Proper skin care is multifaceted. Many of us have consciously invested in achieving healthy flawless skin through excellent products, professional services, proper nutrition, and fun gadgets. But taking care of your skin is more than what you DO for it. It is also important to know what NOT to do! Many bad habits cause harm to your skin, preventing you from achieving your skincare goals.
Here is our list of the five WORST things to do to your skin:
Picking, squeezing, and popping blemishes often increase inflammation and can lead to permanent scarring. Plus, open wounds (like a “successfully” popped pimple) become susceptible to infection. Infection is far more likely when you can’t keep your hands off the blemish.
Your hands are always dirty, even after you have scrubbed well, cleansing them of pimple-causing bacteria and debris. Products like hand lotions, sanitizers, and soaps leave a residue on your hands (like a product’s fragrance) that can irritate the sensitive skin of your face and clog your pores. Also, just like your face, the skin on your hands naturally secretes oils. Something as simple as subconsciously resting your chin in your hand can easily cause breakouts. Keep washing and sanitizing those hands to prevent the spread of disease and don’t hesitate to moisturize them to prevent flaking and cracking, but do your best to keep your gorgeous hands off your gorgeous face.
There is a reason “beauty sleep” is a common colloquialism. Most of us can tell just by looking at somebody that they haven’t gotten enough sleep. Undereye circles are a dead giveaway, but tired skin can also look dull and dry. Pore size may increase, and inflammation can worsen. Sleep time is when your body does the majority of any healing and repairing it needs. It’s why you need extra sleep when you are sick! But fighting off an infection isn’t the only repair work that is done while you dream. Your skin spends your unconscious hours creating new cells and repairing or shedding old and damaged ones. During sleep hours your skin is most efficient at using the skin care products you applied before bed. They tend to penetrate more deeply and provide results sooner. Make sure you get at least seven hours of good sleep every night.
Skipping the bedtime facial cleanse is the cardinal sin of skin care. Throughout our day our skin is exposed to sweat, dirt, debris, and other pollutants. Sleeping without washing away makeup and other impurities can clog your pores and lead to breakouts. It also disrupts cell turnover, so even if you don’t end up with blemishes, your skin can’t complete its natural overnight repair and rejuvenation work described above when it is being suffocated by the yuck of the day still left on your face.
It’s also important to note that nighttime skin care products and those meant for daylight hours are designed to do different things. Washing off your day serums and creams gives your evening products a clean slate to work on.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are the rays from the sun that cause damage to our skin. Harmful UV rays cause more than just a bad sunburn and extra wrinkles. “Sun damage” refers to all changes to the skin, both visible and invisible, that are a direct result of exposure to UV light. Included within the spectrum of damage caused by the sun is:
- Development of fine lines and wrinkles
- Dark spots (sometimes referred to as “liver spots” or “age spots”) and moles
- Pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions
- “Leathery” looking skin
- Yellowing of the skin
- Destruction of elastin and collagen fibers
- Sagging skin
- Exacerbated blackheads and whiteheads, typically around the eyes (Favre-Racouchot Syndrome)
- Exacerbation of inflammation and other skin issues like psoriasis or rosacea
Bottom Line: it is never a good idea to skip sunscreen during daylight hours.
Dehydration wreaks havoc on your entire body. Your organs need water to function properly and efficiently. Your skin, being the largest organ in your body, relies on proper hydration. When your skin is properly hydrated, your skin is fuller and more radiant, and the fine lines and wrinkles are diminished. Staying hydrated also helps continuously flush any toxins from your body, which helps your overall complexion.
It’s common knowledge that smoking is bad for your health, including your skin. But most people don’t realize how bad it really is. Smoking is the most common cause of wrinkles around the mouth. It probably seems obvious that the repeated puckering around the end of a cigarette speeds up the development of those wrinkles, but smoking causes so much more damage to your skin than that. Smoking speeds up the aging process by starving your skin of oxygen and impairing blood flow. Without oxygen and healthy circulation, your skin does not receive the nutrients it needs to repair, heal, and create new cells. Also, the chemicals in cigarettes actively break down collagen and elastin, further aging your skin faster and more severely than that of a nonsmoker. Remember, it’s never too late to quit. Your whole body will thank you!