We know what we should do to take care of our skin, but what about those habits and beliefs that may actually be causing damage. The following are things many of us do on a daily basis that we should avoid.
Believing the sunscreen you put on in the morning lasts all day**.** It is easy to apply sunscreen when getting ready to go to school or work and think we are covered all day, but sunscreen should be reapplied on a regular basis throughout the day. If you use a foundation with sunscreen in the morning, you should, ideally, be applying liquid sunscreen throughout the day.
Using the same makeup brushes for months without cleaning them. Bacteria and dead skin cells can build up on your makeup brushes. Use a mild facial cleanser and warm water to rinse your brushes every couple of weeks.
Pick, pop or squeeze pimples, cuts, scrapes or insect bites. This might make you feel better in the short term or you might even believe this will help them heal quicker but picking, popping or squeezing can actually cause infection (your hands are dirty) and can cause scarring. It’s better to spot treat and allow them to heal naturally.
Smoking. Smoking doesn’t just cause medical conditions like lung cancer or heart disease, it makes your skin age prematurely and reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to your cells, which is needed for healthy skin.
Skipping the moisturizer. Your skin needs moisture and when in a hurry it is easy to skip this step after a shower but even taking a shower can leave chlorine on your skin, causing it to dry out. As soon as you get out of the water (pool, shower, etc) use a moisturizer.
Going to sleep with makeup on. Going to bed with your makeup on can cause blocked pores, which in turn can cause pimples or can lead to bacterial infections. Keep some makeup remover towelettes by your bed for those nights you just can’t take the time to wash your face.
Not drinking enough water. Skin is moisturized from the inside out and if you aren’t drinking enough water during the day, your skin won’t look it’s best.
Taking long, hot showers. What doesn’t feel better than a long, relaxing, hot shower? But hot water strips your skin of natural oils and tends to dry out your skin. Shorten your showers and lower the temperature of the water to keep your skin’s natural moisturizers working.
Not protecting your face from chemicals. This can even be the sprays you put into your hair. When applying hair products, cover your face with a clean towel.
Going to bed late. When we sleep our skin rejuvenates itself and when you don’t get enough sleep, it shows in your skin.
Touching your face. Think about all the times you reach to touch your face…to rub your eyes or scratch your nose. Pay attention to how many times each day you reach up and touch your face. Each time you do you put dirt, germs and bacteria on your face. Limit how many times you touch your face.
Treating persistent skin problems at home. There are many mild skin problems that can be treated at home, but if after home treatment, you aren’t seeing any difference, make an appointment with a dermatologist. Doctors recommend annual trips to the dermatologist as a precaution to check for problems, such as skin cancer.
Not paying attention to skin types. Not everyone has the same skin type. Yours may be dry, oily or a combination but others in your household may have a different skin type. That means the moisturizer or other skin care products that work for one person may not be right for another person. Make sure you are using products specific to your skin type.
Using antibacterial products on your face. Antibacterial soaps are usually used to hands, not faces and while they help prevent the spread of germs, are often too harsh for your face.
Skipping or not exfoliating. Exfoliating your skin gets rid of dead skin cells, which can make your skin look dull. Exfoliate at least once a week to keep your skin looking fresh.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.