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Face care: Bad habits that have to go

If you want your skin to glow this season, you have to take proper care of it. Here’s the lowdown on which bad habits need to go and the good ones you can replace them with.

woman popping pimple

We all adopt bad habits in different areas of our lives, and it’s hard to commit to changing those habits until we understand just how damaging they can be. We’ve enlisted the help of dermatologist Dr. Paul Cohen to learn more about which face care habits need to get the boot.

Bad habit #1: Not wearing sunscreen when it’s cloudy

You likely know to put on sunscreen when you head out for a day at the beach, but on cloudy, cold days, as are common this time of year, it’s easy to think you don’t need to worry about it. Unfortunately UVA rays, which cause premature aging and skin cancer, are consistent throughout the year, explains Cohen. Just because you don’t feel the sun burning into your skin doesn’t mean you aren’t building up cumulative sun exposure, which can have damaging effects. To avoid this, Cohen advises using a daily moisturizer with SPF in the morning to keep you protected.

Bad habit #2: Using rich anti-wrinkle cream too soon

We all want to have young, beautiful skin forever, but Cohen cautions against using rich wrinkle creams too early. When in your 20s and 30s, your skin is still prone to acne, so slathering it in a thick cream can block pores and lead to breakouts. Keep wrinkles at bay without overwhelming your pores with a cream such as Neutrogena’s Rapid Tone Repair Moisturizer SPF 30, suggests Cohen. The lighter formula will help even out the look of skin and protect you from sun damage.

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Bad habit #3: Going to tanning beds

When it comes to taking care of your skin, Cohen makes it very clear that the “biggest mistake a woman can make is going to suntanning booths.” He likens what tanning booths do to your skin to what smoking does to your lungs. Tanning beds have been shown to aggravate acne, increase the risk of skin cancer and lead to early aging. So what if you can’t do without that sun-kissed glow? Cohen recommends using self-tanning lotions as safer alternatives.

Bad habit #4: Wearing the wrong makeup

Of course you want to look nicely put together when you head out to work or a party, and makeup is a big part of that process. But the wrong kind of makeup can clog pores and leave you prone to breakouts on a regular basis. To avoid this, Cohen recommends seeking out products that are clearly labelled oil free and non-comedogenic. Products with SPF are also great because they add an extra level of protection.

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Bad habit #5: Not washing off makeup before bed

We’ve all been there: You get home late on a Friday or Saturday night, and you simply can’t be bothered to wash off that pesky makeup. As convenient as it can seem to skip cleansing your face at the time, this isn’t a good idea, advises Cohen. If you really just don’t have the energy to wash your face, then keeping a quick and easy cleansing method such as Neutrogena’s Oil-free Cleansing Wipes by your bed is a great idea, because you can swipe off your makeup and drift off to sleep in moments.

Bad habit #6: Playing with pimples

When you have a glaring pimple on your face, it’s natural to want to make it go away as quickly as possible. If all you have is a simple whitehead, Cohen suggests it can be OK to carefully squeeze out the contents. But if you’re dealing with deep, cystic pimples, playing with them to get them to come to a head can cause scarring. Instead of trying to solve the serious problem of chronic deep pimples on your own, Cohen recommends seeing a dermatologist to get proper treatment.

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