Stop Skin Self-Sabotage: 7 New Habits to Benefit Skin Health

Author: Dr. Bobby Buka

It’s time to give another dose of special attention to creating new habits for your skin. In a previous post, we mentioned a few additional practices to avoid. Sidestepping the unhelpful is a great first step. Creating new habits – that’s where the change in our overall complexion happens. Consider these seven ways many of us self-sabotage our efforts for healthier skin and what we can do to turn the game around.

1. Stop Blasting the Hot Shower Water
Of course it feels like the perfect therapy, but extended showers using hot water can remove many of the natural oils beneficial to skin. If you’re dealing with any type of skin rash, hot water could increase irritation.

New habit: Turn down the shower water temperature just a bit and get out sooner. You’ll save water and your skin in the process.

2. Stop Aggressively Scratching Bug Bites
When insects bite, they inject venom into the skin causing irritation and allergic response. In the case of mosquitos, it’s their saliva that actually accomplishes this dark magic.  Scratching can be sweet relief, but usually complicates the issue, enlarging bumps and sores.

New Habit: Apply an antihistamine to the help reduce the itching and swelling. If you’d like to experiment with natural home remedies, consider adding an aloe vera plant to your collection. If you still can’t resist the impulse to scratch, cover the infected area to make it less available.

3. Don’t Leave the House Without Sunscreen
Yes, it may seem obvious, but that nearby star of ours shines in both summer and winter with the ability to burn and damage skin. Remember, the sun and skin cancer are related. No matter your age, your skin remains vulnerable to both UVA and UVB rays from the sun.

New Habit: Apply sunscreen, especially to the exposed areas like face and hands, as part of your post-shower regimen. Keep a small tube in your bag so you’re never caught without protection. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a 30 SPF and higher to protect from both types of sunrays.

4. Avoid Scrubbing Acne
Because acne is a hormonal condition, no amount of scrubbing will treat the cause or repair the skin. Scrubbing often will make things worse by increasing inflammation. When that happens, increased discomfort and irritation make it more difficult to use the products that do achieve results.

New Habit: Think of unclogging the pores more than scrubbing. Gentle cleansing should lead the efforts. A salicylic acid cleanser can stay right next to the sink. Stronger treatments can be prescribed when needed, but should never involve scrubbing.

5. Sheets and Pillowcases Need Your Attention
One of the more popular allergies and annoyances are dust mites. They are a relative of the spider and feed on dead flakes of skin. That means we are all targets where we sleep. In addition to these hungry pests, our pillowcases collect a high level of oils and dirt in a quick amount of time.

New Habit: Put pillowcases and sheets on your laundry list more often than you might think you need to. Washing these items in hot water once per week will eliminate dust mites and remove the oils known to clog your pores.

6. Secondhand Smoke? Run Away!
Yes of course smoking won’t help your cause. Secondhand smoking and the chemicals that exist in tobacco have a link to wrinkles, sagging skin and a number of other health problems.

New Habit: If you have not made the practice of excusing yourself from secondhand smoke, for the sake of your skin, move out of the line of fire.

7. Don’t Go to Sleep Without Washing Your Face
A full day out and about gives enough reason to cleanse before crashing on the pillow (pillow? don’t forget #5). Add to that makeup, buildup of oils and the many layers of contaminants of both urban and rural living – yep, the final face wash of the day should not be skipped.

New Habit: Keep a pack of no-rinse face wipes available for a quick and easy method of skin preservation and cleansing. If you choose only one time in the day to wash your face, make it before bedtime.