Your skin is the largest organ of your body. Between pollution, unprotected sun exposure, and non-existent skin care routines, it can really take a beating. It’s time to break some of your bad habits and avoid common skin mistakes to give your skin a break.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve made a lot of skin mistakes when it comes to my own beauty regimen. Back in the day, I would sunbathe with baby oil in pursuit of the perfect tan. When that wasn’t possible, I would visit a tanning salon. I washed my face with any old bar soap and I wasn’t a regular user of body lotion. Yikes! Who was that girl? Oh, if I only knew then what I know now. I’m sure we’ve all cringed at our beauty mistakes over the years, but it’s time to stop the cycle. I’m going to reveal my top five New Year’s resolutions to benefit the health of your skin.

Using the Right Cleanser
Cleansing is the first step in any skin care regimen, and that cleanser choice is important. So many people make the mistake of picking up any old random bar of soap to wash their face. Most bar soaps that are designed to cleanse your body contain harsh deodorizers and detergents that are not gentle enough for your face. Evaluate your skin to determine what type of cleanser your skin requires. If it’s oily, look for a cleanser to target sebum production. Perhaps a lightweight foaming gel cleanser would be best. If your skin is on the dry side, look for a cleanser that will moisturize the skin while cleansing. A lotion-based cleanser may be perfect for you. Pay attention to your skin and choose the right cleanser. But, whatever you do, put down that ordinary bar soap.

Don’t Worship the Sun
If you’re like me, this is the area where you tend to make your biggest skin mistakes. Yes, I too will admit that I think I look better with a nice suntan and look forward to that summer sun-kissed glow. But it’s the lengths we go to in order to get that look that’s the problem. Put down the tanning oil and pick up the sunscreen. And whatever you do, avoid tanning beds at all costs. It’s important to protect our skin from the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays. These rays burn our skin and are a leading contributor to early aging. You might look good with that savage tan today but flash-forward and you might not be happy with the wrinkly person staring back at you from the mirror. Sunscreen is critical when it comes to protecting your skin and you should never go out into the sun without it. Sunless tanners have come a long way and you don’t need to worry about the orange ‘fake bake’ look anymore. And the best part is you can get that gorgeous tan 12 months out of the year.

Avoid Over-scrubbing
I think we can all agree that we love the way we look after a good buffing and polishing. But, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. Exfoliation of the face and the body is something that we all should be doing on a regular basis. But we need to be gentle. Remember, your skin is a living organ and you need to take care of it. The last thing you want to do is scrub your skin so much that it becomes red and irritated. Take it easy when cleansing and exfoliating. Use soft and gentle circular motions to achieve the most desirable skin. Nothing good can come from over-scrubbing your skin.

Never Pop Pimples
I would place a major bet on the fact that everyone reading this is guilty of popping a pimple or two. It’s so tempting to do that it seems almost unavoidable. But, it’s very important to resist the urge to jab at outbreaks. Every time you start attacking a pimple, you run the risk of making the problem even worse. You can spread bacteria to other areas of your face. The troubling spot can now look bigger and much redder than before. Not only that but, the picking could result in permanent scarring. No matter what, please resist the urge to pop those pimples and be patient in weathering the breakout storm.

Reduce Stress
It’s amazing how a lack of sleep and stress can negatively impact your skin. It’s impossible to look your best when you’re exhausted and stressed out. Your skin loses its glow and vibrancy, the circles under your eyes become darker and more apparent. Beyond that, you just look, well dare I say it… old! Remember, we call it “beauty sleep” for a reason because we definitely look our best when we’re well rested. You’d be surprised at just how many people aren’t getting enough hours of sleep in a night. So, for the sake of our skin, get a good night’s sleep and try to unwind and relax.

Written by beauty expert, Jacquie Carter Director, Worldwide Outer Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife.