According to science (and many well-intentioned motivational speakers), it takes 21 days to break a habit or build a new one. We all have habits that affect ourselves or the people around us in unfortunate ways. But, how are our bad habits affecting our skin? Here are 17 bad skin habits to kick in 2017:
1. Sleeping with your makeup on
Your mother told you all your life to always wash your face before you go to bed. But, after a long day at work, it’s often the last thing we want to do before hitting our pillow. However, when it come to your skin, the extra 5 minutes is definitely worth the effort. Sleeping in your makeup can cause bacterial infections and clogged pores which can lead to breakouts and increased acne.
2. Picking at your skin
The temptation is so strong with this one. We think if we can just pop that blemish and get the bacteria out, it will heal quicker. In reality, when we use our fingers to pick at a blemish, we are actually pushing dirt and bacteria deeper into our pores making it harder for the blemish to clear up.
3. Talking on the phone
While limiting time spent on the phone is probably unlikely for most of us, keeping it clean is certainly possible. With this age of iPhones and Androids we’re using our phones for so much more than talking, which means constantly touching the screen with fingers that have been touching doorknobs and light switches, and more. We then put our phones up to our ears and against our faces transferring all those germs and dirt causing breakouts and rashes. Do yourself a favor, and keep antibacterial wipes in your bag, and in the car to give your phone a quick wipe-off while on-the-go.
4. Wearing dirty sunglasses
We don’t often think of the effects of dirty sunglasses beyond making it more difficult to see out of them. However, your dirty sunglasses could be making things harder for your nose as well. If not cleaned properly and regularly, your sunglasses can get dirt and grime build-up that transfers onto the bridge of your nose resulting in clogged pores.
5. Yo-yo dieting
Diets are especially common at the beginning of the New Year. Many of us start a nutrition plan only to fall off the wagon, and start back with something new several months later. The resulting frequent weight loss and gain can cause the fibers in your skin to loosen. Overtime, this can create saggy skin and stretch marks. It’s best to stick with a moderate, maintainable nutrition plan that can keep you on track without depriving you of life’s delicious pleasures.
6. Eating too much sugar
Speaking of life’s delicious pleasures, the old adage “everything in moderation” will always ring true. Too many sweets and sugar-rich foods harm the collagen in your skin, breaking down elasticity and causing sag. Try to eat clean, and keep the splurge days to a minimum.
7. Sleeping on dirty pillowcases
Even if you’re religious about taking your makeup off every night, and washing your face before you go to bed, your skin will still shed dead skin cells while you sleep. This can lead to bacteria and toxins accumulating on your pillowcase. To avoid breakouts, it is best to change your pillowcase every 2 weeks at minimum.
8. Over Exfoliating
Nothing is worse than dry, flaky skin, especially in the winter. So, we often feel the need to exfoliate more during the colder months to slough off all that dead skin. However, too much exfoliating can be counter-productive. Your body creates oils to retain moisture in your skin. Over-exfoliation strips your skin of these oils which can actually lead to even dryer skin making all your efforts for naught. Maintain a balance by only exfoliating once a week.
9. Using the Same Products All Year Long
This is an easy trap to fall into. Skincare can be touch-and-go for many of us trying to find what works best for our skin. So, when you find something that works, why change it? But the truth is, just like your wardrobe, your skin changes with the seasons. Summertime usually causes more oily skin due to humidity and sweat from the heat, while winter usually causes dryer skin due to lack of moisture in the air and colder weather. In the winter, it’s best to concentrate on super moisturizing and hydrating products. While in the spring, you’ll want a refresher from the dryness of the winter. This time of year, exfoliating and deep pore cleansing should take top priority. But, summer is all about protection from the sun. Your go-to regimen should include high quality sunscreen with antioxidants, and light weight products due to increased humidity. As with springtime, fall is all about repairing the skin from the previous season. It’s best to increase exfoliation to repair sun damage from the summer.
10. Using a soap to cleanse your face
Soap is soap. I can use it for everything, right? Wrong. Soap is made from alkaline and designed specifically to remove oil and dirt. During this process, it strips the protective barrier on the surface of your skin. That barrier is essential to healthy skin. Instead of soap, opt for a facial cleanser designed specifically for your skin type.
11. Using dirty makeup brushes
Can we go ahead and agree that dirty makeup brushes are just gross anyway? Not to mention, your makeup doesn’t go on smoothly when your brush is caked up with old product. But there are even worse side effects of dirty brushes. On a daily basis, your brush accumulates dead skin cells, dirt, oil, pollution, and bacteria. This causes clogged pores, breakouts and even potential infections. Go ahead and make it a once a month ritual to clean all your brushes. Your skin will thank you.
12. Eating junk food
While a cheeseburger here and there isn’t going to hurt you, an excessive diet of high fat, processed food can lead to more breakouts. These foods have a high glycemic index that triggers a surge of insulin. Insulin stimulates hormones called androgens. Androgens are oil-induced which leads to breakouts. Substitute the processed foods for healthy fats, and see a dramatic change in your skin tone and overall appearance.
13. Not exercising
By now, we all know how important exercise is. Not only does it keep us at a healthy weight, but it also increases blood flow and gives the face a natural glow. When you work out, you perspire. When you perspire, you expel toxins from the body. Perspiration also cleanses dead skin cells, giving your body room to generate new cells. Therefore, a lack of exercise can lead to an increase in age spots. Just keep it moving!
14. Taking long, hot showers
After a stressful day, a long, hot shower is just one of life’s heavenly pleasures. But, it’s not so heavenly for your skin. The extreme heat can strip away the outermost layer of the epidermis. This causes dry, rough patches on the skin. While it’s best to keep the temps at a nice lukewarm level, when your skin gets pink and a little itchy, that’s your cue to step out.
15. Keeping the plastic on your dry cleaning
This is one that many of us would never even think about. You pick up the dry cleaning and stick it in the closet till it’s time to be worn again. But, it’s important to take the plastic off as soon as you pick it up. The chemicals from the plastic can be absorbed by your clothes and then transferred to your skin. Make sure to let the clothes breathe before wearing them again.
16. Getting hair products in your face
Hair products are often essential to a gorgeous, flowing mane, but not so much when those products find their way onto your face, back, or neck. Products like hairspray and gel can be very irritating to your skin causing inflammation and clogged pores, resulting in breakouts and the dreaded “bacne.” To alleviate this issue, limit washing your hair to 2-3 times a week, put your hair up before bed so you’re not rolling in product all night, and try silk pillowcases.
Of all the outside forces we mentioned that can cause harm to your skin, it’s an internal one that can do the most damage. Stress affects us in so many ways, but it often manifests through our skin in the form of blemishes, rashes, and dullness, and even stress lines that can turn into wrinkles. Practice managing your stress levels with fun and relaxing activities that can help you unwind and decompress.
These are all very simple changes we can make to our daily routines, but they can have a tremendous impact on the quality of our skin. If you’ve picked up some of these nasty little habits along the way, make 2017 the year to nix them for good. Make this the year you treat your skin as a priority. We’ll invest in a quality watch or handbag that we wear a couple times a week, why not invest in your skin? You wear it everyday.
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