4 Habits That Are Ruining Your Complexion
If you’re anything like me, you’re beyond sick of your peers offering their “expert” advice on your personal complexion woes.
Yes…we get it. Hydration and sunscreen are important. Yes, we know that a poor diet can worsen acne and exacerbate other health issues. Yes, we’re aware that G-force and air quality are major contributors to fine lines.
However, those of us who struggle with acne and inflammation can’t walk around avoiding the sun, gravity, or pollution. We’re not idiots, and we know that guzzling a gallon of fruit-infused water every day isn’t going to cure wrinkles or breakouts.
What we don’t realize is how much our basic living habits impact our skin.
1. Your Face Isn’t a Dirty Dish, Stop Scrubbing It
I’ve never cringed harder at anything than I have watching makeup tutorials and skincare videos. While teaching people to apply contour, aspiring “makeup artists” simultaneously exhibit the best possible way to destroy a trusting viewer’s already sensitive skin.
The application process is bad, but the “exfoliation” portion is alarming. Never have I seen someone push, pull, yank, or wipe their face in such an overly vigorous manner.
I promise you this; scrubbing your face as if it’s the bottom of a dirty pot is going to give you poor long term results.
How to fix it: When washing, cleansing, or exfoliating, be gentle. Massage your face with the same forbearance you’d use if you were giving a toddler a nap time back rub. It’s not necessary to apply excessive pressure or stretch the skin.
Refrain from using loofahs, ultrasonic scrubbers, or any other bogus “dermatologist recommended” tool on your face. Influencers are paid to speak positively about all of these self-proclaimed “revolutionary” products, but medical professionals recommend using luke-warm water and a non-abrasive, ingredient lite soap for facial cleansing.
In the past few years, there have been technological advances in the skincare world, and I’ve heard some great things about dermapen and microneedling treatments. If you’ve had any success with either, I’d love to hear about your experience!
2. When Was the Last Time You Cleaned Your Phone?
While the majority of the acne I’ve been saddled with is hormonal, getting into the habit of wiping down my phone on a regular, multiple times a day basis, has saved me a lot of heartache.
As it turns out, your phone carries all kinds of bacteria including but not limited to MRSA (staph infection) and E. Coli. All of the grimey, filthy surfaces you touch in public restrooms, grocery stores, and gas stations are transferred to that shiny touch screen that we’re all so obsessed with. Then, we press that very same screen against our face and smear all of the aggravating bacteria across our ears and jawline.
How to fix it: You can easily find cleaning solutions and disinfectant wipes at just about any general store. As far as effectiveness goes, be sure the label for isopropyl alcohol solution includes a minimum of 70% and no more than 90% alcohol.
Seeing as how there is an entire generation of folks that were eating Tide pods, I feel it’s necessary to remind everyone that Clorox is not meant to be applied to the skin.
For the love of God, please do not use disinfectant wipes directly on your face…or any part of your body for that matter. It’s not a baby wipe.
Also, don’t eat it.
3. Unconscious Picking
The average person touches their face 23 times per hour. Multiply that by 12 hours, and you’ve already touched, pinched, and picked at your skin almost 300 times during the hours you’ve been awake.
I spent years scraping away layers of my highly sensitive skin.
You ever seen that movie Idle Hands? Yeah, the one with Jessica Alba and the dude from Final Destination. When my acne problems started clearing up I’d get the urge to brush the back of my hand against the smooth skin that had taken its place. The second I felt a bump of ANY kind, I immediately began clawing at it.
Sadly, this resulted in some minor disfiguration in the form of deep, permanent scars. Sure, some of them have gotten smaller and less noticeable over time, but they’re still a huge insecurity of mine.
How to fix it: You’ve got a couple of different options here. First, purchase some gloves, the cloth kind, not the latex kind. When you’re at home, in your car, or just find yourself in a moment of weakness, slide those babies on.
Sure, you might feel like a newborn infant initially. After a few weeks though, you may just look in the mirror and realize that there aren’t as many scabs or nail-shaped punctures along your ear and jaw.
Of course, you don’t have to go the mitten route.
The second option would be to get regular manicures. Acrylics are dull and thick, whereas your natural nails are much sharper. Now, I realize that all you super manly men out there are probably thinking ”yeaaaah…no.”
Guys, you can still get those scraggly talons trimmed back and have the salon lady moisturize those crispy looking cuticles.
4. Hey Girl, are You From Hell? Cause Your Showers are HOT!
Is it just me, or does it seem like most women love to take scalding, steamy, spawn-of-Satan temp showers? Seriously, how many husbands, boyfriends, and significant others have you heard complain that their beloved might actually be a steam-demon?
Perhaps we just love that squeaky clean feeling the heat leaves behind.
Purging ourselves of dirt and sweat we accumulate throughout the day may offer a pleasant sensation in the moment, but it strips the skin of a natural oil called sebum.
Not only does this exacerbate existing conditions like eczema, our bodies respond by overcompensating in sebum production. In turn, we wind up with inflammation and infected hair follicles.
How to fix it: Honestly, I have a hard time with this one myself. Showering in cold water just doesn’t quite do it for me. If you’re in the same dilemma, try reducing the amount of time you spend in hotter temperatures. Indulge for a bit, just don’t overdo it.
Sitting in cold water for a few minutes toward the end of bathing also promotes pore constriction, and might even give your hair some extra shine!