The internet is filled with articles offering great advice on how to care for your skin. From drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy diet to choosing the best in skin care products, there’s no subject that goes untouched. However, sometimes it isn’t about what we should be doing to keep our skin healthy, but instead what we shouldn’t.
Even those of us who are the most diligent with our skin care regimens can fall prey to bad habits. Sometimes, it’s that we’re unaware of the negative effects of certain things on our skin. In some cases, damage from bad skin habits can take months, or even years, to show. This means that by the time we realize we’re harming our skin, the behavior has become so ingrained that it’s hard to stop.
Are you ready to break the cycle of bad skin care habits? For clear, beautiful skin, here are 11 skin care habits that need to be broken, once and for all.
Constantly Touching Your Face
Have you ever stopped and counted the number of times you touch your face during the day? Probably not, because it isn’t something that most people ever think about. We’re not talking about cleansing and moisturizing your face or applying cosmetics. This is about all those times you absently reach up and touch your skin.
The reason this causes problems isn’t that touching your face is bad, it’s that your hands are a goldmine of dirt and bacteria that gets transferred to your facial skin every time you touch it.
Hands pick up dirt, dust and germs from every surface they touch. Even the most diligent hand washer can’t keep their hands clean 24/7. Each time you touch your face, delicate facial skin is exposed to whatever is on your hands, and that creates a recipe for problems. Breakouts, infections and even wrinkles can result.
The remedy? Become aware of all the times you mindlessly touch your face. For example, resting your chin on your hand or gently swiping away smeared eye makeup in the review mirror. Make a point of always washing your hands before touching your skin and keep a supply of clean cosmetic sponges and pads to handle mini emergencies when you don’t have access to soap and water.
Rubbing Your Eyes
This one is a double whammy. Not only are you touching your face with hands that probably haven’t been washed, you’re also putting stress on a very delicate and fragile area of skin.
The skin around the eyes is extremely sensitive and doesn’t produce oil like the rest of your face. This means that there’s nothing there to lubricate the friction and the skin itself is less resilient. Rubbing your eyes can lead to redness and premature wrinkling.
Since rubbing the eyes is a bit of an impulse action, few people think about washing their hands first, which means a greater risk of bacteria entering the eye area.
Instead of rubbing your eyes when you’re tired, try a splash of cool water or a relaxing eye mask, and keep some eye drops on hand to combat eye fatigue and irritation.
Not Cleaning Makeup Utensils
Makeup brushes and applicators can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Let’s just think for a second about the work that these tools do. The average process goes something like this. A makeup brush is dipped or swiped across a cosmetic. The brush is then brought to the face where it’s going to pick up oils, dead skin cells and possibly bacteria. At this point, it may go back to the cosmetic where it’s going to leave some of that residue. When you’re done, it gets set aside in a cosmetic organizer or a countertop, where it collects dust, not to be thought of until next time when the entire process gets repeated.
Dust, dirt, oil, and bacteria from cosmetics. Yuck. Who wants to put all that on their face? Before you get too grossed out, it’s perfectly fine to use your brushes without cleaning them every time. However, if you never clean them at all, you’re only giving all the dirt and germs a chance to multiply and cause havoc for your skin, and your cosmetic’s performance.
Clean reusable brushes and applicators once every week with a gentle, non-toxic shampoo and let them dry overnight.
Using Harsh Detergents
If you’re doing it right, you should be spending about 7-9 hours a night with your head on your pillow. The quality of detergents that you use to wash pillow cases, sheets and blankets matter for skin health.
You’ve probably heard the advice that you should avoid sleeping with your face pressed against a pillow case entirely, opting to sleep on your back. But, if you’re like most people, there’s tossing and turning that happens all night. Washing bedtime linens with harsh, toxin-loaded detergents can irritate your skin just when it’s supposed to be recovering and rejuvenating itself.
Instead, choose natural detergents that are free of scents and irritating ingredients.
Too Much/Too Little Exfoliation
Exfoliation is the big question mark of skin care. You’ll hear advice telling you how important it is one minute, and then someone saying you shouldn’t do it all the next. The issue isn’t that you shouldn’t exfoliate at all, it’s about technique and frequency.
You should avoid harsh facial exfoliants at all costs. Those products filled with rough exfoliation ingredients, like ground shells, are problematic for facial skin. They scratch, irritate and overstimulate delicate facial skin. These types of exfoliants are best saved for winter-time feet.
On the other hand, exfoliation removes the layers of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. These dead skin cells are difficult to remove with just cleansing alone, and if they’re allowed to accumulate, you’ll see the results in dull, congested skin.
The solution? Choose gentle, enzymatic exfoliators such as our Ancient Orient Bamboo Dermafoliant that loosen dead skin cells and debris from the surface of the skin without irritating it.
Picking at Blemishes
It’s easy to become obsessed with a pimple. There’s this spot on your face, and you just want it to go away. The very nature of a pimple implies that there’s something in there that needs to come out, and the sooner it does, the sooner you can have your clear complexion back.
Except, it doesn’t really work that way. Pimples are tiny infections, and your body has a natural immune system to fight them. Picking at them will only make them worse. Would you continually pick at any other type of wound? Probably not because you know that it’s unsanitary, slows healing and increases the risk of scarring.
The best route is to treat your skin with care when you have a blemish. Wash with gentle cleansers and avoid drying acne treatments. Applying a drying treatment can dry out the skin to the point that it traps a pimple below the surface. Instead, choose a gentle blemish treatment that goes easy on active ingredients.
For chronic acne, or if you’re compulsively picking at your skin, contact a dermatologist for treatment.
Falling Asleep Without Washing Your Face
The temptation to just crawl into bed after a long day is strong. After all, your makeup from the morning has completely worn off, or maybe you didn’t use any in the first place. Is there really a reason to spend extra time washing a face that obviously isn’t dirty.
Absolutely, yes. Makeup, even when you can’t see it, can clog your pores. Add to this that dirt, sweat, oils, dead skin cells and toxins from the environment accumulate on your skin every single day. Do you really want to leave all that on your skin overnight, and transfer it to your bed linens?
It honestly, only takes a few minutes to wash your face before bed. Moisturizing is a great idea, but if you’re struggling to stay awake, a quick cleanse is what matters. Make this easier on yourself by streamlining your normal bedtime skincare routine so that it isn’t overcomplicated and time-consuming. If it normally takes you 25 minutes to prepare your face for bed, you’re more likely to skip out when you’re exhausted.
This is one of the worst skin care habits because the effects of it affect the health of your skin for years to come. UV exposure can prematurely age your skin by breaking down the collagen structures that support it.
Even more importantly, skipping sunscreen increases your overall chances of developing skin cancer at some point in your life. Almost all cases of skin cancer are a result of years of accumulative damage from UV exposure. This isn’t just a few wrinkles we’re talking about. This is your life.
Anytime that you’re planning on being in the sun for more than 15-20 minutes, you should apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen, even if you aren’t at the beach. Arms, hands, face and neck are areas that commonly suffer from overexposure. This is because we often hop in our cars or do a little work in the garden without even thinking about it.
Always cover exposed areas with a broad-spectrum sunscreen before you go out. Don’t forget that if you’re going to be out for a while, sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours or after exposure to water. And make a daily application of facial sunscreen a part of your morning regimen, rain or shine.
Ok, so smoking is bad on so many levels, that bringing up the effects on the skin almost seems inconsequential. But, the effects of smoking on the skin are something that we can easily see, and it provides visual proof of the effects of this damaging habit.
Exposure to cigarette smoke destroys the support structures of your skin. You’ll end up with skin that blotchy, discoloured and prone to early, deep wrinkles that you normally wouldn’t see until years in the future.
For the sake of your skin, as well as your general health, quit and seek help if necessary. Also, avoid situations where you’re exposed to large amounts of second-hand smoke.
Not Staying Hydrated
Proper hydration is your skin’s number one BFF. Our bodies are an average of 50-65% water, so how on earth can we stay healthy without replenishing ourselves regularly? Water is essential for pretty much every single biological process, and that includes those necessary for keeping the skin healthy.
Staying hydrated prevents your skin from looking dry and shallow. Plus, adequate water intake helps to flush out toxins that can cause blemishes and premature ageing.
Aim for at least 8 to 10 cups of water per day. Many people don’t have a realistic idea of how much this is. Some perceive it to be way more than it is, while others seriously underestimate the amount they’re consuming. Try setting a goal for yourself and make it fun. Buy a new water bottle and note how many times you’ll need to refill it to reach your goal or draw a cute chart to help keep track of your consumption.
Skipping the Ingredient Label
One of the biggest bad habits that we’re collectively guilty of is not paying enough attention to the ingredient labels on the products we use. Once you start reading them, you’ll be shocked at the number of artificial, toxic and irritating ingredients that are in even some of your most trusted products.
You don’t want that stuff on your skin, and neither do we. That’s why we’re committed to creating gentle, natural and non-toxic skin care. Look for skin care companies with this commitment to protect the health and integrity of your skin.
We tend to think of bad habits as being big things that have a negative impact on our lives. But, the truth is, it’s usually the small things that add up and cause the most damage. Make a commitment to take care of your skin every day, in all the small ways that matter. You’ll be rewarded with healthy, beautiful skin for years to come.