We all care about our skin, keeping it looking healthier, younger, and smoother. At least, we should, given how much some of us end up spending on our skin care treatment. But it isn’t all down to making sure you’re applying everything you think your skin needs. There are plenty of habits worth avoiding that can do real damage, including some habits we indulge in as part of that daily skin ritual. What should you be on the lookout for and what should you do about it?
In many ways, our skin is our exterior representation of what’s happening on the interior. If you’re not taking care of your body on the inside, it will very soon start to show. Too much sodium in your salt leads to bloating and dehydrates, making your face more likely to get all puffy and your skin more likely to crack. Alcohol shares those dehydrating effects. Too much sugar accelerates the signs of aging and can make conditions like acne even worse. But by far the worst habit for your skin is smoking. Smoking has a range of beauty-harming effects to go along with the life-endangering ones. The multitude of chemicals in those cigarettes cause cells to break down quicker all over the body. When this happens to your skin, they become wrinkles. So far, healthier alternatives like e-cigarettes have shown to show much less of these effects, though those with nicotine still do it to some degree. If you’re switching to them, you should consider working your way down to fluids with no nicotine content.
Not getting enough water
There’s a reason we moisturize our skin. Hydration is good for it. Our skin holds water, which makes it softer, but also makes it more resilient. Not only does this mean that it wrinkles less, but it keeps it more protected from the harmful effects of UV rays. Besides moisturizing, drinking water is another important factor in keeping skin hydrated. Caffeinated drinks don’t count in this equation because their diuretic effects work against their hydrating potential. Remember that your skin isn’t just there to help you look good, it plays an important role in protecting the body. Hydrate to make sure it can do its job.
We all know that lacking sleep is bad for our skin. Immediately, it makes us look puffy and zombified. But in the long-run, poor sleep habits can do a lot more than that. Our bodies go through a natural process of repair and replenishment when we sleep. When we don’t have the time to sleep properly, our body doesn’t get to do that. This is why our skin looks worse in the morning and if we repeat that too often, it can become a permanent fixture.
Staying home from the gym
So far, all the tips are what might be considered generally good for your lifestyle. But if you want healthier skin, you need to think about getting healthier, period. One of the immediate benefits of getting more exercise, even if it’s just 45 minutes to an hour of light exercise, is the effect on your skin. When we work up a sweat, our pores dilate and any caught dirt or oils are pushed out from them. Exercise also helps our body regulate hormones, the mixture of which play a big role in dictating skin health. Just make sure you never exercise without taking the time to clean off your makeup. Otherwise, your pores will be clogged and the sweat will just join the mixture of contaminants already in there and contribute to worse skin.
This might sound gross to some of you, at first. But there are many proponents, like the gorgeous skinned Michelle Phan, of this particular habit and it’s scientifically backed. The habit is not full cleansing and exfoliating your face when you wake up, but rather just washing it with a wet cloth. While a buildup of oil can be bad for your skin, we start the day with some natural oils on our face. If we wash these off immediately, our skin is more likely to break out in pimples. Do wash your face fully at night, however, so you’re not taking the day’s debris to bed with you.
Picking and popping
It’s tempting, but it’s so, so risky. If you have pimples, the conventional desire is to pop them. Similarly, you might be tempted to pick at scabs to help them shrink faster. Neither of these is a good idea. When you pop your pimples, you’re spreading the puss which leads to more inflammation and more localized breakouts. When you pick your scars, you’re not actually getting rid of the scar; you’re getting rid of the visible healing process. This means you might be going permanent damage to your skin. In these cases, it’s simply best to let nature do her thing, let time heal all wounds, and treat pimples with things like tea tree oil.
When it’s summertime, you better be protecting your skin. But when you, are you making sure you have it fully covered? When it comes to sunscreen, erring on the side of being conservative is much better than doing too little. But it’s not just about what factor of cream you use. It’s about whether it’s protecting from both harmful kinds of rays, both UVA and UVB varieties. To that end, make sure that the lotion you’re choosing specifically states that it’s broad spectrum. Otherwise, your skin won’t be quite as protected as you think it might be. Otherwise, you know what the risks are. Sunburn, dehydration, wrinkles, an increased risk of skin cancer. Never forget that there’s nothing more potentially harmful to your skin that direct exposure to strong sunlight.
Clogging your pores
Going too heavy on the makeup can clog your pores, which we’ve already mentioned is a particularly high risk if you don’t clean it off before working out. But some of the very products you use to make your skin more beautiful might be doing the exact opposite. There are a lot of ingredients that clog your pores, some of the most ubiquitous including algae extract. Instead, you should look at solutions that comprise of things like babassu oil. One of the benefits of which is being light enough to not clog your pores. That also puts it above alternative, otherwise excellent skin ingredients like coconut oil.
This is one of the harmful habits that are born out of laziness or simply not knowing, rather than any willful effort. Simply put, a lot of women focus on their face, not realizing that their neck, chest, and shoulders are often just as exposed and need as much care. You should put as much care into making sure that the skin beneath your jawline stays protected, rejuvenated, and younger looking. In many cases, general skin care products such and moisturizers, exfoliators and the like will do the same job down below as they do up top. However, the outer layer of the skin on the chest and neck is thinner, ages easier, and needs more protection, so some dedicated neck creams might the best option.
Using harmful products around the home
Already, we’ve mentioned how some of the products you use to enhance your skin might be doing damage to it. But the risk extends much further than just what you’ve put on your skin. We’re all fast coming to realize some of the dangerous pollutants we use to “clean” our home. The are chemicals that can exacerbate or cause asthma, act as carcinogens, and can be desperately unhealthy for pets. But these household cleaning ingredients also have a bad effect on the skin. For instance, many fabric detergents that use bleaches, fragrances, and stabilizers can actually spread their irritant nature to the fabrics you wash in them. So, your pillow and duvet covers might be doing your skin harm as you sleep.
If you’re noting red blotchy patches or more breakouts in your skin, it’s not necessarily because of something that you’ve done. When it comes to skin conditions like psoriasis, there are often no other causes besides genetics or your immune system. When a skin condition seems to stay with you, unchanging for days, you should ask your doctor about it. Many of these conditions are chronic but can be treated very effectively. If it starts to affect more than 10% of your skin or is accompanied by things like a fever or aching joints, you should see a specialist like a dermatologist right away. Your skin can often offer the first signs of serious diseases, especially those of the autoimmune variety like lupus.
It might sound like taking on a lot all at once, but the tips above are just little individual lifestyle changes that can all add up to give your skin a much healthier look at the end. Have you seen any you can start implementing right now?