8 Bad Skin Habits to Break

If your skin looks older, duller, and more uneven than it should, bad choices could be to blame. Break these common habits to bring out big improvements in your skin.

1. Tanning or Skipping the SPF

Shielding your skin from the sun is the best way to battle premature aging. You need a minimum of SPF 15 to 30 for everyday wear, plus more if you're going to be out in the sun. Tanning—at the beach or the salon—is not the best idea. If you think that you need a sun-kissed glow, get it from a sunless tanner, spray, or makeup bronzer.

2. Over- or Under-Washing Your Face

Unless you have very oily skin, you only need to wash your face once a day. Use a gentle cleanser at night to remove the day's dirt and makeup. In the morning, simply splash your face with water.

3. Layering on Wrong—or Too Many—Products

It's tempting to pick up several skincare products to target different problems or select the heavy-duty astringent designed for oily skin to tackle occasional breakouts. But a gentle cleanser, day and night moisturizer, and weekly exfoliant are probably all you need. Combine too many products at once and you could parch your skin. Choose products that are formulated for your skin type and keep it simple.

4. Missing Your Mole Check Or Dermatologist Visit

Be sure to perform a monthly mole check and have an annual professional check-up to ensure your skin is healthy and you have no signs of skin cancer. Most problems are highly treatable when caught early, but can be disfiguring—and even deadly—if caught too late.

5. Neglecting Your Neck and Chest

Many of us take great care of our face, but skip our neck and décolleté even though they have equal exposure to the elements. Be sure to cleanse, moisturize, and protect your neck and chest, or you could find them aging 10 years ahead of your face. 

6. Picking Zits

Yes, that giant white head looks unsightly. But will an infected red spot that lasts three times as long look more attractive? When you squeeze or pick at pimples, you merely spread bad bacteria around and into your pores, sowing the seeds for more breakouts. Spot treat your zits with an acne cleanser to speed up the shrinking process, but don't touch them.

7. Using Old Makeup and Dirty Applicators

Makeup that's been opened for more than a year—six to eight months for foundation and mascara—belongs in the garbage. As soon as it's opened, makeup starts to grow potentially harmful bacteria. And fresh products are only as clean as the applicator used to apply them, so clean or swap out those sponges and brushes, too.

8. Bad Lifestyle Choices

The wages of smoking, drinking too much, and not getting enough sleep will show up on your skin sooner or later. Take better care of yourself and you'll take better care of your skin.




American Academy of Dermatology. "Cosmeceutical Facts and Your Skin" Web. American Academy of Dermatology Public Center. 2009. http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/general_cosmeceutical.html 

Mayo Clinic. "Skin Care: 5 Tips for Healthy Skin" Web. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Nov. 12, 2009. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/skin-care/SN00003

Mayo Clinic. "Tanning Beds: Safer than the Sun." Web. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Oct 8, 2008. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tanning/HQ01487