You’ve said “no” to drugs, kept your alcohol intake to one glass a day, and kept your size five figure since high school. You didn’t apply for a medical marijuana card even after it became legal in your state and you certainly don’t pick your nose in public places, (your car doesn’t count, right?) So why is it that you are so addicted to your bad skin habits.
Innocuous as they may seem, there is nothing good about a bad skin habit. It may not kill you, but it certainly won’t keep you very well preserved. It can be a fine line when it comes to deciding which is worse. Want to kick your bad skin habits before you kick the bucket? It’s never too late or too early to start. Here are some of the worst skin habits and what you can do to quit cold turkey.
Not Removing Makeup Before Bed
The Scenario: It’s late, your face is full of makeup, and the quickest route to the bedroom doesn’t go past the bathroom? Leave your makeup on? Not in your wildest dreams! Your makeup may look beautiful on your face, but that doesn’t mean there’s not tons of grime under it. Dermatologist Joshua Zeichner says, “Dirt, oil, and pollution build-up and lead to both inflammation and breakouts. He should know, he’s from New York. Sooner or later, your complexion will pay the price for your neglect.
The Solution: Don’t abandon all hope. Keep a packet of wipes by your bed to keep your skin hydrated cleansed and hydrated. Try Biossance Squalane and Antioxidant Cleansing Cloths to keep mega dry skin moisturized and your eyebrows and lashes conditioned as a bonus. You can take your make up with your eyes closed.
The Scenario: You’ve been smoking for years. Now, you’ve got marionette lines around the mouth from holding the cigs between your lips, crow’s feet from squinting through the smoke, and sags and bags that couldn’t even be defined at heroin chic. Smoking is not just a bad habit, it’s a bad skin habit as well. Nicotine reduces blood flow to your skin which means it’s not getting enough nutrients and oxygen, and the chemicals in the tobacco break down the collagen and elastin proteins that give structure to your skin.
The Solution: If you’re a died in the wool smoker, this one’s not going to be an easy fix. You can try supplementing with vitamins A and C to ease the damage, the only sure way to stop it completely is to stop smoking completely. Click here to save more than your skin.
Skimping on Sunscreen
The Scenario: Does taking a jacket mean leaving the sunscreen behind? Hail no. The motto, “rain nor hail nor sleet nor snow” doesn’t only apply to the post office. The sun doesn’t stop emitting UV rays no matter how overcast it is. If you’re skimping on your sunscreen or skipping it altogether, you’ve got a bad skin habit that you need to break asap. UV light damages DNA in skin cells that cause cancer and lead to premature aging.
The Solution: Replace a bad habit with a good one. Make it a point to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB light with an SPF of at least 30 and plan to reapply every two hours that you spend in the sun. A full teaspoon’s worth should be just enough to cover your face, including your chin, the area around your nose and your hairline. Click here to for a tutorial on applying sunscreen under makeup.
Too Much Sugar and Not Enough Fruit and Veggies
The Scenario: It’s early morning and the breakfast choices are between a Starbucks low-fat macchiato (XL) and a grapefruit. Your heart may be screaming for the macchiato, but your skin is screaming for the grapefruit. Studies show that diets that are heavy on sugar can speed the aging process, macchiatos included. Did you know that a 16 oz serving of a caramel macchiato has 32 grams? Fruits and veggies, on the other hand, have antioxidants that can prevent skin damage and actually repair skin.
The Solution: It can be hard to talk angry taste buds out of their morning brew, but see if they won’t be receptive to a sugar-free option. A vanilla sugar-free latte? Yes, please. Also, if it’s a case of sour grapefruits, other fruits are less bitter and even richer in antioxidants. The top five fruits for skin health are:
- Papaya: Excellent source of vitamin C, essential for collagen production
- Avocado: Good source of monosaturated fats, helps to moisturize the skin and replenish oils lost from washing
- Blueberries: High in antioxidants, neutralizes skin-damaging free radicals
- Pears: Fantastic source of fiber, which helps rid the skin of toxins
- Plums: High in antioxidants and fiber, look for deep purple and red hues for best skin results
Picking Your Zits
The Scenario: You’ve got a big presentation on your mind and a zit in the center of your forehead. Popping it might go a short way in restoring your confidence, but it’s also going to go a long way in damaging your skin. Zits may be full of bacteria and germs, but they are packaged bacteria and germs. What do you have you bust them open? Bacteria and germs leaking into the other pores of your skin and an exponentially greater zit potential. Luckily, there are ways to survive zits that don’t involve mutilation or sick days.
The Solution: Put on gloves if you have to- whatever it takes to resist that impulse to pop. Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide will work more effectively in the long run. Keep in mind when you use these two popular acne treatments that a higher dose doesn’t necessarily mean a quicker result. Studies have demonstrated that 2.5% benzoyl peroxide is equally as effective as a 5% or 10% concentration and that higher dosages are more likely to cause irritation. Zeichner recommends a 2.5% dosage for benzoyl peroxide and a 2% dosage for salicylic acid.
And if you feel the need to conceal, watch this tutorial for a seamless, seemingly acne free complexion.
Exfoliating Dry Skin
The Scenario: You wake up in the morning and your skin is flaking out on you. You’ve got scales and flakes that are totally betraying your confidence, both personally and socially. You turn to your exfoliant to tip the scales back in your favor, but not so fast. That exfoliant that you’re turning to maybe adding injury to insult.
Exfoliation is made for sloughing away loose patches. It should be the perfect remedy. However, flakes and scales are also the first signs of dryness and the rough treatment can disrupt the moisture balancing barrier in your skin.
The Solution: Give the scrub the rub. Instead, look for fragrance-free creams and lotions with moisturizes like dimethicone, glycerin, petrolatum and shea and cocoa butter that absorb into the skin without leaving it greasy.
Bad Sleeping Habits
1) The Scenario: You didn’t wake up in the morning. Maybe you haven’t gone to sleep at all, or your sleeping schedule is really out of wack but for one reason or another, you haven’t gotten a proper sleep and your skin is paying the price. According to dermatologist Amy Weschler, less than seven hours of shuteye makes skin duller and lines more noticeable. “Your skin can rebound from the occasional late night, especially when you’re young, but a few in a row can catch up with you.” When the nights and days start to blur together, your circadian rhythm gets thrown off. Your skin cells don’t turn over as efficiently as a result, and over time skin loses its glow and wrinkles appear.
The Solution: Try to keep that circadian rhythm as steady as possible. The optimal time for skin cell turnover is between 10 pm and 2 am. Do your best to find yourself asleep no later than 11. If you have trouble falling asleep, avoid bright screens before bedtime and/or try a melatonin supplement. Click here for more advice on improving sleeping habits.
2) The Scenario: You’re more concerned with counting sheep than with the thread count in your sheets. You may be getting your seven hours of heaven in every night, but if your sleeping conditions aren’t optimal, your skin may not be reaping the full benefits. Your pillowcase collects dead skin cells bacteria, oils, and excess night creams and makeup. When you toss and turn, that all goes right back into your pores. Add that to dry air and you’ve got skin woes that could keep anyone up at night.
The Solution: Change your sheets at least once a week, two is even better. Also try swapping out the regular cotton for something smoother like Egyptian Cotton, satin or silk; rougher fabrics can cause wrinkles. (Trust us, you’ll never go back to regular cotton again). Throw in a humidifier while you’re at it. Humidifiers counteract the dryness in the air.
The Scenario: You come home from work and all you can think of is the subway ride home. You spent your lunch break inhaling fumes from buses, and you feel like you’ve exposed to more free radical damage than the Toxic Avenger. Double cleansing is your single most priority. Nothing but the one-two punch of both an oil and lathering cleanser will save you now. However, lathering cleansers can strip skin of its natural oils, leaving skin dry and prone to wrinkles.
The Solution: Doubling up on cleansers may do a lot of the dirty work, but you don’t want to break down your skin’s moisture barrier in the process. Try skipping the lather and concentrating on the creams and oils. When your skin’s had a rough day, dermatologist Ellen Marmur recommends washing with an oil-based cleanser at night and rinsing with water when you wake up. “It’s enough to clean your skin in the morning and you’ll retain more of your natural oils,” she says.
Drinking Your Water Instead of Eating It
The Scenario: When you’re drinking eight glasses a day, holding it in can be a necessary life skill. If you find yourself taking so many bathroom breaks that you can’t even get into the Netflix episode you’re watching, you know you’re not retaining nearly as much as your taking in. Water is vital for plump, glowing skin; you don’t want it going down the toilet.
The Solution: Reclaim your lunch hour by actually eating lunch rather than spending it running to the bathroom. According to Dr. Howard Murad, the secret to retaining water is eating it. Foods like watermelon (97% water) and zucchini (95% water), have large quantities of H2O and, unlike plain water, they do a little of the holding in for you. Body cells absorb water more easily from foods because it is coming with other nutrients the body needs to hold on to. Fruits and veggies contain higher water content than other food groups. Concentrate on eating those if hydration is your aim.
Not Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes
The Scenario: No matter what eye shadow color you apply, they all have a funny way of coming on in a brownish hue. Not cleaning your makeup brushes can do more than muddy even the most brilliant of shadows, but it can also harm your skin. Bacteria builds up on the brushes that can spread into pores, which can turn very ugly, especially if you have an open sore or crack in your skin.
The Solution: Start washing your makeup brushes. Brushes that are used for a lot of products such as foundations and powders require more maintenance than the ones you use less often. Here’s a quick guide on how frequently you should wash your brushes:
- For foundations and powders: Once a week
- For eye shadows and concealer: Every other week
- For all others: Once a month
For a little how-to on how to keep your brushes with bacteria down to a minimum, click here.