Bad habits, we all have them. From innocuous things like biting your nails or clicking your pen to more serious habits like smoking.
With the new year quickly approaching we thought we’d help you get a head start on those resolutions by starting with breaking the bad habits that can be sabotaging your skin and replacing those with techniques that will have you glowing and feel more confident.
#1 Not Washing Your Face at Night
This is kind of a, “no duh,” but it’s one of those skin care no-no’s that many of us are guilty of committing. It gets late, you get tired, it’s cold out , etc. Cleansing the skin at night removes not only oil that’s built up but other grime that can damage skin cells and lead to irritations and premature aging.
Get that nasty stuff off and replace it with products that nourish and care for the skin. You don’t have to do a full double cleansing routine each night but it’s super important to go to bed with a clean face. Yes, men, this also goes for you!
For those who wear makeup it’s even more important. Makeup can settle into and clog pores, leading to acne and other skin irritations. If you need more reasons, check out this report about a women who didn’t properly remover her mascara for years. The mascara became calcified in her eyelid and caused chronic inflammation that if left untreated may have caused her to go blind. Yikes!
Tip: For those nights you, “just can’t,” Micellar Cleansing Water is your best friend. It removes surface debris, excess oil and the grime of the day without the need to rinse the face with water. Keep a bottle and a few cotton rounds (or a reusable washcloth) next to the bed for lazy-proof face cleansing.
If you’re interested in going all-in. give our Double Cleansing blog a read by clicking here.
As an honorable mention, we also want to address washing your face before and after exercising.
Sweating can be a great way to expel toxins out of our pores. The key is to cleanse and remove the moisture from sweating off the body before it has the chance to be reabsorbed into the skin, taking all those impurities back into the pores and resulting in rashes, irritation and even acne.
A good rule of thumb is to give your skin a quick cleanse before exercising to remove any surface level impurities. Micellar Cleansing Water is also a great option pre-workout since it is quick, easy and gentle on the skin.
Post workout try to give your skin (face and body) a rinse and shower as soon as you can to reduce the possibility of allowing impurities to get absorbed back into the skin.
#2 Using Regular Bar Soap on Your Face
While we are on facial cleansing, just stop using those generic bar soaps, formulated for the body on your face!
Generic deodorant soaps are way too harsh for the delicate skin on the face. They will often upset the pH balance of the facial skin and lead to dry, flaky, rough-feeling skin. I think we can all agree that’s worth taking a pass.
The skin on our face tends to be thinner and much more sensitive than the skin on other parts of the body. Plus, it’s the most visible so it needs to be treated with a gentler touch.
Think about beautiful marble countertops. You wouldn’t want to use any old household surface cleaner on them unless you wanted to risk scratching and damaging the marble. The most inexpensive facial treatments are the ones you can avoid – and that starts with using the right products that care for, rather than damage the skin.
#3 Touching and Picking at Your Skin
Ok, this one is virtually impossible. Yes, you are going to have to touch your skin but for those who rest their hands on their face throughout the day or can’t keep their fingers away from blemishes, this is for you!
Throughout the day our hands come in contact with millions of germs that can include bacteria, viruses, allergens and a host of other nasty possibilities. Door knobs, keyboards, cellphones, desktops, etc. all contribute to this build up. Now consider transferring all that to you face each and every time you touch it throughout the day. We know – gross.
The answer isn’t about compulsively washing your hands, it’s about becoming mindful about when and how often you touch your skin. The biggest culprit is the chin area. This tends to be a place where most people are most susceptible to congestion. One way to try to keep blemishes and blackheads at bay is to find other places to rest your hands. Or, try to use a tissue or clean cloth as a barrier to keep the oil, dirt and grime on your hands away from the face.
The other problem is picking at imperfections. Whether it is a pimple popping up in the middle of the day, itchiness, flaky skin, or a rouge hair, keeping your fingers away can feel nearly impossible. Often picking at it can lead to more damage than just ignoring it. Redness, infection and the potential for scarring are all concerns to consider.
Tip: If you find yourself in need of addressing a blemish during the day here are a few guidelines to follow.
- Wash your hands before touching the skin.
- Use a cotton swab or facial tissue rather than your bare hands.
- Treat the blemish with a topical treatment such as our Acne & Blemish Infusion or Soothing Infusion for redness and irritation.
This spot-treat can be used as many as 4 or 5 times a day to calm the look and feel of breakouts and inflamed skin. When the bottle is almost empty, save it for your purse or overnight bag. Then if you are in need of a quick solution you can use a drop or two.
Another effective on-the-go solution is our Lemon Essential Oil Roll-On. Lemon oil is great for caring for a variety of skin issues. The easy-to-use rollerball is formulated with pure Lemon oil and hi-oleic Safflower oil and safe to use directly on the skin. Not only does it smell fresh and clean you can use a bit of the oil on spots that are causing your trouble.
It’s a good idea to spot test the skin before using the Lemon Essential Oil Roll-On to make certain there is no reaction. Also, avoid using citrus oils, like Lemon when you know you are going to be out in the sun as citrus oils can make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays.
AND if you are one of those people who insist on doing their own extractions (a.k.a. popping pimples, squeezing blackheads) there are a few things you can do to limit the damage.
Note: we recommend leaving this to a trained esthetician, but we know you are going to do it.
Always do extractions after taking a warm shower. The heat and steam of the shower will open and loosen up pores and make it easier to remove any trapped oil.
You can also take a wash cloth with warm (not too hot) water and use it as a compress over the affected area. Do this for a few minutes before you decide to do any extraction. You can also pre-treat the area with Aromatic Emulsion Pure. It helps to soften and dissolve the material trapped in the pores. It will also help cleanse and purify the skin.
Then use cotton swabs to gently press and roll over the blemish. If nothing comes out with ease, don’t force it. By squeezing and pressing too hard you can bruise the skin or even cause it to scar. By forcing and tearing the skin it could also become infected and even more red, painful and unsightly. After extracting pores cleanse the skin properly and use a spot treatment such as Acne & Blemish Infusion.
There are tools available for extractions, but we recommend leaving those to the professionals.
#4 Not Moisturizing Properly
Other than washing your face, moisturizing is the next most important thing you can do for your skin.
Hydrated skin just looks better. More youthful, glowing, firm, even-toned, yes moisturizer can do all of that. Even more important, proper moisturization provides a barrier that protects the skin from moisture loss, and keeps pollution and other free radicals from damaging skin cells and prematurely aging the skin.
Yet, many of us aren’t moisturizing our skin properly.
It begins by identifying your skin type and needs. Someone with habitually dry skin is going to need a different strategy to keep their skin hydrated than someone with an oilier skin type. Similarly, climate and weather play a role as well (more on seasonal skin care below).
No matter the skin type or environment, daily moisturization is essential for everyone. It’s about using the right formulas and ingredients.
Dry skin typically needs more emollient ingredients such as Shea Butter or botanical oils like Avocado oil. It’s also a good idea for those with dry skin to consider moisturizing their skin in layers. Starting with hydrating mists, then lightweight moisturizing serums and finishing with a moisture cream. Layering products like this will keep the skin feeling supple longer and will allow the skin to drink in nutrients it needs to keep it feeling balanced.
Those with oily skin may only need a lightweight lotion or face serum using ingredient such as aloe vera or hemp seed oil that will condition the skin without feeling greasy and heavy. Trying to remove all traces of oil from oily skin can cause the skin to overcompensate with more pore-clogging sebum.
Normal and combination skin types will need some blend of the above recommendations. A good idea is to use lightweight serums and lotions during the day and save more emollient formulas for the nighttime, so the skin has all night to make use of hydrating ingredients.
Water has a big impact on moisture levels in the skin. No matter which products you use on the skin, if you are dehydrated there is only so much they can do. Getting your eight glasses a day helps your body function better and will keep your skin looking young, longer.
Sometimes having a visual reminder helps you to get in your daily water requirements. Using a reusable water bottle, such as the stylish bkr bottles can make drinking your water a little more appealing. Try setting reminders on your phone or Outlook calendars for when it’s time to drink up. Over time this will become a good habit that you won’t want to break.
#5 Avoiding the Décolleté
When caring for the skin on your face, it doesn’t end at the chin or the neck, it should extend down to the chest or the décolletage, sometimes referred to as the “French face.”
The French face is essentially the skin from the hairline down to the breasts. Remember to focus your skin care ritual on this entire area to avoid having lovely skin above the jaw and spotted, saggy skin below.
This is one of the best techniques for aging gracefully, so start early for the best results!
#6 Not Using Sunscreen Every Day
Not sure we even need to go into the reasons for this one. By now everyone knows how damaging the sun is on the skin and body. From skin cancer to premature aging, sunscreen is a must-do. Every. Single. Day. Even in the winter or when it’s cloudy.
There are so many different formulas and textures there is something that works for you. But only if you use it. Make it the last thing you put on your skin (other than makeup) before getting dressed. Just driving in the car, walking to the mailbox or sitting next to a window at work can cause damage over a lifetime.
Click here for more about how to avoid sun damage.
#7 Brushing Off Exfoliation
As we age, cellular turnover starts to lag. The body isn’t as efficient at shedding dead skin cells, which can make the skin look dull and lifeless.
The solution – exfoliation! For clear, glowing skin we need to exfoliate. It sloughs off dry, dead skin, helps keep the pores clear of the dirt, oil and grime that can lead to acne, and stimulates the body to speed up cell renewal.
For most skin types exfoliating one or twice a week is all that’s needed. Over doing it can be problematic too.
Tip: Try to schedule your exfoliation with events that happen several times a week. Maybe it’s one of your favorite TV shows or trash day, something that’s easy to remember. Also, to make exfoliation convenient consider storing exfoliation products such as manual scrubs in the shower. Apply them to the skin when you first get in and rinse off after a few minutes.
Not sure about how to add exfoliation into your skin care routine? We’ve got your complete exfoliation guide here.
#8 Not Changing Up Your Skin Care Routine Seasonally
You switch up your wardrobe from season to season, so why aren’t you doing the same for your skin care?
Sure, you may have your ride or die products that you use year-round but as the weather changes tweaks to your normal skin routine are key to properly caring for your skin.
Sometimes it is as simple as layering a hydrating serum with your moisturizer or switching to a cream versus a lighter lotion-type moisturizer. It may mean you use a clay mask once a week in the summer to help balance oil and a hydrating mask in the winter to keep the skin from getting dry and flaky.
Remember, your skin type can start to shift a bit as well, which means you need different products to keep it healthy. If you are unsure, schedule seasonal visits with skin professionals such as your dermatologist or an esthetician to help you create season-specific solutions for your skin.
A Customized Facial Cocktail is a great way to switch your skin care between seasons. You can change up your formula as needed.
For recommendations on how to make your custom facial cocktail click here.
#9 Not Getting Regular Facials
Ok, this is a habit that may not be for everyone, but regular facials are well worth it if you can manage. Professional facialists and estheticians have access to products, tools and the training to treat the skin in ways that are virtually impossible for you to replicate at home.
This is especially true for things such as steaming the skin, extractions and facial massage. Monthly facials can help to control the look of blemishes, shrink the appearance of pores through deep cleansing, improve the look of lines and wrinkles and promote the appearance of glowing, youthful skin. Plus, a trip to the spa is relaxing to the other senses as well.
If you don’t have the budget for professional facials there are still things you can do at home to keep the skin looking its best.
Set aside some time once every three to four weeks for your at-home facial.
- Start with an effective double cleansing. We recommend using our either our Lavender Cleanser or Lemon Gel Cleanser (depending on your skin type) and following with Algae Deep Cleanse.
- Then exfoliate the skin using Silt Scrub. It gives you both a manual and very gentle chemical exfoliation. Let Silt Scrub sit on the skin for just a few minutes to allow the active freshwater silt to dissolve and soften any dead skin or rough textures. Then gently buff the skin as you remove the scrub.
- Once you have removed all traces of the exfoliator you can do a relaxing and nourishing mask. Think of your main skin issue and use a mask to help with that, or use the multi-masking technique by placing specific mask formulas on different areas of the skin. Hydrating masks for areas that are dry, clay or charcoal masks on areas of congestion like the chin or t-zone. Relax for 10-15 minutes and place a warm compress over the mask while you rest.
A great tip is to soak a wash cloth in one of our Aromatic Emulsion toners. This provides a lovely does of aromatherapy and will condition the skin when it is time to remove the mask.
- Finish your at-home facial with the facial infusion or serum of your choice, eye cream and moisturizer. Cucumber Eye is great for those with dark circle of puffiness and Jasmine or Chamomile Eye Balms are richer for those who need a bit more moisture. We love Soothing Cream after a facial. It helps to restore a feeling or calm and balance to the skin.
If you have a Jade Roller, this is where you can give yourself a comforting lymphatic facial massage – just be sure to roll in one direction from the inner parts of the face out toward the hairline and avoid rolling back-n-forth. Ideally you will add a serum to the skin then use the jade roller before your final application of moisturizer.
And finally, a good reminder that what you put into your body shows up on your skin.
One too many drinks can leave you dehydrated and fatigued. This shows up in the skin with a dry, dull, lackluster complexion. It also can contribute to dark circles under the eyes and puffiness, neither of which are sign of life and vitality.
The same can go for eating too much sugar and heavy, processed foods. When the diet is out of balance the skin will reflect that, often through acne, breakouts and the signs of premature aging.
However, smoking is probably one of the worst things you can do for your complexion, leading to dry, sallow, crepey-looking skin, deep set wrinkles, discoloration and rough textures. No matter how amazing your skin care routine, it’s very difficult to undo damage caused by years of smoking.
We aren’t recommending you should never let yourself indulge, just be mindful that there can be too much of a good thing. Balance is always the key! Check in with yourself periodically to keep things in line and when needed pull back just a bit. We only get one go in this body, so treat it – and yourself well.
Once you start tweaking bad habits here and there, you’ll be amazed by how easy it can be to replace them with habits that are good for you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lindsey Pope is a content contributor at Source Vitál Apothecary. She is a self-proclaimed product junkie who loves lotions, potions, elixirs and all things that make you look and feel great. Lindsey writes about new products, seasonal promotions and the latest industry trends.