If you’re not a child - you’ll know the basics of how to care for your skin. Cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate … yada yada. Chances are that you’ve built your own basic skincare regime and are doing it daily. But are you doing it right? Sometimes, the wrong habits can actually worsen your skin condition. Are you guilty of the 5 habits below? And no - not all of these habits are directly related to your skincare routine!
Bad Habit #1: Using Overly Harsh Cleansers
Hands up if you’re a fan of the squeaky clean, super tight after-cleanse skin feeling? Hands up again - if you’re suffering from skin flakiness and angry acne, or red, bumpy, congested skin - even when you’re doing your very best to wash off all that dirt and grime multiple times a day.
You might think that harsh cleansers that strip dirt and oil from your skin are the best way to reduce sebum and prevent clogged pores from turning into annoying zits. It’s actually the opposite! Harsh cleansers often strip away the oils from the surface of your skin - which makes your skin think that it needs to produce more sebum to protect the skin. Cue - oilier skin and even more sebum buildup that starts to clog pores.
Over-cleansing with the wrong products can also damage the skin barrier - stripping skin of its protective lipids and damaging its microbiome. This can leave skin looking red, raw and easily irritated - turning healthy skin into sensitive skin.
If you’re guilty of over-cleansing and are suffering from its effects, switch out to a gentle cleanser that can also help to repair your skin barrier and improve your skin’s microbiome. Sometimes, just changing your cleanser can help to solve your skin problems.
Some gentle cleanser recommendations:
- SkinOrigin Cleansing Milk - a gentle, milky cleanser infused with ceramides and vitamin E to heal and repair skin.
- Phyris Intelli Gel - a mild gel cleanser containing probiotic extract to maintain skin hydration and rebalance the skin’s microbiome.
Bad Habit #2: Over-Exfoliating Your Skin
Yes - you’re actually using a suitable cleanser. Your skin feels lovely and soft after each cleanse. (yay!) But hey - you read somewhere that your skin needs exfoliation to look its best - softer and smoother and clearer right? So you scrub, and you peel and you exfoliate. Daily. Right?
Exfoliation is a good thing - skin cells often need some help to turnover and reveal newer, younger skin below. This is especially so as we age - mature skin regenerates slower due to slower metabolism. But too much of a good thing - is never a good thing.
A mild home exfoliation is really only recommended about once or twice a week, depending on your skin condition. This means that using a harsh exfoliant daily on your skin daily is a no-no! Imagine it as rubbing sandpaper on painted wood - over time, instead of simply smoothing out the paint surface, it starts to peel away the paint and starts thinning out the wood beneath.
Just like the above example, over-exfoliation can create micro-cracks in your skin barrier - damaging your skin’s natural protective layer and allowing harmful germs to disrupt your skin’s eco-system. The good news though - is that skin is alive and can regenerate. So exfoliate, but leave your skin cells with enough time to grow back, so that skin remains supple and healthy, not thin, weak and irritable.
For over-exfoliated skin, the first thing to stop exfoliating until your skin gets healthier. Ample hydration and repair is also a must. So slather on those hydrating/ repairing masks, put down your ultrasonic cleansing brushes, your scrubs and your AHAs, and give your skin time to heal. After which - keep your exfoliation routine to once a week.
If you want a faster fix - you can also try Chez Moi's SkinOrigin EPI Enhanced Treatment - this professional treatment contains amino acids (essential proteins), panthenol, caviar and trace minerals to soothe and repair the damaged skin barrier while giving it nourishment to heal quickly.
Bad Habit #3: Applying Comedogenic Make-Up
Hey, we get it - we all want perfect skin, as smooth and poreless as the K-pop stars we see. But sometimes, the best make-up, the one that creates the most flawless skin canvas, is actually the worst thing our skin needs. This is especially so if we’re not doing our daily cleansing diligently. (Sleeping with makeup on, anyone?)
Your skin needs to breathe. And covering it with layers of thick makeup daily is really not giving skin the best environment to thrive in. If you’re struggling with a bout of acne or clogged pores in areas you were never troubled by - think about when you started wearing makeup or the last time you changed your makeup. Did this happen after you switched to that BB cream? Or that gorgeous liquid foundation that can cover all your blemishes and hide your pores? Often, poorly formulated makeup clogs pores and traps dirt and sebum in them - creating a toxic environment where bacteria can thrive.
Makeup also oxidises as you have it on (you know, when your makeup looks different after a while, turning darker or more yellow) - reacting with the environment and also your sweat and oil to release oxidative molecules that can harm your skin. This can also contribute to poor skin health in the long run.
If you suspect your makeup or sunscreen is causing your skin problems, consider switching to mineral-based makeup or a non-comedogenic range free from unnecessary chemicals and preservatives.
Some non-comedogenic makeup recommendations: The Faith Insist range of makeup has proven non-comedogenic and non-oxidative ingredients that can benefit the skin. We also love Colorescience Mineral Makeup for their lightweight feel and natural coverage.
Bad Habit #4: Picking At Your Skin
If there’s one thing you’ve learnt from the frequent hand-washing public service announcements during the Corona Virus outbreak - it’s this. Your hands are full of germs. So why - why do you insist on picking at your skin at every opportunity?
Our hands and nails trap plenty of bacteria, so frequently touching your skin can cause a mildly clogged pore to develop into a full-blown acne pustule. (More pain for you) Or if you’re a zit picker - never able to see a pimple without popping it, forceful or wrong extraction of a pimple before its ready can often lead to bacteria spreading out beneath the skin, causing further inflammation beyond that one pore.
Also, after a heavier extraction, a layer of skin will sometimes develop over the extraction site, protecting the wound while it heals. This broken skin feels rough - but it will drop off naturally, leaving healed and unblemished skin below. Picking at the skin before this wound is fully healed only prolongs recovery time, and increases the chances of scarring. So don’t do it!
Leave skin extraction to the professionals. And just do your part with a suitable skincare routine - skin picking not included.
If you are in need of professional extraction: Try our Mix and Match Facial - a customised deep cleansing facial that degunks your pores and leaves skin cleaner and healthier.
Bad Habit #5: Sugar Overload
We know eating too much sugar can lead to diabetes - but did you know it can also harm your skin?
Take a moment to examine your daily intake of sugar. Does it exceed the World Health Organisation's (WHO's) recommended intake of 25g (6 teaspoons) a day? Don’t forget to count your sugary drinks like bubble tea in addition to your ice creams and cakes. Chances are - it’s hard not to exceed this limit when one cup of bubble tea already contains at least 8 teaspoons of sugar!
Why is too much sugar bad for skin? When we eat simple carbohydrates like refined sugars and white flour, our bodies quickly convert them into glucose. This causes an insulin spike - because our bodies need to produce a large amount of insulin to deal with the excess glucose in the bloodstream. Insulin spikes trigger glycation - a process where inflammatory enzymes bind to our skin cells, damaging skin cells and causing premature ageing. These insulin spikes also trigger the production of androgen hormones - hormones that increase sebum production and worsen acne.
To put it simply:
So what can you do?
Start by cutting down the amount of sugar in your drinks - these are often the ‘silent killers’ as we can ingest multiple cups of sugary drinks each day without thinking. If you must order your bubble tea - opt for lower sugar levels of 30% or less. And add ‘kosong’ to your vocabulary when you order your daily kopi or teh-c!
You should also incorporate whole foods in your diet - which are lower in the glycemic index (GI) - these foods are digested slowly over time, and so cause a much slower rise in blood sugar levels, which helps keep the dreaded insulin spikes at bay. So eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains and switch your white rice to brown rice. These natural and unprocessed foods are not just lower in GI - they also contain plenty of nutrients that can improve your skin and health.
This post was originally published on chezmoi.com.sg