OK, so these practices may not be DEADLY, but your skin is your body's largest organ and the first thing people notice when they see you so why not take care of it? Your skin is with you all your life, constantly regenerating and changing (for better or worse.) While I may not be Ponce De Leon, I can give you some tips to keep your skin looking healthy and youthful.
Avoid these 7 skin sins and to prevent breakouts and blemishes, minimize hyperpigmentation and scarring, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, help protect against skin cancer, and maintain healthy, glowing skin.
7 - Using Bar Soap on Your Face
Healthy skin is slightly acidic, with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5. This acid mantle on the skin protects it from bacteria and microorganisms.
Most bar soaps have a pH between 9 and 10, which means they are alkaline. Using bar soaps on your face (or your body) raises the skin's pH to an alkaline state which can lead to several side effects. In addition to making your skin a breeding ground for bacteria, bar soap can dry your skin out completely, causing patches and flaking. In reaction to this, you skin actually may start producing more oil to compensate, which can lead to more breakouts and blackheads.
SKIN SAVIOR - Use a facial cleanser followed by a toner to help balance your skin's pH to its natural level. You can also try a neutral pH product line. My pick is SebaMed's face and body cleanser. It has a pH of 5.5 (how about that? The same pH of healthy skin!)
Check out Sebamedusa.com for more info.
6 - Not Cleaning Your Cell Phone.
This may sound strange, but just think about all the germs, bacteria, and gunk that is in your pocket or purse when you store your phone. Or how about what is on your hands while you are texting, e-mailing, surfing the net, or playing Angry Birds while taking the train to work or waiting in line at the grocery store? What happens in the midst of all this when you ACTUALLY GET A PHONE CALL and all this stuff transfers to your cheek and chin? Yuck!
SKIN SAVIOR - Clean your cell phone at least once a week (if not daily!) You can use a commercial cleansing wipe or just slightly dampen a microfiber cloth with a bit of rubbing alcohol and wipe the outside surface of your phone.
5 - Over Exfoliating
Yes, exfoliation is important but it has to be done right and with the right products. Most of the commercial exfoliants and scrubs out there (say bye bye to your apricot scrub!) are way to abrasive and can cause microscopic tears in the skin, eventually leading to scarring and hyperpigmentation (dark spots on the skin).
SKIN SAVIOR - Use a gentle exfoliant, such as Aveda's tourmaline charged exfoliating cleanser. This product has perfectly round jojoba beads that wont tear your skin and will burst under too much pressure, releasing healthy natural oils into the skin. If you already have a cleanser you love, you can try Aveda's liquid exfoliant, available at Aveda.
4 - Under Moisturizing
Using a moisturizer is just as important for those with oily skin as it is for people with dry skin. If you have oily skin and do not moisturize, it can actually lead your skin to produce more oil as it tries to create a protective layer on your face. For dry skin, moisturizer creates a protective barrier and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
SKIN SAVIOR - Use an oil free moisturizer in the morning and before bedtime if you have oily skin. I like Aveda's Tourmaline charged protecting lotion (see below). For dry skin, it is especially important to moisturize at night before bed because your skin does most of its absorbing while you are asleep. Try Estee Lauder's Hydrationist Maximum Moisture Creme available at Esee Lauder.
3 - Picking, Squeezing, or Popping pimples
You already know that you shouldn't do this, but when you see that blemish in the mirror you still reach for it... STOP! Popping your pimples can lead to more breakouts as the pus and bacteria spread over your face. Not to mention, it can lead to scarring and discoloration on the skin as is heals, especially if you use your fingers or nails.
SKIN SAVIOR - I would recommend seeing a licensed esthetician for your extraction needs, but if you must do it yourself, do it the right way! First, use a warm compress or take a hot shower or steam your face over a bowl of hot water to open up the pores. Taking 2 cotton swabs, squeeze the sides around the blemish to get all the gunk out. Immediately exfoliate or use and astringent around the area to keep the bacteria from spreading. If you are having difficulty getting the pimple to pop, it is not ready. Do not force the blemish open as it may lead to scarring. Continue exfoliating the area and try again the next day.
2 - Not Washing off Your Makeup
After a long night of dancing, partying, and who knows what else, the last thing you want to do is remove your makeup and wash your face before bed, but you really should! Your skin does most of its absorbing at night while you are asleep so everything that is in your makeup (have you read the ingredients and do you know what they all are?) plus the sweat and bacteria that may have gotten on your face while you were out are seeping into your pores when you hit the pillow. This can not only lead to breakouts, but possibly bacterial infections and other skin disorders.
SKIN SAVIOR - If using an eye makeup remover, cleansing your face, and moisturizing before bed sounds like too much, you can use a makeup wipe (or 2!) to cleanse off as much product as you can. While this may save your skin on the weekends, I would recommend sticking to the full routine on the rest of your nights. You can spring for the MAC wipes which are$5for 30 sheets at MAC or pick up a drugstore brand for around $5.
1 - Not Wearing Sunscreen
Putting on sunscreen is another step in the morning, but probably one of the most important. As much as we love a golden glow on our skin, the sun's rays cause massive damage to our skin cells, even when it is overcast. Overexposure to the sun can make the skin look and feel leathery as well as age the skin, increasing the appearance of sun spots and wrinkles. The sun's UV rays also contribute to the risk of skin cancer.
SKIN SAVIOR - Use sunscreen every day (rain of shine) to protect your skin from aging, burning, and to reduce your risk of skin cancer. An SPF 15 will protect against 92% of the sun's damaging UV rays. This is good enough for your everyday activity, but you may want to bump it up to SPF 30 if you now you will be out in the sun. Make your life easier by using a product that is a moisturizer and sunscreen in one. I like Aveda's Tourmaline Charged Protecting Lotion available at www.aveda.com.