Everyone has pretty much the same goal when it comes to skincare, which is to achieve that ultimate flawless and smooth skin. We've all heard that a balance of patience, a daily skincare routine, a healthy diet and exercise is the key! Yet, there are lots of things you might be doing to sabotage your efforts -- perhaps without even realizing it.
Here are ten things not to do if you want to achieve the flawless skin of your dreams:
1. Pick At Blemishes
The number one thing that you should NOT do if you want better skin is to pick at your blemishes. Don't think you're alone on this one, though! I write about skincare for CF and I still have a tendency to pick at everything -- my own boyfriend has to remind me not to. (If you're reading this, thank you!)
What you might not know is the why behind this rule. In short, picking makes your skin worse on multiple fronts. First, when you pick, you leave a blemish fully open to bacteria, which can spread to other areas on your skin and create more acne. Second, picking inflames an area which makes scarring more likely. This is the worst because your blemish will either take twice as long to disappear because it's inflamed OR it will be affected by post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation that might stay on your face for good. You don't want to deal with this, trust me.
So even though it's tempting, DON'T pick at your blemishes. Keep your hands off and let them heal on their own.
2. Go to Bed Without Removing Your Makeup
Seems harmless right? You're tired and you'll wash your face as soon as you wake up. You didn't even wear that much makeup anyway! No, no, and no!
Makeup is essentially a chemical mask that covers the skin and if you go to bed without removing all the makeup you wore from the day, it'll end up clogging your pores. There's also a reason why washing one's face is recommended by skincare experts: All the debris, pollution, and bacteria that you encountered unknowingly throughout the day clings onto your makeup. If you skip removing it, you'll only transfer those things to your pillow and allow them to soak in to your face overnight. This can lead to breakouts, dullness, and even premature aging.
Take five minutes and remove your makeup. Trust me on this.
3. Skip Washing Your Face
The next step after removing your makeup before bed -- or doing alone if you don't wear makeup -- is washing your face. Washing your face can be as simple as using a face wash or gentle cleanser (double cleansing, etc. is optional), but it's a crucial step in keeping your face clean and healthy.
Make sure to not use harsh soaps for your face, though -- harsh detergent soaps can rip away the healthy oils, leaving your face tight and flaky. If you're looking for a good cleanser, see our guide to a simple skincare routine.
Washing your face will get rid of the debris from the day and leave your skin ready for regeneration while you sleep!
4. Under-Exfoliate Your Skin
Exfoliating (whether with chemical or physical exfoliants) is an important step in your skincare routine. Not only does it help clear away dead skin cells and leave your skin smooth, but it lightens dark spots and prevents breakouts. Therefore, if you under exfoliate, your skin will not be able to reach its ultimate potential.
5. Over-Exfoliating Your Skin
While under-exfoliating is a no-no, too much exfoliation is equally bad. If you exfoliate too much, you can end up damaging your skin and stripping away the healthy oils that you need. This can lead to redness, tightness, flakes, and a host of other issues. Physical exfoliants in particular are bad for this -- overuse of scrub-type products can cause micro-tears in your skin. Talk about damage!
If you like the feel of a physical exfoliant but are worried about over-exfoliating, one option is a product like Paula's Choice The Unscrub. This unique cleanser has jojoba beads that naturally dissolve as you scrub, making it impossible to over-exfoliate!
6. Skip Wearing Sunscreen Daily
If you're out in the sun for a long period of time or, really, in the sun at all, you need to apply sunscreen daily. Overexposure to the sun will make your skin age faster and will make wrinkles appear quicker. Also the risk of skin cancer increases when you are not protected and out in the sun.
This one is a no-brainer. Use a good sunscreen and use it daily!
7. Don't Drink Enough Water
Water helps your skin look more plump and refreshed. If you're dehydrated, the moisture level of your skin will decrease, resulting in dry and flaky skin. So make sure to keep yourself as hydrated as you can all day long. Your skin will thank you!
8. Skip Out on Sleep
All those all-nighters are horrifically bad for your skin. Lack of sleep is linked to an increase in stress hormones which can cause an inflammatory response in the body.
In addition, sleep is important for keeping your skin hydrated. When you're sleeping your body's hydration rebalances and your skin recovers extra moisture. This not only results in soft skin, but will also prevent your skin from getting fine lines or dark circles! There is a reason why all those skincare products advertise for a well rested appearance.
9. Touch Your Face Constantly
You had to know this one was coming. There are so many germs that we come into contact with daily, from our phones, our laptops, door handles, elevator buttons, public bathrooms on campus, you name it. When you're not at home or don't have time to wash your hands, try to not touch your face too much or you'll transfer the bacteria to your skin.
10. Forgetting to Take Care Of Your Mental and Physical Health
Another one that seems obvious but is so easy to forget. What you take in shows on the outside! Therefore, we have to remember to keep the stress levels at bay, eat healthy, and exercise regularly! The benefits of these things affect our whole lives, but if you want a vain reason to do them, do them for your skin.
What are your skincare no-nos?
Anything you avoid doing for the sake of your skin? How many of these skincare bad habits do you indulge in? Let us know by leaving a comment below!