As every woman knows, your skin is a very delicate thing, and it seems like you’re constantly waging a war to correct something. Perhaps you’re prone to blemishes when you get majorly stressed out and start eating poorly; perhaps you need to apply moisturizer 10 times a day in winter because your skin just gets so, so dry. Perhaps your skin just doesn’t glow the way you wish it would, despite your healthy diet. And, while make-up like foundation and highlighter can definitely help create the illusion of a flawless face, let’s be honest – every woman wants to look flawless when she washes off all her make-up too. Skin is really important – so why on earth do women make so many mistakes when it comes to taking care of it?
Some of the most common skin mistakes are things that you know you probably should stop doing, but you just can’t seem to. Others are things you may not have even imagined affected your skin, but they do – in a major way. To every woman out there who wants to wake up with flawless skin – this one’s for you.
Here are 15 of the worst things you can do to your skin – so stop already!
15. Popping your blemishes
I mean, this one is kind of a no brainer. You know that you’re really, really not supposed to pop your blemishes – but a large majority of people do it anyway, because it’s kind of satisfying, and it’s a relief to get that angry blemish looking a little less visible. However, it’s just a big no-no, primarily because of the way most people do it. If you’re truly suffering from a painful blemish and you think you need it popped, seeing a medical professional is the way to go. When you try to do it at home, no matter how much you wash your hands, you’re probably spreading bacteria, and damaging your skin with such force may even lead to scarring in the mean-time – plus, all that inflammation and trauma definitely slows down your blemish’s healing process. We know it’s hard – but you really just need to try to wait out your blemish’s life span rather than trying to kill it with force.
14. Too much screen time
Most people know that spending too much time staring at screens, whether on your smart phone or computer, isn’t great for you. However, while many will know that staring at screens to close to bed time may interfere with your sleep schedule, you may not know that it can be harmful to your skin as well. It turns out that monitors emit a small amount of UV light, which can actually damage the health of your skin by affecting the collagen stores in your face and potentially causing premature aging. Um…yikes! Obviously no one is going to give up all their screens forever – in this world, that’s pretty much impossible – but if you find yourself spending several hours a night glued to your screen, it may be time to consider cutting back a bit, for the health of your skin if nothing else. Plus, I mean, think of how good your selfies would look if your canvas was flawless?
13. Eating too much sugar
Many women know that eating a healthy diet will often make your skin look fantastic as well, while a diet of junk food often manifests all over your face. However, one of the biggest culprits – and something that most junk food is jam packed with – is sugar. You see, if you consume large amounts of processed sugar, the collagen in your face actually stiffens a bit – which means you’re far more prone to wrinkles, as collagen is what keeps your skin looking spongy and youthful. Not to mention, sugar can cause inflammation – which can lead to blemish outbreaks, which many women have experienced after a junk food binge. We’re definitely not saying you need to give up every indulgence in your diet, but if you swap some of those sugary treats for vitamin-packed fruits and vegetables, your skin will start to glow a lot more – and who doesn’t want that?
12. Not cleansing properly
Every woman has heard that you’re never, ever supposed to fall asleep with your make-up on, and it’s pretty easy to see why – you essentially have a whole layer over your regular skin, preventing it from breathing and resting at night. However, if your solution is just to wipe off your make-up quickly and hop into bed, you’re still not doing your skin any favours. It’s important to wipe off make-up at the end of a long day, yes, but you also want to cleanse your skin from all the icky things you encounter just going about your everyday life – all that air pollution in the city. Let’s face it – if you have time to scroll through your Instagram for a half hour before bed, you have five minutes to properly cleanse your face. Get some type of cleansing product that works for your skin tone and make sure you’re going to bed with fresh, clean skin.
11. Washing your face way too much
Okay, we know – first you’re not supposed to skip the cleansing step, then you’re not supposed to cleanse too much? Like all things in life, you shouldn’t take your skincare to extremes – either far end of the spectrum will damage your skin’s health. Particularly if you struggle with blemishes or oily skin, it may be tempting to just wash and wash and wash in an attempt to get it squeaky clean. However, cleansing your skin way too much can actually majorly dry it out, which leads to your skin trying to produce even more oil to make up for it – so, really, you’re just making things even worse for yourself! You absolutely need to cleanse your skin, but if you find yourself washing it five times a day, you need to cut back a little – you may be scrubbing off all the make-up and pollutants, but you’re also scrubbing away your skin’s natural oils that it needs.
10. Not sleeping enough
In this day and age, it seems like getting enough sleep is a constant struggle – everyone has crazy busy schedules and it can be so tempting to sacrifice sleep in order to get everything done. However, while you might know that not getting enough sleep has an effect on your mental state and productivity throughout the day, did you know that it actually has a huge impact on your skin as well? I mean, they do call it beauty sleep for a reason! Not getting enough sleep can trigger a ton of potential skin issues, from increased cortisol production (which has an impact on collagen production, making your skin more prone to wrinkles), and also decreased growth hormone production (which is a key factor in helping your skin to repair its cells while you’re snoozing). You should be getting adequate sleep for many health reasons, but if you care about your skin, that’s an added incentive to get to bed early.
9. Drinking way too much alcohol
Many women enjoy having a few cocktails or a few glasses of wine from time to time, but you need to be careful about your alcohol consumption if you’re concerned about the health of your skin. First of all, alcohol is a diuretic – which means that, with every glass you sip, you’re drying your skin out more and more, and that’s just no good. Secondly, it’s an inflammatory substance, which can lead to everything from droopy skin over time to blemishes because your liver is too busy getting rid of all the alcohol toxins to help make your skin glow. And, as if that weren’t enough, large amounts of alcohol can jeopardize the vitamin A in your skin, which means your cells renew far slower and you lose a lot of general brightness in your skin. Uh… so basically, if you want to look naturally flawless, you absolutely need to limit your alcohol consumption.
8. Not drinking enough water
Staying properly hydrated is super important for the overall function of your body – everything just works better and more efficiently if you’re hydrated. Skin is no exception. While water isn’t a miracle cure that will automatically get rid of every blemish overnight, if you’re drinking adequate water on a daily basis, you’ll likely see an improvement in your skin. Everyone’s skin type is different, so people with naturally dry skin may still experience dryness, even if they’re properly hydrated, but trust us – you’ll see a difference. In comparison to all the expensive creams and skincare products out there, water is incredibly cheap – so really, what do you have to lose? Make sure you’re staying hydrated and guzzling enough water day after day and your skin will definitely thank you. Just remember to be patient – you probably won’t see results overnight, but with time, you’ll almost certainly notice an improvement in your skin.
7. Lighting Up
Smoking is terrible for your health in general, but while the majority of damage is done to your insides, you can see the damage of smoking on your face – and it’s not pretty. First of all, tobacco smoke is absolutely filled with toxins that wreak havoc on your skin, and nicotine in particular leads to your blood vessels narrowing, which in turn means your skin isn’t getting the same amount of blood supply pumping to it. The result of all those toxins and damaging effects are that your skin will start to prematurely wrinkle and sag – to sum it up, smoking makes you look older, and makes your skin look pretty awful. It’s certainly not easy to drop the cigarettes cold turkey but if you find yourself constantly testing out anti-ageing skincare products in an attempt to get your youthful glow back, you may be more successful if you just skip the smoking.
Okay, there’s no need to sugarcoat this one – tanning is so, so horrible for your skin. Yes, everyone needs vitamin D from the sunshine, but there is absolutely no reason to be frying yourself to a crisp as if your skin were bacon. And while tanning outdoors to an extreme degree is terrible, the absolute worst thing you could do is lay in a tanning bed. You may get a lovely bronze glow initially, but in the long run, your tanning obsession leads to things like sun spots, sagging, wrinkles, and it majorly increases your chance of getting melanoma. If you absolutely need a bit of a glow and feel you’re just too fair, there are tons of fantastic products out there from self-tanning lotions to bronzers that can give you the desired result without totally frying your skin. In this case, you need to think long term – while your skin might initially bounce back and just look glowing and gorgeous, in time, all that tanning wreaks major havoc.
Exfoliating is a tricky thing. On the one hand, it can be great to get rid of those dead, dry skin cells and put your best face forward. On the other hand, we’ve all read horror stories of abrasive exfoliants totally tearing up your skin. So, what’s a girl to do? Well, it’s okay to exfoliate – but you need to do so in moderation, and you need to use a very gentle exfoliating product. Anything with huge exfoliating chunks is a no no, as it can very easily cause micro-tears in the delicate skin of your face. While the right frequency and products will depend a lot on your skin type and even the climate you live in, you may not want to incorporate exfoliating into your skincare routine every single day – give your skin a bit of time to rest between exfoliating sessions and it’ll thank you by looking its best.
4. Using the same products year-round
In comparison to some of the other behaviours on this list, this one isn’t quite as damaging to your skin – but it’s still a no no if you want your skin looking flawless. Each season has its unique effect on the skin, so you’ll want to switch up your routine seasonally. For example, in the winter, many people get much dryer skin – so you really want to amp up the moisturizing and hydrating products. In summer, everything gets humid and the sun is out for hours and hours, so you’ll want lightweight products that don’t sit as heavily on your skin, and you’ll want to make sure you’re incorporating sunscreen (although you should be wearing that daily anyway). If you have certain skincare products that you absolutely adore, you don’t need to give them up – it’s just a matter of switching out some of the more occasional steps to react to the season.
3. Tugging at the skin around your eye
This is one that pretty much every woman is guilty of. Whether you’re applying your eyeliner and trying to get the perfect cat eye or really rubbing to get that smoky eye washed off, we often treat the skin around our eyes the same way we’d treat the skin on the rest of our face – but the skin around our eyes is actually the most delicate, thin skin on your face, which means you need to treat it with a bit more TLC. If you manhandle the delicate skin near your eyes, you’re going to cause premature wrinkles and loosen the elasticity and collagen in that area. It’s just a no no. So, make sure to never tug the skin around your eyes, and even when applying cream there, gently dab it rather than rubbing it in. If you treat your skin there properly, you’ll be able to avoid those eye-wrinkles and sagging much more easily.
2. Not wearing sunscreen
Sunscreen may not immediately make your skin look better the way that foundation does, but trust us – you need to be wearing it! Every day! Seriously! Protecting your skin from damaging UV rays helps prevent truly terrifying things like melanoma, but even on a more vanity-driven level, you need to be rocking sunscreen to avoid wrinkles, sagging, drooping and sun spots. Honestly, it takes about thirty seconds to get sunscreen on every day, and thanks to the absolutely massive beauty and skincare industry, there are even many moisturizers with sunscreen already incorporated, which means you don’t even have to add an extra step. The point is – there is no excuse to not be wearing sunscreen. If you don’t have any in your bathroom right now, run out and get some – we’ll wait. It’s one of the single best things you can do to protect your skin on a daily basis.
1. Talking on the phone for hours
Okay, let’s face it – your smart phone is disgusting. You bring it everywhere, you put it down on questionable surfaces that you would never lay your face on, and you’re always touching it after your hands have been touching other things. That thing is pretty packed with germs and bacteria and all kinds of nasty things. So if you’re the type of person who likes to talk on the phone for hours and hours with your BFF, well, constantly keeping all that grime near your jaw and cheek may very likely lead to breakouts in the long run. We’re not saying you can never talk on the phone – that would be ridiculous – but if you’ve been experiencing breakouts on specific parts of your face, the parts where your smart phone hovers when you chat, that may be a sign to decrease your phone time in order to ensure your skin is looking flawless.
Sources: refinery29.com, marieclaire.com