As a society, we invest a considerable amount of time and energy into preventing and avoiding the aging process, our own version of the fountain of youth. In fact, the global anti-aging market was worth an estimated $250 billion in 2016 and rising!
I’m sad to report that there is no way to completely avoid the aging process, we’re all going to experience it at some point or another in our lives. However, there are steps that you can take to slow this process down, keeping your skin looking healthier and more radiant longer! The secret? You need to identify the little mistakes you are making every day to damage your skin. Sure, you may have an extensive skin care routine, sparing no cost in your efforts, but the odds are you’re making at least one of these mistakes…
Here are 13 things you didn’t realize are damaging your skin every day:
#1 – Setting Your Makeup with Hairspray
This may sound a little crazy, but keep in mind that I’m mentioning it here because it’s a beauty hack that has gained enough attention to make it worth including on the list. While hairspray may work to help keep your makeup looking fresh longer, it’s not what the product was designed to do. In fact, hairspray can cause severe irritation to your skin, resulting in bumps, discoloration or the appearance of a rash.
#2 – Too Much Exfoliation
You’ve likely heard the saying ‘too much of a good thing’ before in your life, and this is a great example! While exfoliating your skin is a great step to keep it looking happy and healthy, exfoliating too often, too long, or pressing too hard during the process can actually cause significant skin damage. In fact, experts say that too much exfoliation is the equivalent of giving yourself a first or second-degree burn.
#3 – Allergy Medication
There are a number of symptoms and side effects that we consider when selecting an allergy medication, but did you take your trouble skin into account? Experts report that antihistamines may actually dry your skin out by inhibiting histamine. Sure, this is what you want it to do to prevent sneezing and runny nose, but histamine is also the stimulant in your skin cells that tells them to release oil, keeping your skin from becoming dry and irritated.
#4 – Cell Phones
Stop for a moment and consider the last 24 hours with your cell phone. How many times have you sat it down? Was it always in a clean place, or was it potentially picking up bacteria and grime. When was the last time you cleaned your phone? In a society that is SO cell phone reliant, it’s surprising that this topic is almost always overlooked. Every time you place your phone to your ear, any bacteria, dirt, and germs that are on the phone are transferred directly to your skin. You can prevent this by cleaning your phone daily with an antibacterial wipe or using a Bluetooth headset to keep the phone away from your face.
#5 – Smoking
This should be an obvious one with all the health warnings regarding smoking, yet it still deserves to be mentioned on this list. If lung cancer and heart disease aren’t already reasons enough to butt out, smoking has also been associated with premature aging. This means more wrinkles and uneven skin tone.
#6 – Daily Shower
It has already been made known by many experts that daily showers can dry out and damage your hair, but now the word is getting out that it may also be causing long-term damage to your skin. Regular, prolonged exposure to hot water can lead to dryness, resulting in irritation, itching, flaking, redness and even an increase in eczema. You can prevent this by limiting how often you shower, turning down the heat a bit, or applying moisturizer following every shower.
#7 – Spending Too Much Time in the Pool
While there are steps that you can take to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun, most pool goers don’t realize that the chlorine they are constantly exposing themselves to can also cause skin damage. A quick dip won’t cause you a problem, but long-term exposure can strip the natural oils from your skin causing it to be dry, flaky, irritated, itchy and overly sensitive.
#8 – Window Seat on an Airplane
If you’re booking a flight and you’re like me, you probably make a point of booking the window seat so that you can enjoy the view, however, experts warn that seat may come at a cause. While the windows of an airplane are designed to protect you from the increased UVB radiation as you hit higher altitudes, they aren’t nearly as effective at protecting you from UVA rays. Experts recommend always wearing sunscreen when you’re on a flight.
#9 – Too Much Sugar
In a country with a growing sugar epidemic, it’s more important than ever to consider the ways that sugar impacts our overall health and well-being. Too much sugar impacts the hormonal balance in your body, leading to damage of the skin’s collagen and elastin fibers. What does that mean for your skin? It’s going to be increasingly brittle and inelastic, leading to significant long-term damage.
#10 – Wearing the Wrong Glasses
If you’re someone who wears glasses on an ongoing basis, take note. Not only do you need to pay attention to which glasses you’re wearing to optimize your eyesight and boost your style but wearing the wrong glasses (or failing to wear your glasses) can also lead to skin damage. When someone is straining to see properly the first thing that they often do is squint, but chronic squinting can cause creases and wrinkles around the eyes.
#11 – Sleeping on Your Side
Many healthcare professionals will argue that there are benefits to sleeping on your side as opposed to stretching out on your stomach, but they fail to take into consideration the way that sleeping on one side all night every night can have on your skin. With your face pressed into the pillow, you can actually increase the appearance of wrinkles and vertical creases along the cheeks and chin. The best way to sleep for your health and your skin care? On your back.
#12 – Skipping the Sunscreen
This is another point that should be common sense to many, but you can’t have a whole post discussing possible skin damage without referencing one of the biggest offenders. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause significant skin damage and increase your risk of developing skin cancer. While you can take steps such as limiting your time in the sun or wearing clothing that prevents too much exposure, one of the easiest steps to take is simply to wear sunscreen.
#13 – Failing to Take Makeup Off at Night
You come home from a long night out and the last thing you want to do is stop to wash your face before climbing into your warm, comfortable bed. While this may seem like an inconvenience at the time, washing your makeup off before bed can prevent long-term damage. Not only can sleeping in your makeup lead to eye irritation, but it can clog your pores resulting in blemishes and breakouts.