Daily Habits that Cause Damage to Your Skin
You don’t wash your face before bed.
The urge to skip the sink is completely understandable, especially after a long day. But just because you can’t see grime on your face doesn’t mean it’s not there -- and over time, your complexion will pay the price. “Dirt, oil, and pollution build up and lead to both inflammation and breakouts,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Use a gentle cleanser with moisturizers like glycerin or botanical oils to keep your complexion hydrated. And if you can’t get to the sink or just don’t want to, a few passes with a facial wipe will work in a pinch.
2. You smoke.
Nicotine reduces blood flow to your skin, which means it doesn’t get enough oxygen and nutrients. And the chemicals in tobacco damage the collagen and elastin proteins that give your skin structure, says dermatologist Yoon-Soo Cindy Bae, MD, of the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of New York. “A smoker’s skin is thin, dull, more wrinkled, and less able to heal,” she says.
Plus, years of puckering your lips to hold a cigarette or squinting your eyes to keep out smoke may deepen lines and lead to more wrinkles in those areas.
While antioxidants like vitamins A and C can ease some of the damage, the only surefire fix is to quit for good.
3. You skimp on sunscreen -- or just skip it.
Sunshine feels good on your skin, but it also has ultraviolet (UV) rays that are damaging. “UV light leads to both premature aging and skin cancers,” Zeichner says
And it’s not just beach days when you need protection. The sun can damage your skin even when it’s cold or cloudy outside.
A broad-spectrum SPF blocks both UVA and UVB rays and keeps you fully protected. Look for a minimum of SPF 30, and if you’re outside, plan to reapply every 2 hours. Be sure you use enough: A full teaspoon is just about right for your face, including your hairline, around your nose, and under your chin.