Although you take care of your skin every day, you may be surprised to learn that some of your habits are harming your skin. Here are ten things that you may be doing that can harm your skin.
Your skin is your body’s single largest organ. It protects your body against bacteria and other environmental dangers. The skin has nerve endings that allow you to feel so you will pull away from too hot or sharp things. Sweat glands control your body temperature.
Plus, skin cells absorb sunlight and turn it into vitamin D to strengthen your bones. Your skin is a good indicator of your overall health. It alerts you to potential health problems with rashes, allergies, weird colorings, or infections. These signs indicate you may have an illness like cancer, lupus, or liver disease.
Ten habits that could be harming your skin
It only makes sense to take good care of your skin, but maybe there are things you’re doing that you didn’t realize could harm your skin. Here are everyday habits that can damage your skin.
Giving yourself a good scrub in extra warm water may have been acceptable when you were a kid, but one study found that being exposed to hot water while bathing can, over time, damage your skin barrier. Hot showers damage the keratin cells located in the outer layer of your skin. Damaged cells stop your skin from being able to lock in moisture, causing it to dry out.
This routine makes your skin look older and makes it susceptible to rashes, scratches, and scarring. It may be hard at first to get used to a lower temperature of water for your bath or shower. Over time you’ll adapt to more tepid temps so that you aren’t damaging your skin. Avoid hard scrubbing with brushes or loofah sponges. Go easy on your skin. It needs to last a long time.
2 – Stress
You know that stress isn’t healthy for your brain and heart, but stress is also harmful to your skin. Stress releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline throughout your body. These hormones cause your skin glands to react by producing more oil. The extra oil causes breakouts and pimples. Stress can also cause the following issues:
- Fever blisters
Find ways to lower stress, such as exercise, yoga, or journaling. Eat a healthy diet with lots of B vitamins and proteins to reduce your stress levels. Release tension naturally by getting outside at least two hours every day.
3 – Insomnia
The CDC recommends that adults get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Getting less than your usual amount of sleep causes your skin to age prematurely. This is because the loss of sleep causes your body to produce cortisol, which triggers inflammation. Inflammation breaks down proteins that keep your skin looking smooth and wrinkle-free. That’s why you look puffy when you don’t sleep well. Lack of sleep also reduces oxygen levels, so your skin looks blotchy and pale.
Create a regular bedtime routine to help you sleep better. Avoid caffeine or alcohol after dinner since they can keep you from sleeping all night. Make sure your room is the right temperature and dark enough. If you can’t sleep, try a natural remedy like Melatonin. It’s non-habit forming and won’t give you weird dreams.
4 – Not enough fluids
A great way to care for your skin is to stay hydrated. Studies show that adult women should drink approximately 2 to 2.7 liters of fluids per day, while adult men should consume 2.5 to 3.7 liters of fluid per day. Your skin holds in moisture. If you’re not getting enough fluids per day, your skin will become rough, dry, and lose its elasticity. Dehydrated skin makes your skin itch and looks dull. Dry skin will cause a lack of skin tone and show more wrinkles and lines. Fortunately, you can easily change your habits to improve your skin. The more water you drink, the younger your skin will look and feel. Keep a water bottle with you on errands. Avoid caffeinated drinks since they can dehydrate your skin.
5 – Eating processed food
Junk food like burgers, fries, and sweets has a high glycemic index level. This spike triggers skin breakouts as well as raises your blood sugar levels. Fast food contains a lot of fat and salt, which affect your skin. Excess sugar, salt, and fat in your diet break down collagen and elastin of your skin. It makes your skin lose its firmness, so you’ll end up with sagging and wrinkles. Instead of eating processed foods, choose foods such as
- Fresh fruits
- Fresh veggies
- Lean protein foods like beans, low-fat cheeses, or Greek yogurt
- Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta
- Nuts and seeds
6 – Haircare products
You probably use a variety of hair care products every day without thinking about the effect they could be having on your skin. Hair products that contain ingredients that clog the pores around your hairline, back of your neck, or forehead causing little breakouts or pimples. If you notice bumps in these areas, it may be time to get new hair products. Once you stop using a product, it can take a couple of weeks to clear up your skin. Here is a list of just some major culprits in hair care products that cause outbreaks and pimples.
- Argan oil
- Coconut oil
- Palm oil
- Hemp seed oil
- Almond oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Cocoa butter
- Cottonseed oil
- Soybean oils
- Shea butter
- Oleyl alcohol
- Isodecyl oleate
- Algae extract
- Isopropyl myristate
- Isopropyl palmitate
- Butyl stearate
7 – Pouty face selfies
It seems harmless to pose for a selfie with a little pout. Everyone does it, but facial expressions like this can contribute to wrinkles around your mouth and lips. The wrinkles around our mouth are called perioral wrinkles. These wrinkles grow more profound as you age, especially in women.
This is because the skin around your mouth has fewer sebaceous glands, sweat glands, and blood vessels, so there’s less circulation in these areas, which leads to wrinkles. The muscles in this area also have more traction because they’re attached to your skin’s middle layer, which causes wrinkles. Other facial expressions that lead to wrinkles include
- Puckering to sip from a straw
- Frowning: This facial expression uses the most muscles and causes the worst wrinkles.
- Raised eyebrows: Surprised looks cause forehead lines.
- Pouting: Puckering up makes wrinkles around your lips.
- Smiling too big: Smiling and laughing contribute to crows’ feet.
- Squinting: If you’re in the sun and continuously blink, you’ll have crow’s feet and forehead wrinkles and lip wrinkles.
8 – Not reading the ingredients in your skin products
When you see a new skin product, always check the ingredients. Silicone-based products clog your pores, causing the collagen to break down and enlarge your pores. They will also make your skin oily or look ruddy. Be picky about what you put on your skin. Read labels. You may need to pay extra money to get a better quality product, but your skin is worth the additional cost.
9 – Dirty cell phone
You carry your cell phone around with you to the dirtiest places like your bathroom and kitchen. When you spend a long time on your cell phone, you transfer the bacteria and other dirt from your phone to your face. It’s no wonder that this habit harms your skin. Try to wipe down your phone often with antibacterial wipes. Also, avoid taking your phone into your bathroom where it can pick up E.coli and other bacteria that can not only make your face break out but also make you sick.
10 – Dirty sunglasses
You probably haven’t thought about cleaning those sunglasses you’ve worn for the past year. Bacteria and dirt land on your sunglasses, just like your car windshield. These things can get on your skin and into the pores of your nose or around your eyes. Rashes, pimples, or infections can occur when you’re not cleaning your sunglasses regularly. Glass wipes make it easy to clean your sunglasses right before you put them on. Keep the wipes in your purse or your car for convenience.
You may be surprised to learn that you have developed some bad skincare habits over the years that are harming your skin. Whether you’re taking too hot of showers, eating processed foods, or not cleaning your cell phone enough, you’ll notice a difference if you stop these habits. Your skin is worth taking care of, so why not break these bad habits today for younger-looking skin tomorrow?