As someone whose skin rebels from time to time, one of my resolutions for the New Year is to make sure I have blemish-free skin. Yes, I realize that some of my skin’s health is dependent on genetics, the older you get the greater the role habits play in the quality of your skin. When I started looking at the habits to change in the new year, I realized some habits were general and overarching. Meaning they were related to my overall health while the others were specifically related to my skincare and makeup habits.
Without further ado, here are some skincare habits I intend to leave behind this new year.
The skin is the largest organ in the body, so as you can imagine your general health is going to be reflected in the quality of your skin. This is why evolutionary good skin is regarded as an indicator of good health, attractiveness and reproductive capacity.
1. Eating too much sugar
Studies have shown a skin between high blood sugar and ageing, and people with high blood sugar appear to be significantly older than those with lower blood sugar levels when experiments were carried out. This is because sugar causes glycation, which essentially means, sugar binds to collagen and elastin which are proteins and building blocks in the skin. Over time, glycation leads to wrinkles, sagging, dark circles under the eyes and may fast-track diabetes.
So, if you want to slow down the ageing process and maintain the health of your skin try to avoid or reduce the amount of refined sugar and artificial sweeteners in your diet. Sugars from fresh fruits and vegetables are protective because they contain anti-inflammatory antioxidants and nutrients which promote beautiful skin and a healthy body.
2. Eating a diet high in processed food
Just like with sugar, eating a processed diet affects your overall health and consequently the health of your skin. There are many types of diets available ranging from the Mediterranean, blood group paleo or even vegan which focus on eating real food close to its natural state. With all the diets available you can experiment and choose what works best for you. The only condition is to ensure that the diet you use contains minimally processed food.
3. Not getting enough sleep
I have always hated the phrase ‘’ I will sleep when I die‘’.It strikes me as being so arrogant we think we can sidestep the requirements nature has put in place for our health and well being. Getting adequate sleep is one of those things.
For optimal health on average adults need at least 8 hours of sleep daily and women need slightly more. However, with modern life, stress and lights from mobile phones etc getting a full REM sleep is difficult despite the best of intentions. This lack of sleep takes a toll on the skin causing puffiness and wrinkles all of which can accelerate the ageing process. So try to aim for at least 7 hours of sleep a day. This can be facilitated by putting your electronic appliances away at least one hour before you sleep and having a sleep ritual which helps you wind down.
We know that skincare is important, however as regular human beings we sometimes fall short and then wonder why our skin seems to hate us or outright rebel. Personally, i know I have some bad habits which contribute to my skin issues and these are the ones I think have the most impact.
4. Picking your face AKA hand on face syndrome
If we were giving medals for the worst skincare habit this would take the gold as the absolute worst. There are many reasons why your acne is a bad idea which include the fact it could spread infection and cause hyperpigmentation, and scarring. Although most pigmentation and scarring may heal, over time repeated picking may cause deeper pigmentation, cause pockmarks, raised scars and even more breakouts if a pimple ruptures below the surface of the skin.
Face picking is a particular problem of mine and despite having sporadic acne my jawline and neck are riddled with hyperpigmentation. After a visit to a dermatologist, I was told my dark spots were becoming callused and any more picking would lead to raised scars. These raised scars would be much more difficult to heal, so my resolution for the year is to STOP touching my face.
So if you see a pimple or blackhead do not pick it! Save the picking to professionals who have the tools and expertise.
5. Dirty makeup brushes
For regular makeup wearers, dirty makeup brushes are a part of life. Keeping them clean on the other hand can be a pain but should be regarded as part of your skincare regimen. If makeup brushes are not cleaned regularly or properly, they become a breeding ground for bacteria which can lead to infection, damage and subsequent damage to the skin. Apart from the damage to your skin, the build-up of dirt and makeup on brushes causes damage to the brushes. This is worse for brushes with natural hair bristles
To prevent this from happening to ensure you sanitize your brushes daily with brush wipes or spray disinfectants between deep cleans. Deep clean and wash at least weekly for synthetic brushes and less often for natural brushes. I like to wash my brushes with a gentle shampoo or use a special brush soap for my more expensive brushes.
6. Too much sun and not using enough sunscreen
I am sure that in this time and age no one is actually tanning on purpose? If they are then I am at a loss.
However for those who know to avoid the harmful effects of the sun one of the major problems is not using the recommended amount of sunscreen. Especially when using a higher value SPF which gives a false sense of security. Another challenge is that most people reapply sunscreen less frequently than is recommended.
For people with darker skin tones, there is a tendency to believe that sunscreen is not necessary.
For the record it is.
Most signs of ageing are either caused by exposure to UV rays or aggravated excessive exposure to sunlight. So even if you are indoors all day you still need to wear sunscreen because windows are not protective
So make sure you apply sunscreen every day and reapply as often as recommended to prevent wrinkles, sunburns, and maybe even skin cancer.
7. Not exfoliating or over-exfoliating
Exfoliation is extremely important especially as you get older. Because one of the challenges of ageing is that skin cell turnover decreases, meaning your skin does not replace its cells as quickly compared to when you were younger. This means that you need regular exfoliation to keep your skin in tip-top shape, as it sloughs off dead skin cells and encourages new ones to generate. So if you do not exfoliate regularly your skin is likely to look dull and may have texture issues. In more extreme cases it may cause blockage, leading to acne or blackheads.
With the growing popularity and knowledge of the benefits of exfoliation, the downside is people tend to overdo it. They see the benefits and think if doing this once is good then doing it multiple times is better.
No, it’s not. Over exfoliation can damage the skin leading to redness, irritation and excessive dryness. To avoid this stick with chemical exfoliation if you have sensitive skin and reduce the frequency of use. This is the same if you use scrubs, use them once a week and be gentle.
8. Leaving Your Makeup on Overnight
This a habit which tends to be more common with younger women who may be partying late and come home tired. Don’t do it, no matter how tired you are, take off your makeup. This is the one time I give makeup wipes a pass. If you are too tired to do your full cleansing routine a wipe is better than nothing at all. #
I avoid this by taking off my makeup as soon as I get home. That way it is out of the way and I am less likely to forget. This equals fewer breakouts and increases the likely hood of glowing skin.
9. Not cleaning your phone
Smartphones have become an essential part of normal life and they come with us everywhere. They are in our bags, on counters everywhere, which means they collect dirt and germs. They can then transfer all of this to your face causing acne. The use of touch screens has led to a rise in ”acne mechanica ” from the phone’s constant contact with your temples, cheeks and chin. To prevent this from happening you need to get into the habit of wiping down your phone regularly or using a headset so it does not come in contact with your face.
These are some of the skincare habits I intend to leave behind for great skin in 2019. Are any of these true for you? Or are there any habits I may have missed that you intend to break?
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