Featured Image: Photo by Isi Akahome on Unsplash
5 Bad habits you need to QUIT for better skin
The pressure to look good in this digital era is overwhelmingly humongous. A lot of us, unfortunately, are victims of the beauty industry which never cease to come up with more sophisticated propaganda to steal your money in the day light. I feel that it is your power of consumerism that can either triumph or doom you. Hence, it is ultimately important for you to know what exactly you need, what you don’t and what are just complete waste of time/money.
Sometimes, you don’t even need to spend a penny in order to keep your skin better and happier. Sometimes, it is about stopping habits that you have now -the ones that might make your skin dull, clogged it with black heads, break outs or just overwhelmingly sensitive.
#1. Stop washing your face in the shower
Most of us probably have a shower at home and we may use it up to several times per day. In order to make life easier, we do try to do it all in that short span of time. And that includes washing our delicate face. Not that you don’t know this already, but, each time you shower, some water bound to remain in the shower head which will be stagnant until you shower again for the next few hours or days. This provide perfect environment for bacterial growth which is NOT at all harmful to health should you have a good immune system. However, to clean your face under running water coming from the shower head would increase the risk of your face getting irritated, sensitive, with more acne formation. In addition, the pressure coming from the shower directly onto your face will not help either. Remember, your facial skin is very delicate, so treat it as such.
Suggestions: The best way to clean your face is using a muslin clothes that is soaked in warm water. The steam from the clothes will help to unclog your pores and the texture will act as a minor exfoliation. It is very gentle to use even on daily basis. Make sure you wash them on daily basis for optimal result.
#2. Stop using facial wipes
There are a lot of facial wipes out there. Organic, vegan -you name it. All for the sake of convenience and to lure you into the biggest trap of beauty industry. Today, if you go to any beauty shops, grab a facial wipes of any brands and look at the ingredients list. I would be surprise if any of them has less than 10 ingredients. In order for it to do similar jobs as its peer (liquid, cream, gel), wipes had to be formulated in a way that it is able to ‘clean’ your face using a few square centimetres surface area. Most of them do contain alcohol which dries up and irritates your skin. Furthermore, they need to have a longer shelf-life and hence has a lot of added preservatives, which if used daily, could be harmful to your skin. We do not advocate our patients who have eczema, rosacea or those on roaccutane to use it. If you could, please do your skin a favour and avoid it all together.
Suggestions: If time is limited for you and is the key factor why you’re using facial wipes, please consider Micellar water instead. They have become much more affordable now and very easy to use -even with your eyes closed next to the bed! However, they still do NOT replace your old-fashion water cleansing facial routine. If anything at all, just spend 5 minutes of your life today to clean your face properly for a lifetime happiness.
#3. Stop touching your face
This has become my number one rule in my life for the last decade. Even my husband knows he can’t touch my face -just a peck on the lips or cheeks are fine. We are all people of habits and we do the same thing over and over again, on daily basis. However, the habit of touching your own face is probably the first habit that needs to go -should you ever decided to let go of one. We are very privileged to have our fingers to complete our tasks that require fine motor skills. We use them for typing, writing, to holding the bus handles and for social interactions. Everyday, we probably have about 1500 bacteria on every square centimetre of our palms. Imagine rubbing those wonderful creatures on your face after you have cleaned it diligently. This is probably too obvious to mention but those bacteria will affect the texture of your skin, making it bumpier, and more acne-prone. Some people also have the habit to dig into their own skin, be it a pimple or black/white heads. I generally do not advise to squeeze anything from your face as it may leave unsightly scars or cause more indentations.
Suggestions: If you have been picking on your face for quite sometime, this is probably a difficult habit to break. Should you have a pimple which bothers you, get an acne patch. I have been using the brand Nexcare for many years now. It has consistently gives me good result. They are relatively cheap, have some treatment properties and help you to avoid touching them. Just put it on the acne spot and you are ready to go. While we are on this hot topic, I would also like to recommend that you change your pillow cases every week and avoid squeezing your phone onto your face when answering phone call. Dewy smooth skin, come to momma!
#4. Stop staying up late
We are so accustomed to lack of sleep these days that I felt the need to address this in a separate bullet point. Of course work, kids, social life -gets in the way. However, if you spend too much of your time on social media, chatting through various means, watching television/youtube then you have no excuse for your late nights. Tightens your social media schedule, cut off the TV cable and switch off notifications after 9pm. Sleeping enough and sleeping well is key to a happier life. Which means, you need no or less caffeine, more productive in your work and able to cope with stress much better. In addition, your skin will thank you. Sleeping enough has proven to improve your skin barrier and slow the process of wrinkle formation. Prevention is definitely better than cure!
Suggestions: In addition to sleeping better, having an overall healthy lifestyle is encouraged. Cutting down your cigarettes and alcohol intake will dramatically improves the quality of your skin as well as drinking plenty of water. If you find difficulties in doing these small little tasks, set a reminder on your phone. The app PRODUCTIVE (for iOS) is something I have used for a while and it helps in encouraging good habits. The most challenging habit to get into for me, personally, is to drink enough water everyday. I overcome this by rewarding myself with a cute water infuser like this one here. Not only that it is beautiful to look at but also, the taste is better than just your plain water. WIN!
#5. Stop playing under the sun
Certain countries have sunny warm weather all year round, such as in South East Asia. Ironically, Asians love bleached/fairer complexion and will be avoiding any inch of UV rays there are. Hence, they are more prone to Vitamin D deficiency. In more developed countries on the other hand, darker/tan complexion is preferred as it portrays that people have enough wealth to travel abroad to get every inch of UV rays they could get. As we all know, sun has UVA and UVB rays which are harmful. Prolong exposure would pre-dispose you to skin cancer especially if you have skin type I, red hair and light-coloured eyes. The key is to keep under shade if at all possible (from 10am-4pm), make sure you wear long protective sleeves, hat and sunglasses especially if you are going for a long walk/running/hike where re-application of sunscreen is challenging.
Suggestions: Talking about sunscreen (will write a dedicated blog post about this), the key is putting on adequate amount and re-apply every 2-3 hours. SPF 30-50 is sufficient and I do have separate sunscreen for my face and body (will explain why in next blog post). As a rule of thumb, use your sunscreen daily if possible, even during cloudy days. This has fast becoming my favourite sunscreen spray mist (La Roche Posay) as it has very fine aerosol particles that distribute evenly and leaves no white casts. It is small enough to fit inside my cross bag and I have some sort of spray sunscreen with me at all times for top-up!
Which one is your most difficult bad habits to break? Don’t overwhelmed yourself. Take one step a day and keep moving forward! Today, you’re already one step ahead for a happier skin!