You're most likely doing great things for your skin, but you might be sabotaging it in ways you didn't realize.
There are a lot of surprising ways you might be destroying your skin—even if you have a best beauty routine with the best miracle creams.
Tanning, drinking too much alcohol and smoking are all obvious things you should avoid, but what about the seemingly innocuous, everyday things that pile up over time?
Here are 10 bad habits that I had to quit for a clear, glowing complexion:
Eating excess sugar
Overdoing it with the candy and cupcakes is easy to do, but just remember that sugar is your skin's #1 enemy.
Excess sugar triggers an inflammatory response in your body that breaks down collagen and elastin in your skin, the two things that keep it looking young and supple.
The majority of your diet should be focused on whole, nutrient-dense foods like leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and organic protein.
Since I have a sweet tooth, I opt for a piece of fruit with some honey, nice cream or a piece of dark chocolate to satisfy my cravings.
Not hydrating enough
Everyone knows the importance of drinking water, but you probably aren't hydrating frequently or consistently enough. Getting adequate hydration is one of the first steps to keeping your skin healthy and glowing.
Water transports nutrients to places they're needed most in the body. It also flushes toxic chemicals from your system and promotes healthy blood flow.
Start your day with at least one glass of filtered water upon waking. I also incorporated more hydrating fruits and veggies to my everyday (i.e. cucumbers, romaine lettuce, celery, watermelon, etc).
Compromising your beauty sleep
Not getting adequate quality sleep affects your cell turnover rate, which in turn makes your skin look sad and dull.
When your melatonin levels drop and your circadian rhythm gets thrown off, it really messes with your skin and body.
If you have trouble sleeping at night, try to stay off the electronic devices. The blue wavelength light suppresses melatonin, which makes it harder to fall asleep.
Create your own sleep routine to support overnight skin functions—it's critical for proper repair and renewal.
I set regular bed and wake up times, and shut everything down at least an hour before bedtime.
To sleep deeper, I block out all light using blackout curtains—then I open them first thing in the morning. Natural sunlight helps regulate your circadian rhythm, so I get in as much as I can before I start my day.
To reduce the effects of water loss, I drink water an hour or two before bed.
Using gritty exfoliators... or not exfoliating at all
Exfoliating your skin is critical for a healthy, glowing complexion. As you get older, your skin cell turnover starts to slow way down, leaving dead skin cells sitting on the surface of your skin—which leaves your skin dry, dull and wrinkled looking.
Give your skin a good scrub to slough off dead skin cells to get a more vibrant complexion. Exfoliating also increases the absorption of your skincare products, which makes them much more effective.
Avoid gritty scrubs that contain rough exfoliators and harsh peels to avoid irritation and inflammation. Use gentle ones no more than a couple of times a week (once a week if you have sensitive skin).
Not wearing SPF daily
The first line of defense should be shade, protective clothing and avoidance of the midday sun, but those options aren't necessarily realistic.
Slather up with sunscreen to protect your skin's collagen and connective tissues. Excessive exposure to the sun can lead to loss of elasticity, increased fine lines and wrinkles, broken blood vessels, sunspots, and hyperpigmentation—which speed up the overall effects of aging.
Choose a mineral sunscreen with an SPF of 15-50, depending on your skin tone and intensity of the sun. Make sure it contains avobenzone, zinc and titanium oxide. These ingredients provide broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection and are gentle enough for everyday use.
Apply it to your face and any exposed skin from the neck down—all year round, even during the winter.
Leaving your makeup on overnight
One of the worst things you can do to your skin is to sleep with your makeup on. Leaving it on overnight creates serious buildup of oil and environmental pollutants, which settle into your skin causing breakouts.
It can also leave an uneven surface for your next makeup application, even if you wash your face the next morning.
Naked, clean skin is happy skin, so give your skin a break and let it breathe at night. It's important to give it time to properly and efficiently restore itself overnight.
I keep a pack of face wipes next to my bedside table and in my bag, so I'm always covered.
Wearing makeup to the gym
Makeup creates a barrier that mixes with oil and sweat, which clogs your pores and glands. Your skin needs to be able to breathe while you're sweating it out at the gym.
When sweat is mixed with makeup (including sweat-proof makeup), it creates an ideal environment for skin irritation—like breakouts and blackheads.
To avoid this, cleanse your face before working out. If you insist on wearing makeup, use lightweight products that are natural and organic—and cleanse immediately after your workout.
Using dirty makeup brushes
Dirty makeup brushes become breeding grounds for bacteria, clogging your pores, irritating your skin and causing breakouts.
You're basically spreading dust, dirt and oil from your face—into your makeup—and back to your face again.
Using a dirty, bacteria-infected brush on your face can cause an overload of microbes which is overwhelming for your skin. It can cause bumps and irritation around the areas you use your brushes, so regular cleaning maintenance is important.
I use a good quality brush cleaner and shampoo once a month for deep cleaning.
Not reading the ingredient lists of your beauty products
Conventional beauty products contain ingredients that can irritate your skin and clog your pores.
Since your skin absorbs around 60% of what you put on it, it's important to use the safest products possible.
Avoid products with fragrance and added preservatives, especially if your skin is extra sensitive or dry—stick to products that are natural and organic.
I use as many certified organic products as I can, as well as natural oils to moisturize and cleanse my face. It's an extra investment, but well worth it in the long run.
Cleansing your skin correctly is an important step for maintaining glowing skin. The key is to remove impurities that can clog your pores without overcleansing. It strips away your skin's natural protective oils.
An evening cleanse is crucial to removing dirt, oil, makeup and environmental pollutants, but a morning cleanse isn't always necessary. The oils that your skin produces while you're sleeping hydrate and balance, so do a quick rinse with lukewarm water to lock them in.
Hope these tips help! :) x