We all have a few bad habits we can’t quite seem to ditch. Maybe you’ve been biting your nails since age 4, and no amount of gel manicures or foul-tasting polish will stop you. Maybe you hit the KitKats every afternoon at 2 pm when the post-lunch sleepies attack. Maybe you combat stressful work days with online shopping splurges.
When it comes to your vice of choice, it starts to feel like no amount of logic or reason can force you into giving them up. That’s why we’re offering a little extra incentive: What if these shortcomings are actually responsible for your skin woes? Read on to find out how these common bad habits may be wrecking your look.
Your skin is one of the first major organs to suffer when you’re undernourished. Lack of food causes your skin to become dehydrated, which, accompanied by nutritional imbalances, can lead to accelerated aging. In the same vein, yo-yo dieting and the subsequent weight gain and loss can cause the fibers in the skin to loosen over time, leading to some serious sag.
The Fix: Make sure you’re eating regular meals with balanced macro (protein, fats, carbs) and micro (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants) nutrients to glow from the inside out.
SPLURGING ON TOO MANY BEAUTY PRODUCTS
We’ve all experienced that moment when, confronted by an array of glossy beauty supplies, you are seized with a sudden conviction that the perfect cocktail of prettily packaged potions will help you achieve the skin you so desperately crave. So, you shell out way too much money, head home, and begin your revamped routine with brand new cleanser, toner, serums, and moisturizers. Then things go wrong. If your skin gets worse, you don’t know what’s causing it. If it gets better, you don’t know either — but in either case, we’d bet you could trace it to one or two of the products, rather than the whole slew.
The Fix: When you’re making changes to your beauty routine, only try out one new product at a time. This will help you identify what’s working and what’s not—and avoid the scary credit card bill while you’re at it.
PUTTING OFF LAUNDRY DAY
We know that your relationship with your bed is sacred, and far it be it from us to wreck that. But we have to point out an uncomfortable truth, here: your beloved pillowcase is teeming with dead skin cells, oil, bacteria, and dirt. This means when you’re resting your face on it all night, you’re asking acne to come calling.
The Fix: Swap out your pillowcase as often as possible — even if the best you can manage is flipping it to the other side. (And, psst — the same goes for your towel.)
SKIPPING YOUR WORKOUT
It’s no secret that exercise is great for your cardiovascular system and general outlook on life. But getting your blood pumping has major benefits for your skin, too. Amping up your circulation brings the good stuff — we’re talking oxygen and nutrients — to your skin cells and helps whisk away damaging waste products like free radicals. The old rules still apply: always wipe your makeup off before working out, and apply sunscreen if you’ll be outside.
The Fix: Just do it. Getting your heart rate up will have you glowing in more ways than one.
CRANKING UP YOUR AC/HEAT
Blasting the heat in the chilly months and cool air in the warm months doesn’t only do some serious damage to your electricity bill (and the earth)— it can also make your skin go wacko. Cranking the AC and heat strips the air of its humidity, drying out your skin.
The Fix: Depending on the season, add more clothes or take some away before you head for the thermostat. You’ll be rewarded with much happier skin (and friendlier electricity bills).
If nothing else, maybe vanity can be the swift kick in the pants that gets you to bid your cigarettes adieu once and for all. Smoking is responsible for aggravating or causing a whole host of skin issues including, but not limited to: premature aging, acne, yellowing, under-eye bags and wrinkles. Most of these are due to the breakdown of both collagen and elastic fibers in the skin, coupled with stifled circulation. The good news? Within two weeks of quitting, you’ll start to see results.
The Fix: Toss the cigarettes. For good.
Sadly, the food and drinks most of us turn to for comfort or a good time can wreak slow but steady havoc on our skin. Alcohol inflames and dehydrates the skin, leaving it dull and blotchy (not to mention that puffy hangover bloat we’re all too familiar with). Sugar, like smoking, breaks down collagen and elastin. Coffee heightens your body’s stress response and messes with your blood sugar levels, both of which can aggravate acne and other skin conditions. Salt leads to bloating which leads to puffiness — and long-term exposure can result in high blood pressure, which is bad news for collagen. Ouch.
The Fix: It hurt us to write that. It really did. We’re not saying you have to ditch your favorite treats for good — just remember the old moderation rule, and maybe turn down your second helping