Clear, smooth, baby-soft, glowing skin is #goals—are you unknowingly sabotaging yourself away from this with some bad beauty habits? Read this to find out!
1. Sleeping with a dirty face
We’ve all heard it before, but on nights when you’re super tired and sleepy, it can be so tempting to just go straight to bed without cleansing your face. Please resist! This can cause breakouts, clogged pores, and even bacterial infections from the day’s residual makeup, dirt, and oil build-up, especially since the skin absorbs products faster while you sleep.
And let’s say you do cleanse your face every night—don’t forget about your towel and pillowcases, too. It’s best to replace them once a week.
2. Using dirty/expired makeup items
After splurging on your favorite foundation and eyeshadow palette, you’d understandably want to keep using them until they run out—even if you got them five years ago and they’re actually starting to smell weird. And just how much of a hassle is it to sanitize and wash all your brushes and applicator tools regularly, right?
Nope! Remember that the cost of that hassle is saving your skin from a slew of potential problems, ranging from mild irritation to breakouts and infections. Using makeup beyond its expiry is essentially like putting on years’ worth of your own germs and bacteria, back on your face. As for the brushes, you wouldn’t use an unwashed toothbrush, would you? So clean your kikay kit regularly! Keep a list of the shelf lives of your makeup products (expiration period, date you opened) and discard accordingly.
Once in a while, gentle exfoliation can be good, removing dead skin cells on the surface to get rid of dullness and reveal fresh-looking skin. But there is such a thing as too much exfoliation especially when your skin is already tight and dry!
Scrubbing or peeling too often, and using products with harsh granules, can cause irritation and strip away the natural oils that protect your skin. The other downside? Your skin then tries to compensate by producing even more oil. So remember: squeaky clean might be good for dishes and floors, but certainly not for your skin.
4. Taking hot and/or long baths
It’s best to use lukewarm water and keep your shower time short! While it can be relaxing to enjoy a warm soak in the tub or a long hot shower, this can actually damage your skin, especially your face, by stripping away its protective layer, leaving it skin dry and dehydrated.
The same goes for taking prolonged showers, baths, and swimming sessions. The water we use usually contains chemicals used to treat and purify it, which can lead to build-up on your skin. Don’t wait for it to be pruning before you grab a towel!
5. Skipping sunscreen
So you’re just staying in your cubicle all day. Or you’re outdoors, but it’s cloudy and rainy. Or you’re outdoors in the summer, but you’re you’re in the shade, or otherwise using an umbrella, or riding in your car. No need for sunscreen, right? Oh so wrong. UV rays can cause damage even when you don’t directly feel the sun’s scorching rays. Indoors, you have glass windows, certain fluorescent bulbs, and old-school computer monitor screens to watch out for.
Scientists are also recently trying to figure out whether HEV (high energy visible light) from gadgets and LED screens can be damaging to the skin as well, but until there’s solid evidence to back that up, UVA and UVB rays are enough reason to use broad-spectrum protection (SPF 30 or higher, PA++) and antioxidants (serums and vitamin C essence) to help your DNA with damage repair and prevention.
6. Putting hands on face
And phones, too. Both are filled with bacteria and germs that you then transfer to your face, which can cause irritation and a variety of skin problems. Sanitize regularly and keep phone calls to a minimum. Avoid the habit of touching your face unnecessarily, especially when you haven’t washed your hands.
Likewise, resist the urge to mess with pimples or other blemishes. It might be tempting to squeeze or pop a pimple, but that can actually cause more damage. Picking at your acne can spread bacteria and germs in and around the pores, making your breakout worse. It can even leave a scar, so just keep your hands off your face! If you really can’t wait for it to go away on its own, spot-treat with tea tree oil using a cotton ball.
7. Staying up late
It hardly seems possible anymore to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. But there’s no getting around it—your cells need adequate sleep to recover from the beating it took from UV rays and other damaging elements to which you were exposed during the day.
Lack of sleep also causes poor circulation and increased stress levels, which as you probably know means puffy eyebags, dark undereye circles, breakouts, and dull skin. So if you want healthier skin, it’s worth sacrificing some partying or Internet time to hit the sack earlier.
8. Smoking and excessive drinking
Notwithstanding the harm it does to the rest of your body, smoking increases free radicals (which causes cells to function poorly or die) and reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your skin (which accelerates the aging process). The repetitive movement of puckering your lips while smoking can also cause fine lines and wrinkles, in the same way drinking from a straw does.
Speaking of drinking, while the antioxidants in a glass of wine can fight off free radicals, excessive alcohol consumption can only be bad for your skin. It dehydrates and dries out your skin, as well as increases inflammation, causing problems ranging from sagging to larger pores and fine lines.
9. Unmindful eating
If you aren’t mindful of what you eat and drink, no amount of beauty products can help improve your skin. To really take care of your skin, you’ll have to take care of yourself from the inside out.
For instance, too much sugar, dairy, salt, and caffeine affects not only your overall physical health and mental well-being, but also the quality of your skin. Foods rich in sugar and dairy cause inflammation and break down collagen and elastin. Salt and caffeine dehydrate the skin. So stay hydrated with 8-12 glasses of water and up your intake of rainbow food—a balanced diet of proteins mixed with fruits and vegetables of different colors.
10. Forgetting exercise
Just like with unhealthy eating habits, a sedentary and stressful lifestyle will also show on your skin! Make time for a regular fitness regimen, be it working out at home or playing sports. Exercise increases blood flow and improves circulation, leaving your skin smoother and more radiant. When you sweat, your pores dilate and expels built-up oil and dirt better.
Exercise also releases endorphins, which help decrease anxiety and improves sleep quality. If you’re not into rigorous workouts, go for mindfulness activities like yoga. It’s like taking a chill pill that also leaves your skin glowing.
Which bad beauty habits are you guilty of? Well, you’re just 10 good habits away from having healthier, more beautiful skin!
Special thanks to dermatologist Evelyn Gonzaga, M.D. for providing her insights.