There are many things that we can do on a daily basis to help our skin look its best, and there are just as many things that we can do on a daily basis that damage our skin. These “skin sins”, as I like to call them, are totally controllable and preventable. So what are some “skin sins”, and what can you do about them?
Skin Sin #1 – Tanning outside, using a tanning bed, or spending time in the sun without sunscreen on.
Simply put – tanning beds are cancer beds. Furthermore, there is no such thing as a safe tan. A tan is a sign of damage to your skin, and sun exposure always leads to wrinkles and hyperpigmentation eventually. Your time on the beach without sunscreen will catch-up with you in the end. The daily application of sunscreen will not only protect your skin from skin cancer but also from wrinkles and sun spots. There is simply no reason not to apply sunscreen in the morning and reapply as needed throughout the day. And be sure to use enough sunscreen, a pea size drop of sunscreen for your face and neck is not enough use a teaspoon size instead, and don’t forget the backs of your hands, your ears, and your jaw and hairline. Once again, use a teaspoon size blob of sunscreen on your face and another teaspoon size blob for your neck and chest.
Skin Sin #2 – Smoking
There is nothing good about smoking – not for your health and not for your skin. Let me break it down for you how smoking ruins your skin: smoking causes your blood vessels to constrict which means your skin literally starts to asphyxiate – you’re starving your skin cells of oxygen. Since oxygen isn’t getting to your cells in order to help them rebuild they don’t regenerate as quickly as normal and your skin cell turnover slows down. As you continue to smoke you’ll get fine lines around your lips, and your skin will be rougher and thicker not to mention dull in color. The carcinogens in the tobacco smoke degrades collagen and elastin, just as sunlight does, so your skin becomes less elastic and more wrinkled over time. As you smoke you overuse certain muscles in the face leaving you not only with the wrinkles around the mouth, as already mentioned, but with lines between your eyes and crow’s-feet from squinting all the time (see the photo below as an illustration of what this looks like). Additionally, smoking can make undereye circles worse. And if all those bad things that can happen to your skin from smoking aren’t enough to convince you to quit smoking also know that smoking is associated with the development of skin cancer because of the build-up of toxins around your face and mouth and the damage caused to the DNA in the skin tissue from the smoke.
Skin Sin #3 – Over Doing It
It’s important to exfoliate but washing your face with a glycolic wash, then using an exfoliating scrub, and putting Retin-A on top of that is just too much for your skin in the end. When used correctly alpha hydroxy acids, retinols, and other exfoliants help keep your skin soft, smooth, and youthful, but when you over do it with those ingredients you just end up with raw, thin, and irritated skin. Instead of helping your skin you end up hurting it by breaking down the protective barrier on the very top of your skin that all of us need in order help maintain healthy skin. Your skin needs balance so don’t go crazy with the skincare products with the strongest ingredients in them. Finding the right combination of products – a mix of gentle and stronger products – is your best bet for great looking skin.
Skin Sin #4 – You Never Change Your Skincare Products OR You Change Them Too Often
I addressed part of this issue already in my blog is the post entitled How Often Do You Need To Change Your Skincare Products? and in another post called Are You A Skincare Product Hoarder I wrote about why it is bad to run after the newest and seemingly best skincare products instead of sticking with tried and true products. Make sure your skincare products address the state that your skin is in currently – not how your skin was when you were a teenager and you broke out all the time. As the seasons change you will find that you need to change or switch out your skincare products. It is a good idea to reevaluate your skincare regime every few months or at least each time you finish using a certain product. When you run out of a product – ask yourself “do I need more of this or do I need something else instead?”. If you change skincare products too often you’ll never get the full results of the products you are using. Be sure to try a skincare product for about three months before deciding if it indeed is doing what it claims to do. Skincare products that really change how your skin looks and behaves need time to work. Unfortunately there are no overnight cures for real skincare issues.
Skin Sin #5 – Picking at Your Skin or Rubbing Your Face All the Time
I know how tempting it is pick or pop your pimples but if you do you are just making matters worse for your skin. Picking and popping pimples will make the breakouts take longer to heal and could potentially push bacteria deeper into your skin ensuring that your future breakouts are worse. If you constantly touch and rub your face you are simply passing bacteria from area of your body to another and irritating your skin. There is no need for that. Find a way to stop yourself from rubbing your face and popping your pimples.
Sources and Further Reading:
- 12 Ways to Wreck Your Skin – WebMD
- The 7 Biggest Skin Sins – Allure (not available online)
- What’s Your Number-One Skin Sin? – Allure
- 17 Bad Skin Habits – Allure