10 Bad Skin Habits to Break for 10 Times Better Skin

better skincare habits

BAD SKIN HABIT 1: FAILING TO PROPERLY CLEANSE, HYDRATE AND MOISTURIZE DAILY

It’s important to cleanse in the morning with the correct cleanser for your skin type to wash off accumulated metabolic debris that can build up on your skin overnight. Hydrate with a nourishing mist, which prepares your skin to absorb your serums, then apply a moisturizer in an upward, pressing motion. Rinse and repeat at the end of the day to wash away any makeup, dirt, sweat and pollution before you hit the bed.

BAD SKIN HABIT 2: WASHING YOUR FACE WITH BODY SOAP

Washing your face with body soap is one of the worst skin habits you can get into because most soap is very drying. It has a high pH level, which means it’s very alkaline. The pH scale goes from 1–14, with 7 being neutral (water is close to 7). The closer a substance is to 1, the more acidic it is; the closer it is to 14, the more alkaline, or ‘basic’. The pH of skin is somewhere between 4.5 and 6, and most commercial soaps have a pH of around 9–11, so they’re highly alkaline. Soap deteriorates and destroys the acid mantle (a fine, slightly acidic film on the surface of the skin acting as a barrier to bacteria, viruses and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin). Translation? More alkaline skin means more bacterial growth. Your sebaceous glands will also pump more oil to compensate for the dryness, which could lead to blocked pores and acne. 

BAD SKIN HABIT 3: NOT LETTING YOUR SKIN BREATHE

It’s okay to use foundations and powders (preferably certified organic) most days of the week, but caking your face in toxic makeup full of synthetic chemicals every day and not letting it breathe won’t help you achieve gorgeous, glowing skin. Our skin is designed to breathe freely, so unless you’re going out or feel you need to wear makeup to work, just let your skin be au naturale as often as you can, and highlight your features with some natural eyeliner, mascara, some of the newer eyebrow gel products we have on Paris Laundry, some creamy blush and a non-toxic lip balm.

BAD SKIN HABIT 4: FORGETTING TO EXFOLIATE

As you age, the rate of your skin cell turnover slows, so it’s important to gently exfoliate so as to slough off the dead skin cells and encourage new ones to shine through. Regular exfoliating – say, twice a week – also enables your skincare products to penetrate more deeply. That’s important when you’re investing in potent anti-aging products. You want to get the most out of them and ensure they are well absorbed rather than sitting on top of the dead skin cells, and exfoliation is the key to that.

BAD SKIN HABIT 5: NOT DRINKING ENOUGH OF THE GOOD STUFF

No, we don't mean coffee and wine. We mean water. You don't just need water, you ARE water. The fastest way to shrivel your skin is to allow your body to become dehydrated. You want to keep it as young, smooth and plump as possible, so nourish those skin cells with at least two liters of purified water a day (even three liters when it’s really hot and humid). I like to carry a one-liter bottle around with me sip it throughout the day.

BAD SKIN HABIT 6: INADEQUATE SUN PROTECTION

Another surefire way to age your skin prematurely is to spend hours in the sun without sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses or a long-sleeved shirt. Sure, spend ten minutes a day in gentle morning sunlight to get your vitamin D, but avoid the sun between 10am and 3pm. Also, don’t rely on sunscreen to protect your skin – it should be your last safety and beauty measure after wearing a fabulous big hat and sunnies, and a stylish, protective shirt. 

BAD SKIN HABIT 7: TOO MANY PROCESSED FOODS, NOT ENOUGH FRUITS AND VEGGIES 

Just about anything out of a box is processed and usually contains high amounts of sugar, preservatives, artificial colorings and flavorings. It’s all unnatural and not in any way nourishing for your skin. Instead, eat a diet that is mostly made of organic fruit and vegetables and packed with vitamins, minerals and skin-saving antioxidants. Ask your medical practitioner to test you for wheat and dairy allergies, and these can also impact your skin.

BAD SKIN HABIT 8: STRESS

Ever wondered why your skin suffers so much when you’re stressed and you become more prone to breakouts, rashes and other skin irritations? When you’re really stressed, your body experiences an abnormal rise in the stress hormone cortisol, which can suppress the immune system, affect memory, lower bone formation and restrict the body’s ability to properly digest food and nutrients which impact upon the health of your skin.  Also, when the brain perceives stress, the hypothalamus signals the pituitary gland, which then triggers the adrenal glands to produce androgens and stress hormones. In turn, collagen is depleted and the sebaceous glands secrete more oil and excess sebum, which can clog pores and cause those irritating breakout. It can also aggravate skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and acne. During times of emotional distress, the flow of blood is directed to areas of the body that need it the most and blood is withdrawn from areas that are considered non-essential – including the skin! Stress causes the blood vessels to constrict abnormally and the skin is constantly being starved of both blood and oxygen which causes a dull and lifeless appearance. So do whatever you can to avoid stress, whether it be regular exercise, meditation, yoga, cognitive behavioral therapy, grounding practices outside, or your favorite hobby. 

BAD SKIN HABIT 9: ZERO EXERCISE

A study published in the New York Times found participants over the age of 40 who had exercised regularly had the skin composition of a 20-year-old. There are varying theories as to why, some saying other lifestyle factors were involved. Either way, there’s no debating that exercise is great for your skin. It promotes circulation and the increased blood flow carries oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells. It flushes free radicals from the body, helps toxins escape the body through increased perspiration, and builds lean muscle just below the surface of the skin, which creates younger, taut looking skin.    

BAD SKIN HABIT 10: PICKING AT YOUR SKIN 

We've all been there, a pimple is forming and we make matters worse by picking our skin. Picking will likely delay the healing of pimples and acne lesions, make them look worse, and might result in new lesions from constant irritation. So nourishing the skin, and treating underlying causes for breakouts and acne or other skin conditions is a component of treatment for healthy skin.