We’ve all been guilty of not taking care of our skin as well as we should. When the aging process starts in your 20s, a few good habits can make a world of a difference a few decades down the road. Here are a few bad habits to nix from your routine:
Not Getting Enough Sleep
There’s a reason that “beauty rest” is a thing. When you sleep, your body is in restoration mode. That includes your skin. Skimping on sleep, when it happens regularly, deprives your skin of this crucial restorative state. Ever notice after a night of little or no sleep that your complexion seems dry and dull? For acne-prone skin, this can lead to a vicious cycle of breakouts.
Need a quick fix for an all-nighter? Apply a chilled, skin-tightening cream to your face, preferably before you hit the sack. Pay close attention to the area under your eyes, which is likely to become dark and puffy without a little extra TLC.
Sleeping with Makeup On
Yes, we know, you’ve been told this a million times before. Here’s the deal though: if you don’t want to piss of your pores and disturb the nightly rejuvenation process, figure out a way to make sure you’re removing your makeup every night.
Can’t seem to break the habit? Try keeping makeup remove towelettes on your nightstand as a reminder to clean your face before sleeping.
Treating Acne-Prone Skin with Harsh Cleansers
We went over this a bit in our Oil Cleansing Guide, but contrary to what many believe, using an astringent, drying cleanser may only be making blemishes worse.
See something called sodium laurel sulfate on the ingredient list in your cleanser? Well, you’re basically using detergent on your face and stripping away all natural moisture. This can lead to an unbalanced complexion that will overcompensate with — you guessed it — breaking out!
According to this article in Elle, “When a dermatologist drains a pimple, he or she will apply downward pressure perpendicularly to the skin’s surface, explains Gross. But when people try to do it themselves, they usually squeeze from the side, which causes the infection to go deeper— a major backfire that can permanently enlarge pores.”
As tempting as it is, only have a professional do facial extractions. The damage caused by popping pimples at home – scarring, enlarged pores – is not worth it.
Skipping the Sunscreen
Another no-brainer. Truth be told, exposure to UV rays is the primary factor in premature aging. Even on a cloudy day, using a moisturizer with a minimum SPF of 15 should be part of everyone’s morning routine. These days, there are a lot of options that don’t leave you looking pasty and white.
Exfoliating Too Much
While sloughing off dead skin cells is an important part of a skincare regimen, overdoing the exfoliant, whether it’s a chemical peel, exfoliating sponge, or scrub, can leave your skin looking worse. Especially for acne-prone skin, exfoliating more often than you should can lead to more breakouts.
Looking to find that sweet spot? Start by exfoliating once a month and gradually increase to once a week. If you notice any redness or irritation, or dryness the following day, take it back a step.
Smoking wreaks havoc on your skin from the inside and outside. Every time you light up a cigarette, you’re essentially cutting off your skin’s ability to breath (Source: Allure). You’re essentially undoing any other work towards preserving your skin’s youth by smoking.
Binging on Your Vices
Let’s be real, it’s hard to eliminate alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and other guilty pleasures. As they say, though, everything in moderation.
Consuming sugar affects our bodies’ collagen stores. Collagen is the magical substance that helps our skin spring back and look young. “Sugary foods break down collagen and elastin in the skin, causing dullness and wrinkles over time,” says dermatologist Fredric Brandt. (Source: TheList)
As for alcohol and caffeine, dehydration is not a good look. Over time, the effects of continuous dehydration are hard to reverse as well.
Touching Your Face
We do this without even realizing it. Every time you touch your face you’re introducing bacteria and other pollutants to your face. Rubbing your eyes is especially damaging, since the skin and capillaries around the eyes are extremely delicate. For this reason, you should be especially careful when applying eye makeup and eyeliner. Avoid tugging and pulling at your eyelids as much as possible!