7 Bad Skin Habits to Stop ASAP

Struggling with skin issues and not quite sure why? You may be surprised to learn that some of your seemingly harmless habits (or lack thereof) could be contributing to your skin conditions.

If you’re doing any of the below… STOP! Seriously. The right beauty products are only one part of the equation when it comes to maintaining a healthy complexion.

1. Not cleansing before bed

Let’s face it;) It can be tempting to skip an extensive nighttime routine every so often, but if there’s one thing you should never skip, it’s washing your face. Even if you haven’t put on any makeup that day, you still need to cleanse the oil and grime that naturally builds up over the course of the day. If you skip your cleansing routine once in a blue moon, you may be able to get away with it, but if you’re in the habit of sleeping without cleaning, you’ll start to see the impact on your skin in the form of clogged pores and breakouts.

Use a gentle face wash before bed with hydrating ingredients. If you’re a repeat offender, keep some cleansing wipes on your bedside table for those nights where you can’t drag yourself to the sink just so long as you don’t get in the habit of using only wipes.

2. Not using enough (or any) sunscreen

Skipping sunscreen is a cardinal sin in the skincare world. Exposing unprotected skin to the sun’s UV rays can lead to sun damage, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, premature aging, and the most common type of all cancers, skin cancer. And you don’t just need to apply on days when the sun is shining, because 80% of UV rays can still filter through to your skin on a cloudy day.

Apply sunscreen with broad spectrum SPF every day to protect yourself from both UVA and UVB rays. Don’t skimp on the amount either if you want to stay fully protected. Use at least half a teaspoon for your face alone and the equivalent of a shot glass on the rest of the body. Planning to be outside all day? Reapply every 2 hours or more often if you sweat or are in the water.

3. Interfering with pimples

We know, we know. It’s tempting to try to tackle that pesky pimple yourself, but as momentarily satisfying as popping it may feel, it can also lead to infections and long-lasting scars. If you spot a blemish brewing, reach for a spot treatment product with active ingredients like Salicylic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide and keep your hands off!

4. Over Exfoliating

Over exfoliating is another common bad skin habit to avoid, especially if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin. Rubbing your face with harsh scrubs every day can cause microscopic tears and lead to irritation and excess sebum production. Exfoliating two to three times a week as needed with a gentle exfoliant is enough to help slough away dead skin. Remember the goal is glowing, not raw.

5. Smoking

We all know smoking is bad for you, but do you know just how bad it is for your skin? Smoking can lead to premature wrinkles and sagging skin, and not just on your face… In fact next to age, smoking is the strongest predictor of facial wrinkling in men and women! Nicotine narrows blood vessels and reduces blood flow to the skin, resulting in a decreased supply of vital oxygen and nutrients that results not just in wrinkles, but also in delayed wound healing. The chemicals and even the heat from tobacco smoke further break down the skin’s collagen and elastin fibers, and even though it’s a skin-related autoimmune disorder, your risk for certain skin conditions like psoriasis goes up as well.

6. Using dirty makeup brushes

This is another bad skincare habit that’s easy to overlook at first, but it can wreak havoc on your skin in the long run. Just cleaning your makeup tools regularly (and your phone!) will help prevent the spread of bacteria from dirty brushes (and phones!) to your skin.

The cleaner you keep your brushes, the better it is for your skin, which is why it’s best to clean concealer, foundation, and powder brushes and sponges weekly and wash all other beauty tools every two to three weeks. You can use a gentle shampoo and make sure to let them dry overnight before reusing.

7. Not getting enough sleep

Feeling sleep deprived? A series of late nights will soon show up on your face. Your body works hard to repair itself while you snooze, so missing out on beauty sleep will do more than just wreak havoc on your sanity and general health and well being: not getting enough sleep slows down cellular turnover and wound healing, adversely impacts barrier function and lowers the skin’s pH, and quickly results in skin that looks dull, blotchy, and irritated. Try to get 7-8 hours every night and you’ll quickly see that glow return.