Just as it’s important to develop healthy eating, exercise and hygiene habits, it’s also important to maintain good skin care habits.
Taking care of your skin goes beyond simple hygiene. How you care for your skin determines how it looks with age, how much acne you may have and whether or not you might develop skin cancer. If you currently partake in any of the bad beauty habits listed below, it’s time to make a change. Helen Kaporis, DO, FAAD, Preventive and Cosmetic Dermatologist at Cooper Clinic, explains some of the most common bad beauty habits and how to break them.
Not Protecting Your Skin from Sun Damage
Not properly protecting your skin against UV radiation is the worst beauty habit you can have. UV radiation increases your risk of developing pre-cancers and cancers, and even breaks down collagen, which results in premature aging.
Break this bad beauty habit by choosing a daily sunblock to wear consistently–it must be higher than SPF 30 to be beneficial. “For ease of use and to reduce the number of products you put on your face every day, look for a moisturizer with SPF in it, such as the Elta MD Daily SPF Lotion,” said Dr. Kaporis. “You can also find tinted daily moisturizers to give yourself a quick glow when you’re crunched for time.”
Reverse photo aging and photo damage by using a retinol or retinoid cream every evening. This will help reduce fine lines and even out pigment and skin tone.
Remember that UV rays are present even on cloudy days, so sun protection is necessary every day. Apply sunblock on the face, neck, chest, back of hands and other areas frequently exposed to the sun. You can also get sun damage from indoor tanning, so skip the UV tanning beds and tanning booths and opt for tanning lotion or spray tans instead.
Wearing Old Makeup and Not Cleaning Your Cosmetic Brushes
Oil from the skin, dirt, bacteria and dead skin cells get trapped in bristles of makeup brushes and in your makeup. These irritants can clog your pores, leading to an acne breakout, folliculitis (inflammation of hair follicles) or infection. To help prevent the spread of bacteria, use one-time-use makeup applicators or sponges.
To clean your makeup brushes, use a daily brush cleaner or gentle baby shampoo to wash the bristles of the brush. Leave them on a lint-free towel to dry.
In order to prevent acne or infection from using old makeup, throw away your makeup and purchase fresh makeup every three to six months.
While it’s nice to share, sharing makeup with others is an easy way to spread infection. Sharing cosmetic products is especially dangerous when it comes to eye makeup. Eye infections such as pink eye can easily spread from one person to another via the makeup applicator.
Not Washing Your Face or Taking Off Makeup at Night
Throughout the day your face accumulates bacteria, oil, dirt and free radicals that can spread infection. “If you’re too tired after a long day to spend a few minutes washing your face at night, keep makeup removal wipes by your nightstand to quickly clean your face before bed,” said Dr. Kaporis. “In the morning, splash some cold water on your face to refresh and wake up your skin.”
Using the Wrong Kind of Face Wash
Your skin type determines the type of face wash you should use. A benzoyl peroxide wash is ideal for oily skin, whereas a salicylic acid wash is best for acne-prone skin. Steer clear of cleansers with exfoliating beads in them as they can irritate your skin. “The face wash you use doesn’t have to be expensive,” explained Dr. Kaporis. “Look for a mild, gentle cleanser like Cerave or Elta MD Gentle Enzyme Cleanser.”
Not Showering After Exercising or Sweating
If you work out outdoors, not showering after you exercise isn’t a huge issue. However, when you work out in a gym, showering after a sweat session is very important. Gyms can harbor bacteria and fungal cells that cause infection, so take a few minutes to jump in the shower before you head home after your workout.
Using a Dull Razor
A dull razor irritates the skin, compromising the skin’s ability to serve as a protective barrier for your body. The general recommendation is to shave with a new razor or blade every three to four shaves (that’s about once a week!). If the thought of frequent razor replacement sounds like a hassle, remember you don’t have to use expensive razors. Disposable razors work well if you are changing them out every week. Or, take a look online to find razors and shaving clubs that provide blades at reasonable prices.
It’s also important to remember to store your razor in a dry, well-lit area, rather than in the shower where moisture can harbor bacteria.
Failing to See a Dermatologist About Skin Problems
If you experience any trouble with your skin, it’s always best to see a dermatologist sooner rather than later. Untreated acne or rashes can leave scars. If you notice irritated, tender, or itchy skin, or if you notice changes in your skin or a growth or mole on your skin, make an appointment with your dermatologist.
For more information about Cooper Clinic’s Preventive and Cosmetic Dermatology services, visit cooperclinicdermatology.com or call 972.560.6360.