10 Bad Habits You Never Knew Ruin Your Skin
October 10, 2021
Many of us have learned the basics of a good skincare routine: we wash our face, use cleansers and moisturizers, apply sunscreen, and try not to stay in the sun for too long. Unfortunately, lots of things about modern life breed habits that can easily subvert your efforts and ruin your skin. Yes, even though you think you are doing everything to keep your skin clean and young.
Fortunately, we are here to tackle this new challenge and help you become more aware of yourself and your habits. The frantic rhythm of modern life makes us adopt a few basic habits and hope they will be enough. But God – or the Devil – is often in the details. Here are some of the harmful habits that you should start shaking off!
Trying Too Many Products
Like trying too many skincare products; the overwhelming variety of tempting new items makes it difficult to settle on a few reliable ones. But product indecisiveness has detrimental effects. It does not allow the products to produce long-term effects. It can overtax the skin and clog up pores with toxic mixes of multiple creams and cleansers. It’s much better to settle into a faithful relationship with a limited range of products you trust and use them routinely. Find a trustworthy brand, and stick with it to see positive results.
Another feature of modern life is technological advances and synthetic products. One way to reduce the number of items to choose from is to avoid chemical-based products. Pressured by fashion into certain standards of appearance, we apply various chemical-based products to our hair and beards – but what about the skin underneath? You may not see it, but all those chemicals leave a residue that might ruin your skin. When showering, wash your hair thoroughly, when applying sprays or oils, protect your face with towels. Best of all, opt for natural-based products.
Another way in which technology contributes to skin problems is your smartphone. We are on the phone all the time. Touching it with our hands and fingers and pressing it to our face. But the phone screen is actually one of the dirtiest surfaces around you. Most of us never really clean it, while using it in all possible circumstances, regardless of hygiene. The screen is a veritable Petri dish of bacteria, accumulating and holding an entire micro-world of dirt. When we touch our face as we text and talk, we are transferring that dirt to our skin. Best to use earphones, your speaker, and clean your screen every now and then.
In fact, whether you are an addicted phone user or not, touching your face throughout the day is not a good idea if you care about your skin. Even if you live in a parallel alternate-history universe where smartphones do not exist (The horror!), our hands touch way too many surfaces throughout the day. Whether you are tired or have simply developed a nervous habit – it is best to avoid using your face as a landing pad for the amazing variety of dirt and bacteria all around you. Let the germs sweat a bit before they ruin your skin.
Speaking of sweat. Neglecting to shower after a workout is guaranteed to cause skin problems. It’s easy to skin a shower after you’ve exhausted yourself in the gym. Plus, your time is limited. We barely have time to get to the gym or the treadmill at home – and we think that occasionally neglecting to shower is no big deal. But sweat that isn’t washed away coats the skin in a cloying film and clogs the pores, creating a moist environment for bacteria to thrive. If you don’t want major breakouts, make sure to shower every time.
The converse problem of not showering enough is washing too often or too intensely. Clean skin doesn’t mean scrubbing off everything that makes it function. Skin is not just a layer of leather stretched over your body. Your skin is a complex organ and washing it too much may strip it of oils and damage structures that are vital for its health. Be gentler on your skin by washing with lukewarm, not steaming hot water, don’t scrub it too hard, and don’t go crazy on the cleanser and exfoliator.
It’s best to avoid overdoing things in general. We can tend to go overboard, but we need to learn to be mindful and more in control. Whatever you do, look for a reasonable balance, not excess. Too many showers, too many skin or hair products, too much phone, too much shampoo which leaves a residue, water that is too hot, alcohol-based cleansers which are too intense, chemical products applied to sensitive skin – these are all habits which contribute to skin irritation. Avoid overdoing, it’s all about having the right balance. Be mindful and ask yourself – is this too much?
Hygiene is generally one of our main weaknesses. How often do you change your sheets and pillowcases? Are you using the same washcloth over and over again to clean your face? In the gym, do you put your towel on surfaces where other people have just been sweating for an hour? Burying your face in a pillow already means more contact between your skin with another surface which tends to accumulate dirt of all kinds, especially if you are not the only person using it.
You’d be surprised, but your diet could also be one of those habits that might ruin your skin. People tend to overeat, or worse, skip meals altogether. Neither of these is good for the skin. Skin, like the rest of your body, needs regular, reasonable meals to stay healthy. Unreasonable eating schedules, undereating, and overeating can wreak havoc with your body, which in turn affects your skin. Too much sugar, caffeine, or alcohol dehydrates the body – and the skin. Remember, your skin is what – and how – you eat!
To round out this list of the ten cardinal sins of skin hygiene, it is important to point out that among the chief causes of bad habits that might ruin your skin, is our lack of attention, which in turn is the result of the lack of time. It is, in fact, often considered requisite not to have the time. As a result, one of the things we have no time for is thinking. We skip not only meals and showers, we skip the time to think things through. One of the things your dry, red, flaky skin is telling you is stop: be mindful.