Things you need to stop doing to your skin right now

Like it or not, you’ll be
showing more skin in the summer. While many companies and products out there
claim to be the best at rejuvenating your skin, there are small changes you
could make right now that would have a huge impact on your skin’s health. Most
of us spend each day damaging our skin without even realizing it. Here are just
a few offenders to watch out for.
in your makeup
Rinsing your makeup off each
night is an easy first step to taking better care of your skin, but so many of
us skip it. We get home late from work, then try to fit in dinner, working out,
and relaxing. When you’re ready to pass out for the night, washing your face
can feel like an unnecessary step. However, sleeping in your makeup is wreaking
havoc on your skin.
“If you want to wake up
fresh, you need to use a makeup remover,” cofounder of Chalet Cosmetics
Andrea Rodriguez told me. “Sleeping in makeup not only ages you, it
prevents skin from recovering overnight to maintain elasticity and hydration
the next day.” Rodriguez recommended keeping the process as simple as
possible so that you’re able to stay consistent.
“Agua Fresca is a super
easy way to make sure you never do this to your face again,” recommended
Rodriguez. “Pour this natural cleansing water on a cotton pad, swipe, and
then hit the pillow.”
products out of jars
If your skincare products come
in a jar, it’s time to rethink them. Applying the product with your hands is
probably not doing much good for your skin. “Our hands pick up so much
dirt and oil from the day, and when you stick your fingers in a jar of product
and apply it to your face, you may be spreading bacteria,” Rodriguez told
me. “Skincare without applicators have a much higher rate of getting
contaminated. Plus, the active ingredients are much more likely to become
oxidized, making them less effective. Try sticking to products with airless
pumps or caps with dispensers for better skincare benefits.”
Content director for
Beautypedia Bryan Barron agreed. Because many skincare products, especially the
anti-aging ones, contain antioxidants, they should not be exposed to air. The
more you open that jar, the more the antioxidants break down and become
ineffective. “So your anti-aging products become less and less
effective,” Barron told Elle.
the sunscreen
Most of us are pretty good
about remembering the sunscreen on a beach day with friends, but what about the
rest of the time? We expose our skin to the sun’s harmful rays everyday, even
if it’s just walking to the car. It’s important to start making sunscreen part
of your morning routine.
“The number one thing you
can do to pause, and in fact reverse the signs of aging, is to be extra
diligent about using sunscreen,” oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Brett Kotlus
told me. “Ideally, you should use a 15 SPF or higher and a mineral-based
product. There are clear zinc products that offer great protection that don’t
make you look pasty like the old zincs you remember from Baywatch.”
to bed late
There is a reason why your
skin looks dull and tired after a night of little sleep. Sleep is restorative
for your skin, so go to bed late too many nights in a row, and your skin is
going to show it. “When the skin is getting less than optimum fuel, it can
become dull and pale,” Dr. Dennis Gross told Elle. “Lack of sleep can
be so stressful that it actually causes our bodies, including our skin, to
generate free radicals.” Start prioritizing your sleep and watch your skin
money on products that don’t work
There are a lot of skincare
products out there, and many of them are incredibly expensive. Which ones are
actually worth it? Well, according to Dr. Kotlus, special anti-wrinkle pillows
fall into the “not worth it” column. Many women notice lines on their
faces from their pillows every morning, so several companies have created
pillows meant to prevent those lines. “Don’t waste money on anti-wrinkle
pillows and pillowcases. While sleep lines are formed during sleep, especially
on stomach-sleepers, there’s no scientific proof that a specialty pillow or
fabric reduces sleep wrinkles over your regular sleep gear,” explained Dr.
Kotlus. “I performed a published study showing that the effects of sun
exposure supersede the aging effects of sleep pressure, so focus on sun protection.”

I have never been a pimple
popper. The thought of it makes me nauseous, and I’m a nurse, so I’ve seen some
things. Fortunately for me, the dermatologists are with me on this one. Popping
that zit you’ve had your eye on only spreads the bacteria to the rest of your
face. “However tempting it may be to pop a pimple, try to resist,”
Dr. Gross told Elle. “If the temptation is too much, try washing your face
with a clean washcloth. If the pimple is ready to ‘pop,’ this is all the pressure
needed to drain it.” Your body is smart. It knows when the pimple needs to
go away, so let your skin do its thing.
After a long day, there is
nothing better than relaxing in a long, hot shower. Grab a glass of wine, and
you have a little spa right in your bathroom. However, the hot water is harsh
on your skin, so keep those steamy showers to a minimum. Sure, they feel good,
“but they’re guaranteed to turn your skin into a dry, flaky mess,”
Dermatologist Dr. Arielle Kauvar told Prevention. Opt for slightly cooler water
to protect your skin.
overboard with fillers
We’ve all seen the women and
men who have clearly overdone it on the plastic surgery. Foreheads that don’t
move and stretched eyelids always look unnatural. Another product to watch out
for is fillers for your face and lips. “Please don’t follow the trend of
over-inflated lips,” said Dr. Kotlus. “Cartoonishly large lips are
not attractive no matter how many people on your Instagram feed show off their
selfie pouts.”
the tanning bed
I can’t possibly write an
article about things to stop doing to your skin and neglect indoor tanning
beds. We know they are associated with skin cancer, but they don’t just stop
there. A study in Translational Behavioral Medicine found that indoor tanning
users had higher rates of redness and swelling. If you’ve ever been tempted to
hop in the tanning bed for a base tan before vacation, don’t do it.
too much
While it’s important to wash
your face every night before bed, don’t overdo it. Using a facial brush or even
a washcloth can be too hard on your delicate skin. “It’s not unusual for
people to routinely use a retinoid, an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), and a
mechanical cleansing device, so they wind up red and irritated instead of
glowing and radiant,” cosmetic dermatologist Dr. David Bank told
If you suffer from acne, being
gentle with your skin is especially important. Exfoliating your face when you
have acne will only aggravate your skin. “It will just make your acne
flare and cause so much irritation that you won’t be able to use products or medications
that might help clear the condition,” Dr. Kauvar said to Prevention.
With all of the skin
treatments out there, it’s easy to overlook the simple things you can do to
renew your skin. The absolute first step you should take is quitting smoking.
No matter what treatments you try for your skin, smoking will undo them.
“Don’t do a skin laser to reverse the effects of aging and then smoke
cigarettes. You’re undoing any benefits you’re getting from the laser
treatment, and you’re impairing your body’s ability to heal,” explained
Dr. Kotlus. “You can always spot a smoker from the wrinkles around their
mouth. Other than being strict about using sunscreen, smoking cessation is the
best thing you can do to stop the signs of aging.”
One of the best things you can
do for your skin is to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water throughout the
day will keep your skin youthful and glowing. Anything that dehydrates you will
leave you looking older. Unfortunately, that means saying goodbye to some old
friends. “Alcohol and caffeine … act like a diuretic and prevent you from
holding on to water, so your skin looks sort of prune-like. It can get dry and
get washed out,” dermatologist Dr. Deborah Wattenberg told TODAY. “Junk
food contains a lot of preservatives and that will do the same thing.”
too much
Washing your face every night
is a great practice for your skin. Washing multiple times per day is definitely
too much of a good thing. “Most tend to use harsh soaps that strip natural
oils from their body and disrupt the ideal pH of their skin,” Rachel
Nazarian, MD at Schweiger Dermatology Group told Marie Claire. “Chronic
over-washing will cause skin to dry and crack, leaving it prone to infections
and flares of inflammatory conditions like eczema, and can even highlight signs
of aging, like small wrinkles and lines.”
your face
Have you ever noticed how much
you touch your face? We all do it. The last time I chopped some spicy peppers,
I realized I was constantly touching my face as I coughed and sneezed every
time my hands came close to my eyes. Each time you touch your face, you’re
exposing your skin to bacteria. “Repeatedly touching your face or resting
your chin on your hands can introduce dirt, oils, and bacteria to the skin that
can contribute to acne,” Arbonne senior director of nutrition Dr. Nancy
Steely told Bustle.
Always touching your face is
especially irritating for your eyes. Dr. Steely explained that rubbing your
eyes can “break the delicate capillaries under the skin as well as damage
the tissues in this area and increase the risk of wrinkle development earlier
in life.”
Celebrity esthetician Renée
Rouleau was also concerned about the delicate under eye skin. “Pulling on
the skin while putting in contacts, applying eyeliner, or rubbing aggressively
to remove stubborn eye makeup can create wear and tear on the collagen and
elasticity fibers, causing visible lines and wrinkles prematurely,”
Rouleau told Marie Claire. “Always apply eye cream with the ring finger
(it’s the weakest) and use a gentle patting motion to avoid rubbing and
dessert every night
Tanning beds and cigarettes
aren’t the only things damaging your skin. That half-eaten slice of chocolate
cake sitting in your refrigerator can be just as harmful. Consuming sugar
affects our bodies’ collagen stores. Collagen is the magical substance that
helps our skin spring back and look young. “Sugary foods break down
collagen and elastin in the skin, causing dullness and wrinkles over
time,” dermatologist Fredric Brandt told Allure.
Eating too much sugar can also
affect your internal systems. “Sugar can weaken the immune system, and a
suppressed immune system is bad at fighting off bacteria,” celebrity
dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer told New York magazine. When that bacteria is
stuck in your pores, pimples can form. Consuming sugar can also increase our
testosterone levels, which affects our skin. “Testosterone makes pores
larger and skin oilier. It turns your beautiful female skin into ruddy football
player skin,” Dr. Lancer said.
the dermatologist
When was the last time you
checked your skin for new or changing moles? Consistently checking yourself for
changes is crucial to catching any skin cancers early. However, self-checks
won’t take care of everything. Schedule a yearly appointment with your
dermatologist to check your entire body. “We look in more nooks and
crannies than you ever will,” dermatologist Patricia Wexler told Allure.
As always, if you have any
questions or concerns about your skin, see your dermatologist.
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.