6 Healthy Habits That Can Backfire On Your Skin
Changing Your Diet
You started making protein shakes, stocked your kitchen with energy bars, and signed up for a juice cleanse, and now your skin has never been blotchier or more broken out. A dramatic change in what or how you eat, such as going on a juice cleanse (BTW, don't), can cause your skin to negatively react because you aren't getting proper nutrition, says dermatologist Michele Green M.D. Protein bars, for example, can cause acne because of the increase in sugar and carbs to your diet. More inflammation in the body increases oil production, which leads to pimples.
The fix: You can treat the current breakouts with a skin-care routine for acne-prone skin, which includes a benzoyl peroxide-based spot treatment. But then, you'll want to determine the underlining cause. The easiest place to start? Try cutting down on your sugar intake. If that doesn't clear it up, consider seeing your derm, your primary-care doc, or a dietitian.
Getting Routine Facials
Weekly facials at a MedSpa might sound like a proactive anti-aging plan, but going all-out with your skin-care routine can be hard on your skin, especially if you exfoliate too much. Facials aren't inherently bad, but getting one that's too harsh for your skin or too many in short amount of time causes skin irritation. (P.S. How to Tell If Your Esthetician Is Giving You a Quality Facial)
The fix: Talk to your dermatologist about the right type of facial for your skin type and how often to get them because every facial has a different purpose and there's no one rule to follow regarding frequency, says Dr. Green. She also cautions about taking advice directly from the spa as they might pressure you to buy their products and services and don't always have your skin's best interest in mind. While you're at it, take a look at these signs you're using too many beauty products.
Talking On the Phone
Making a pact to call rather than text your friends and family is admirable, but all that face time with your iPhone is transferring lots of breakout-causing gunk to your cheeks. With your phone attached to you at all time, just think about all the surfaces it touches on a daily basis, making it a breeding ground for bacteria. So it's easy to see how pressing the phone against your face transfers those germs and causes clogged pores and breakouts.
The fix: To reiterate, your phone is gross, so Dr. Green recommends cleaning your phone at least once a week with a cleansing wipe to help prevent the bacteria from transferring to your face. You should also check out this video for a step-by-step guide to cleaning your phone.
Using Too Much Hand Sanitizer
You've probably heard that this is the worst flu season in nearly a decade, so you stocked up on hand sanitizer to protect yourself, right? Well, the alcohol in hand sanitizer strips the skin's barrier of essential proteins, lipids, and good bacteria which can open you up to dryness, irritation, and even infection. (Pst, here's everything you need to know about your skin microbiome.
The fix: Simply wash your hands instead, says Dr. Green. Then, consider adding probiotic skin-care products to your routine to replace that healthy bacteria.
Starting a New Prescription
You started taking the medication your primary care doctor prescribed and the next thing you knew your skin had a freak-out. It makes sense—medication is one of the five common reasons you might be breaking out. It's not uncommon for a new prescription to cause acne, dryness, or rashes.
The fix: Adjusting or stopping your prescription (at least, without consulting your doctor first) is not a good idea, so it's best to treat the skin side effects topically, says Dr. Green. Your dermatologist can prescribe cortisone creams for rashes and OTC products for breakouts and dry patches.
Becoming a Gym Rat
You're hooked on the latest boutique fitness studio, and pretty soon you're going five times a week. Hop in the shower to wash off the sweat, and you'll probably notice acne and clogged pores on your chest and back. This is likely due to the combination of tight clothing and sweat that clogs pores and creates pimples.
The fix: Start using a loofa and body wash with alpha hydroxy acids to unclog pores and eliminate acne, recommends Dr. Green. You can also try swapping you usually spandex workout clothes with looser styles in cotton or other breathable fabrics to prevent breakouts from forming in the first place.