If you have or ever had an acne problem, there’s nothing worse than expecting to wake up with glowing skin and instead staring in the mirror with a new pimple glaring back at you. What could have gone wrong? You washed and scrubbed your face faithfully, and you’ve used all the latest skin oils, creams, and ointments to no avail. I have learned that some of my habits, though they seemed harmless at the time, actually sabotaged my efforts to better skin. See the 8 possible ways you may be sabotaging your skin below:
#1 - Not using sunscreen. If you have prolonged unprotected exposure to the sun, you are at risk of skin damage and certain diseases, including skin cancer. It may result in dry or wrinkled skin, as well as dark spots. When you have prolonged exposure to the sun, it can be difficult to even out skin tone as well. It is suggested that you use a sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher. If you plan to be in the sun for an extended period of time, use one with SPF30 or higher. Don’t be shy! Cover all areas and don’t forget areas you may have missed like your ears, back, neck, hands, and feet. Your best bet is to load up on sunscreen and wear sun shades and hats for protection.
#2 - Exposing your face to dirt and bacteria. Two big culprits are your pillowcase and your cell phone! A huge cause of breakouts is the build-up of bacteria and dirt on your face. Also when you expose your face to a surface for an extended period of time, your facial pores cannot breathe and can cause irritation and acne. It actually has a name! Acne Mechanica is acne caused by skin friction, heat, pressure on the skin, or when the skin isn't exposed to the air. Also think about your pillowcase. Every night, drool, oils from your hair and face, dirt and dust gets caught in the fibers of your pillowcase and you expose your face to that build-up every night. Keep track of how often you change your pillowcase to make sure you don’t wait too long before you replace it.
#3 - Skin-clogging cosmetics. It’s important to be selective with the cosmetics you choose for your face. Inspect the ingredients carefully and make sure the product is free of skin-clogging ingredients. Look for a “non-comedogenic” or “hypo-allergenic” label when you’re choosing your make-up. Be as discerning with your cosmetics as you are with the food you eat. Also be sure to clean your makeup brushes with soap every few days and spray with rubbing alcohol after each use. Throw foundation out after 6 months, but if you suspect something is wrong, throw it out sooner. One of my skin fails involved some makeup that had bacteria in it and I didn’t know it! It kept causing skin infections until finally I wised up after paying attention.
#4 - Not using moisturizer. One misconception about oily skin is that it doesn’t need moisture. This is the farthest from the truth! This is especially true if you are using cleansers or topical creams that are drying. In response to a product that may dry out your skin or strip the oils from your skin, your body will respond by producing more oil. I noticed this when I was on Retin-A. I always had a streak of oil on my nose after I used it. Once I stopped, I no longer had to wipe down my face three times a day. Currently, I moisturize my face every morning and night with two drops of argan oil.
#5 - Not drinking water. Google "water intake and skin" and you’ll see plenty of people claiming that when they upped their water intake their complexion cleared. Some do not agree that lack of water is connected to acne issues. Studies are inconclusive about its impact on blemishes. No matter what you believe, without enough water, your skin appears duller and your skin becomes dry. It makes you prone to wrinkles and your pores more prominent.
#6 - Touching your face. Think about everything you touched today: the doorknob, your keyboard, the gas pump. Then think about all the others who touched those same things. Think about everything nasty they touched before they touched the same item you did. Now imagine smearing all of that on your face. Yep, no other explanation needed.
#7 - Not exfoliating. This is especially true for people with oily skin. Your skin naturally sheds skin cells at the rate of 30,000 to 40,000 dead cells per minute, but exfoliation helps speed up this process and help with cell turnover on your face. Exfoliation helps your skin look brighter. Your washcloth, loofahs, skin brushes, and sugar scrubs are all exfoliating agents that you can use. You don’t have to be fancy at all. Exfoliate two to three times a week but really, this depends on your skin. I find that exfoliating twice a week is best and I am very gentle. If I scrub too hard, it causes breakouts.
#8 - Using too many products. I’ve definitely been there. I thought the more products I used, and the heavier my use, I would automatically get better. I would sit and wait 2 days and get frustrated that it wasn’t working. Then I would move on to the next product I googled. The best thing you can do is simplify your regimen. You can’t really determine what’s working or what’s not if you you’re using 5 products all at once, right? Streamline your regimen and then as you discover what works, build in other products if necessary.
- June 24, 2015
- Tiffany A