With a plethora of product options and knowledge available to us at the click of a button, it’s no wonder we have no idea where to start when it comes to our skincare habits. The reality: It may be simpler than you think. Read on to learn about the 7 skincare habits that you need to be following, and ditch the overwhelming 100-step routine.
Let’s face it, your phone is basically your best friend: always at your side whenever you need it, there to help in any way it can. Your most used resource, however, carries more germs than a toilet seat, and 1 in 6 phones actually contain fecal matter! If this isn’t disturbing enough, imagine all the surfaces you or your phone touches throughout the day. It’s a lot. Bring that phone up to your face, close to your mouth, nose and eyes, and we have bigger problems. Not only does an unclean phone increase your chances of contracting an illness, but the introduction of germs and bacteria onto your face can cause breakouts as well (see Step 2 for more details on these unwanted breakouts). Depending on your phone, there are a few different ways you can keep it clean: use a microfiber cloth (most phones come with one), even dabbing a bit of rubbing alcohol or even just water will help sanitize your phone. If you lost or threw away the microfiber cloth (what in the hell will I ever use that for), you can always use a cotton swab instead. A once-a-day cleaning should do the trick!
Step 2: Don’t Touch Your Face
If touching your cell phone to your face wasn’t bad enough, touching your hands to your face most certainly is. Maybe you like to rest your chin in your palm a lot during the work or school day, or maybe pick at a newly forming pimple. As we all know, hands carry loads of germs and bacteria. These bacteria, when transferred to the face, can cause pores to clog and become irritated. Touching your face can also spread bacteria from existing pimples, creating even more breakouts! And what’s worse, pressure and friction from that resting chin on your palm can cause breakouts called acne mechanica. The solution? Wash your hands before any necessary face touching, and avoid rubbing or picking at your face.
Step 3: Remove Makeup Daily
There’s nothing like stepping outside first thing in the morning with that fresh face of makeup on, clean and crisp. But as the day progresses, your face is subject to dirt and oil buildup under all that makeup. By nighttime, your skin is begging to be cleansed, so don’t skip this important skincare habit. Your makeup should be removed before bedtime so that the skin can rejuvenate overnight while you sleep. Leaving makeup cake on all night can cause premature aging, breakouts, rash, infection and may lead to a duller complexion. Keep your skin healthy by using a gentler cleanser for normal to dry skin, or an exfoliating cleanser with alpha-hydroxy acids for oily skin before you hit the sheets, and again in the morning. Had a late night? Keep some cleansing facial wipes near your bed for those evenings when you just can’t keep your eyes open any longer.
Step 4: Moisturize Daily with SPF
After morning cleansing, the next and crucial step to any healthy skincare routine is to moisturize, just don’t forget the SPF! And no, we don’t mean lathering that nasty smelling, super oily, body sunscreen with an SPF of 100 all over your face. Many daily facial moisturizers come equipped with SPF 15 or even SPF 30 already in them, and they smell good and won’t clog your pores like body sunscreen might. An SPF moisturizer should be worn all day every day, even in winter or on cloudy days, because UV rays are always present. We recommend using an SPF of at least 30 to give you the best protection from harmful UV-ray causing cancers and skin lesions. And, to give your skin the most effective overnight rejuvenation, make sure to apply a nighttime moisturizing cream to keep skin from aging and drying out (it’s okay to skip the SPF here though).
Step 5: Don’t Over-Exfoliate
Are you someone who scrubs as hard as they can at their face with the intention that it will get cleaner? While an occasional light scrub should be done two to three times per week, you should avoid excessive scrubbing or harsh scrubs. Exfoliating too much can strip the natural oils from your skin and remove the top layer of skin before it has time to heal, all of which dry out the skin and lead to breakouts. Similarly, using too harsh of a scrub, such as sugar granules, can cause small tears in the facial skin which put you at risk of introducing new bacteria into your body, leading to potential infection. In order to remove debris and dead skin properly, we recommend using a “micro-exfoliating” scrub, which is more delicate on the skin.
Step 6: Eat a Healthy Diet
It should come at no surprise that eating healthy leads to healthy skin. The best foods for the skin are antioxidant rich foods, which help repair the skin by reducing inflammation and increasing collagen production, allowing the skin to correct any visible damage. Foods that promote healthy skin include: berries, tomatoes, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, green leafy vegetables, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, and fatty fish such as salmon. Try to avoid a diet that is high in processed or refined sugars or carbs, and stay away from unhealthy fats, such as trans and saturated fats.
Step 7: Clean Makeup Brushes & Sponges
This skincare habit gets commonly overlooked, but it is absolutely necessary for glowing skin. Continuous use of makeup brushes and sponges accumulate skin cells, dirt, and old makeup, all of which harbor bacteria and lead to clogged pores. Be sure to clean your brushes and sponges once a week, and eye utensils every two weeks. To wash your makeup utensils, simply use water and a gentle soap, or you can get a brush cleanser specifically made to clean makeup utensils. Clean utensils are not only better for your skin, but apply makeup better than dirty ones (which can leave unfortunate streaks and patches). Your skin will thank you for keeping things clean.