.

Rachel added: “Cotton pads do not have the texture needed to clean skin effectively especially if you wear SPF and makeup. What you’ll tend to find is that you’ll use more and more pads with more and more micellar water because you keep seeing dirt on the cotton pad – it’s going to take a very long time to get your skin anywhere near clean! This excessive cleansing over and over is what can cause the skin barrier damage.”

She recommends swapping micellar water for an oil based cleanser and using cotton pads sparingly if at all – although they are helpful for removing any eye makeup, just be gentle.

Rachel added: “Strip your routine right back to basics and come from a place of hydration and nourishment. During the day, cleanse with a gentle oil cleanser and remove using a cleansing cloth, use a hydrator, seal with moisturiser and wear SPF.

“In the evening the same routine without SPF will be best to get your skin barrier happy and healthy. From here you can start to expand your routine again if you want to, just be careful not to overdo it.”

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