At this point you can recite the basics of good skin care by heart.
Eat healthy. Stay hydrated. Choose the right products for your skin type and concerns. Don’t pop or pick at acne. Limit your time in the sun and the tanning bed. Don’t skimp on – or skip – SPF.
But even if you’re nailing all that, you may still be wreaking havoc on that all-important outer layer. Beware of late-night ice cream feasts and other seemingly innocuous parts of your daily routine that are silently disrupting your epidermis.
Avoid these sneaky bad skin care habits to keep your mug majestic.
Passing On The Post-Workout Shower
Squeezing in a sweat session is hard enough. Squeezing in a shower afterwards might feel downright inconceivable. But disregarding your post-workout ablutions can land you in a sticky, not to mention smelly, situation.
All the perspiration that’s now coating your skin can lead to acne, rashes, clogged pores, unholy odours, buildup of bacteria, and other icky irritations. It’s always best to rinse off immediately after exercising so bacteria spends as little time on your skin as possible, but when a shower is absolutely not in the cards, the next best thing is to change out of your gym clothes ASAP and swipe down your most acne-prone parts with a cleansing wipe.
Scrubbing Too Roughly
You’re cleansing your face, not buffing a car. All of your skin should be handled with care, but the skin on your face is particularly sensitive. Always wash and exfoliate with a gentle hand. Harsh scrubbing can cause redness, blotches and permanently dilated capillaries, as well as encourage the formation of wrinkles. Be especially gentle under the eyes, where the skin is thinnest and most delicate.
Sinking Into Stress
Stress and anxiety raise the level of cortisol – aka ‘the stress hormone’ – in your body. Increased cortisol tanks your immune system and throws the rest of your hormones out of whack, causing flare-ups of issues like acne, rosacea, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, and hives. The facial expressions you make while under pressure, like pursing your lips or furrowing your brows, can also lead to deeper wrinkles in those areas over time.
Forgetting Your Glasses (Both Kinds)
Speaking of facial movements and fine lines… let’s talk about squinting. Whether you do it because your vision is shot and you refuse to get corrective lenses, or because it’s the middle of summer and you forgot your sunnies, the squinting you do as a result will most definitely lead to crepey, wrinkled undereyes as you age. Always carry sunglasses and don’t skip on regular checkups with your optometrist.
Frequently rubbing your eyes or sleeping with your face smashed into a pillow are also no-nos if you want to stall undereye creasing for as long as possible.
Getting Inadequate Sleep
We sing the praises of sleep quite a lot around here, and for good reason. Insufficient shuteye spells doom for a variety of physical and mental elements, including your skin. When you regularly catch fewer Zs than your body needs, your skin gets duller and fine lines become more prominent. Younger skin can bounce back from the occasional late night, but recovery becomes harder the older you get (just ask your hangovers).
If you find yourself facing a sleepless night, don’t start rewatching Breaking Bad or stalking an ex on Instagram. The bright light emitted by digital screens suppresses melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep and regulates the body’s circadian rhythm. Decreased melatonin levels prevent skin cells from turning over as efficiently, leading to even more wrinkles and dullness over time.
Being Chatty Charles On Your Mobile
Another reason to consider a device detox: constantly resting your face against a phone, whether mobile or old-school, can cause breakouts. Phones are serious breeding grounds for bacteria, which can sow the seeds of acne on the sides of your face and along your jaw. Even if you religiously wipe it down, simply pressing your skin against the screen can create friction, occlusion, and increased heat, all of which can cause spots to sprout.
From scalding showers to tropical thermostats, acute heat does a number on your skin. The warmer the water, the more likely it is to strip your skin of its essential natural oils, causing dullness and dryness. Cranking up the heat in winter can also leave your skin parched, so load up on blankets and don’t forget the humidifier.
Neglecting To Moisturise Oily Skin
Ignore naysayers who claim you don’t need a moisturiser if you have oily skin. All skin types can benefit from added hydration, even the oily and acne-prone. The key is choosing the right moisturiser for your slick skin type. Pick a product that’s water-based, not oil-based, and that’s lightweight for speedy absorption. The right formula will provide long-lasting hydration while reducing excess shine to leave a fresh, matte finish. If acne is an issue, look for the word “non-comedogenic” on the packaging, which means the product won’t clog your pores.
Sleeping In Contaminated Sheets
It’s common to shower in the morning to start the day squeaky clean, but showering at night could be the better bet skin-wise. When you hit the sack without a rinse, your body sheds the day’s worth of dirt, oil, pollution, dust, dead skin cells, and other impurities straight onto your sheets. Then you marinate in them for hours, and wake up with all of that ick stuck right back to your skin. Consider switching up your shower schedule and, at the very least, keep up a regular laundry routine.
To put it simply, almost anything you love overdoing is harmful to overdo. Alcohol, tobacco, sugar, salt, caffeine… all of these wicked indulgences dehydrate and inflame the skin, or break down essential proteins like collagen and elastin causing dullness and wrinkles as you age. Even cleansing and exfoliating are bad news if you go overboard. We’re not saying you should become a monk, but you should take time to consider what your ultimate priorities are.