8 Bad Skin Habits You Need to Break
If finally getting your skincare routine in check made it on your list of to-dos, begin by revamping your regimen. Those bad habits you've grown accustomed to could be getting in the way of finding your most flawless face. Here, dermatologists Shari Sperling, of Sperling Dermatology in Florham Park, New Jersey, and Lily Talakoub, of McLean Skin & Dermatology in McLean, Virginia, share how to break out of your beauty rut.
1. Treating Yourself to Too Much Booze and/or Sugar: As much as we all love to have an excuse to celebrate, eating too many sweets and opting for that third glass of wine can really put a damper on our complexions. If you're unsure what's causing your skin issues, look at what's on your plate (and in your glass). Elimination diets, which involve temporarily removing red-flag foods from your plate, are an easy way to see firsthand whether a certain ingredient is the culprit. If you experience regular breakouts, Sperling suggests making two dietary adjustments: reducing sugar intake and limiting booze (which turns to sugar in our bloodstream). While high-glycemic foods and beverages can wreak havoc on your skin from the inside out, it also comes down to the fact that after a night of drinking and sweets, you may feel too lethargic to properly care for your skin. (Photo via Peter Dazeley/ Getty)
2. Going Overboard at the Sink: As squeaky clean as you'd like to feel, there is such a thing as over-cleansing. When you scrub and rinse your face too often it can compromise the skin's moisture barrier, damaging your complexion instead of improving it. This is especially true when it comes to using stronger solutions (like those formulated with sulfates) that, while beneficial in moderation, can strip skin of natural oils if used daily. Talakoub suggests reaching for gentler cleansing milks, oils, balms, and micellar water. “Also look for rosehip or marula oils," she says, noting that they're anti-inflammatory without being harsh on the skin.
3. Relying on Rough, Textured Exfoliants: Buffing away the buildup of dead skin cells, makeup dirt, and impurities is necessary for a smooth, bright complexion, but it's important to be as gentle as possible and massage them in soft, circular motions. “If you want to exfoliate, do so no more than once a week," Sperling begins. “You have to be careful since [over-exfoliation] causes more harm than good." If you want to cleanse more often, Sperling suggests using glycolic and/or salicylic acid washes to help slough off the dead cell buildup.
4. Ghosting Your Derm: Be sure to head to the doctor's office to examine any new growths, especially if you have a family or personal history of skin cancer. Sperling recommends an annual visit if you have no family history of skin cancer. “If you have a history of melanoma, you should get checked every three months for the first two years post-diagnosis," she says. (Photo via CasarsaGuru/ Getty)
5. Pay Attention to the Skin Below Your Chin: When you're standing in front of the mirror, remember to look down. Sperling stresses the importance of conducting your own body checks, taking the time to be aware of any changes popping up from head to toe. By knowing your normal baseline, you'll have a better idea of when to schedule that visit to the dermatologist.
6. Too Much Sun-Worshipping: A golden glow can light up your selfies, but trying to achieve it is not worth the risk of unprotected UV-exposure. Side effects like premature aging, sun spots, burning, and even cancer are possible when you don't properly protect your skin, both outdoors and inside tanning beds. Keep in mind this doesn't mean you have to become a hobbit forever steering clear of daylight. “You have to be realistic and live your life," Sperling says. “Just be smart about it. Wear SPF 30 or higher and re-apply every two hours."
7. Passing Out Before Washing Up: We mentioned that over-cleansing will do more harm to your face than good, but Sperling reminds us that under-cleansing is harmful too. Going to bed with leftover makeup, dirt, and grease on the skin is a recipe for disaster — namely, clogged pores, breakouts, irritation, and inflammation. In other words, using only a cleansing wipe will not cut it. The good news is that there are plenty of gentle, low-maintenance options to keep your skin clean (like cleansing oils or a second swipe-over with micellar water). Talakoub adds that following up with glycolic acid can help unclog the pores. (Photo via PeopleImages/ Getty)
8. Sleeping on Cotton Pillowcases: We know they're comfortable, but a pillowcase made of absorbent cotton could soak up your just-applied skincare regimen. The higher the thread count the better, but investing in silk pillowcases or a soft bamboo blend (both of which won't absorb your products) will help your skincare stay put, promising better results come morning.
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