Wondering why you keep getting blemishes or why your skin consistently looks dull or uneven? The answers are actually quite obvious. For the most part, I think we can all agree that we know these things are bad for us, but we don’t actually know how bad. And even worse, most of us do these things regularly. We’re here to set you back on track. Let’s take a look at some of the most common things we do that may be affecting our complexion, and see how we can turn it around.
You’re popping your pimples. We’ll start with the most obvious. We all know it’s bad, but we all do it anyway. The damage comes from us doing it sloppily and incorrectly. Trying to force a pimple out when it’s not ready can do a ton of damage and cause inflammation, and you still may not even get that guy out of there. You also risk spreading bacteria from your hands onto your face, and spreading the bacteria from the gunk inside the pimple onto the surrounding area if you do indeed pop it.
The good news (since many of us may not be able to fully break this bad habit) is there is a way to do it more effectively, and with less damage. The best thing you can do is wait to pop until it is absolutely necessary. This means no more forcing out blackheads, no more prying at forming red bumps — wait until there is a clear white head that only needs a slight amount of pressure to pop. Use two q-tips to apply pressure to either side to reduce the amount of bacteria you may transfer. Immediately sterilize the area with something like tea tree oil after popping; this will also speed up the healing process, too.
You’re staring at a screen all day. This may be surprising, but staring at your phone or computer screen all day isn’t only bad for your vision, sleeping patterns, sanity, etc. It’s also bad for your skin. It has to do with the UV rays that are emitted from the screens, which are able to penetrate down to your collagen storage. This leads to visible aging and skin damage. Excessive exposure to UV-producing screens may affect preexisting photosensitivity problems like lupus, which can cause rashes or fever to spring up.
Don’t be too worried just yet, most modern screens have become better equipped to lessen the transmission of UV rays, but most older models aren’t. If you’re worried about potential damage to your skin, you can put a UV filter on your monitor to block some of the light from emitting.
You’re eating badly. It’s hard to stick to a diet, especially when things like mozzarella sticks exist in the world. However, trying to limit the amount of unhealthy food that goes into our body reduces the amount of blemishes that come out. Your body excretes toxins and waste through your skin, so what goes in must come out right? Greasy food leads to greasy skin. Additionally, foods that are high in sugars have a tendency to cause early wrinkling and interfere with collagen elasticity, making it stiffer and giving you that sunken, flat look. Sugar can also cause inflammation that can make existing acne even worse.
Don’t think you can give up sugar completely? We have a solution. Even if you can’t eliminate your indulgence foods, you can bump up the amount of foods you consume in which the skin benefits are plentiful. Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, or healthy fats like avocado all work wonders for your skin. Eating foods that contain a lot of water content like cucumber, celery, or citrus fruits can also help with hydration and flushing out that bad stuff.
You aren’t getting enough beauty sleep. Skin repairs itself during sleep, so common logic tells us the less we sleep, the less our skin is able to improve itself. Additional damage can be made, too. Sleep deprivation reduces the efficiency of the barrier function in skin, leading to decreased moisture levels and skin dryness. Sleep deprivation also leads to increased production of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is detrimental to collagen production and elastin. During sleep, your body also boosts blood flow to your skin, which contributes to that “glow” we always hear of. However, lack of sleep may lead to a dull, lifeless complexion because of the lack of blood flow to the skin surrounding your face. When people talk about having a dull complexion, it’s probably due to sleep deprivation. Make sure you get enough sleep so you can say “I woke up like this!”. The recommended amount of time is about 8 hours.
You aren’t drinking enough water. Your skin is an organ, and has to be taken care of like one. We are told day in and day out that drinking water is one of the best things we can do for our body, but it’s not only the inside that needs this hydration, it’s the outside too! Skin dehydration is real! By drinking water you can rejuvenate your skin from the inside out. Your skin draws this moisture in from the rest of your body to hydrate itself. Without adequate amounts of water, your skin will quite literally dry out. You can probably imagine how this looks: dry, cracked, full of fine lines. Water helps to flush out toxins while plumping and hydrating your skin, which helps to fight acne and gives you a natural, healthy glow. Stick to the classic 8 by 8 rule, (8 8oz. glasses a day) and your skin will be glowing. You don’t have to stop there, though—you can never drink too much water!