Wash your face at night. Apply SPF daily. Exfoliate. You know the drill to keeping your skin clear and healthy. However, having worked with clients for more than 25 years, I often find that some of the techniques people think are helping their skin are actually doing more harm than good. While they may seem minor at first, over time these habits may harm the skin. Read on for six bad skin habits you need to unlearn immediately.
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1. Tugging at the delicate skin surrounding the eye area
The surrounding eye area has the thinnest skin on the face, and it’s the first to show the signs of aging. Pulling on the skin while putting in contacts, applying eyeliner, or rubbing aggressively to remove stubborn eye makeup can unnecessarily create wear and tear on the collagen and elasticity fibers within the skin. This can cause visible lines and wrinkles prematurely, so be sure to handle this delicate area with care. Also, always apply eye cream with the ring finger (it’s the weakest) and use a gentle patting motion to avoid rubbing and tugging.
While misting or spraying toner on the skin may be convenient, it is really important to use a wiping motion while applying toner. The reason is because toners are designed to remove cleanser residue and most importantly, salts, chlorines, and chemicals from tap water that may dehydrate the skin. When you mist the toner you are simply diluting these chemicals, not removing them. Always use an alcohol-free toner, wipe it over the skin with a cotton cloth or pad, and if you so choose, mist afterwards.
I always tell clients to use a washcloth or facial sponge during evening cleansing to fully remove makeup and residue from the day however, rubbing the skin too aggressively with a washcloth may encourage irritation, stimulate melanin cells in those prone to brown spots, and create extra wear and tear on skin’s elasticity. The fibers in a washcloth tend to be a little aggressive, so for gentler care, use a baby washcloth with softer fibers or a facial sponge. Skin will be equally just as clean, but with a gentler touch, especially for sensitive skin types.
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While most people know they must never skip washing their face at night, many people omit this step in the morning. The thinking behind this is usually that skin is already clean from washing the night before. This is a habit you don’t want to get into — and cleansing in the morning is a must. Why? When sleeping, skin is in repair mode and it secretes sebum, which can prevent your morning products from working optimally. Additionally, you'll be layering your morning products on top of your night time products like masks or retinols, so they won't penetrate the skin as easily. Cleansing in the shower will give the skin a clean slate to allow your daytime serum and sunscreen to better protect and absorb into the skin. Be sure to always wash with a mild, sulfate-free cleansing gel in the morning.
Without a doubt, skin has different needs in different seasons. As the seasons change, it’s a good reminder to evaluate your skin regimen. In the spring, think spring cleaning with deep pore cleansing and exfoliating products to revive the skin from the winter dryness. In the summer, the focus should be on protecting skin from the sun with sunscreen and antioxidants, which have powerful protective qualities. Products should be lighter-weight in the spring and summer since there is more humidity in the air, and a summer skin care routine should have less exfoliation since more time is spent outdoors. During the fall, increase exfoliation to repair the skin from the summer sun damage. With the dry air in winter, the focus should be on increasing moisturization and using hydrating products. Getting in the habit of using the same products year-round is an absolute no-no. The change of seasons is also a good time to evaluate which products are yielding results and which are not. Be sure to consult with an esthetician or trusted skin care professional to for expert advice.
Many are guilty of this one, whether it is out of nerves or simply trying to make a blemish go away faster. In the end, picking at a blemish will make it worse. A blemish only lasts five to seven days, but the red, dark scar from messing with it can make it linger for months. You have a choice. Leave the blemish alone and conceal the bump with makeup until it heals naturally. Or, pick at it, make it worse and be left with an oozing scab that’s impossible to hide under makeup. Try to keep hands busy when the urge to pick arises, a small toy or stress ball will do the trick.
It may seem impossible to give up some of these habits, but you’ll be glad you did. The sooner you can ditch these bad habits, the sooner you’ll be on the road to healthy, gorgeous skin.
When it comes to our faces, we don’t rely on just anyone to tell us what our skin needs to get that ever-elusive glow. Instead, we turn to skin-care veteran (and celebrity fave!) Renée Rouleau, who knows it takes more than the right products to get radiant. Each week, she’ll be serving up her expert tips to keep your complexion in tip-top shape.