In my years as a dermatologist serving the Tucson area, I’ve noticed the same skincare concerns popping up over and over again among patients. Here are some little mistakes we all make that can add up to significant problems for our skin if we don’t catch them early:
- Not removing makeup before bed: Mom was right about this one. Keeping your makeup on overnight clogs pores, which can contribute to acne — no matter how old you are. Sleeping with eye makeup on can also cause eye irritation and even infection. Cleansing pads or towelettes can be quick fixes on those nights when you’re just too tired to stand at the sink, but they aren’t long-term substitutes for washing your face.
- Not wearing sunglasses: Good-quality sunglasses can protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays, but did you know they can keep your skin beautiful, too? When our eyes are shielded from bright light, we squint less — and when we squint less, we’re not as likely to develop crow’s feet. Large lenses can protect the delicate skin around your eyes, too.
- Using too harsh a cleansing regimen: Good skincare is about balance. Just as not cleaning our skin adequately can cause problems, so can cleaning it too much. Harsh cleansers can overdry skin, stripping it of its natural oils and leaving it susceptible to acne and other conditions. Look for gentle, pH-balanced cleansers that are specifically developed for the face.
- Going unprotected in the evening: Think it’s OK to skip sunblock when you head out for an evening on the town? Think again! If you venture outside during the twilight hours, including dusk, your skin should be protected. Same goes for the morning if you’re a very early riser. Even if the sun doesn’t feel intense, its harmful ultraviolet rays are there. And because most tinted moisturizers, BB creams, and foundations now come formulated with sunblock, there’s no excuse for going naked.
- Smoking: Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs. It can wreak havoc on your skin, too. Tobacco byproducts that build up inside your body can cause skin to sag, dull, and discolor over time. Those telltale “smokers’ lines” around the lips can emerge as you age, even if you haven’t smoked in years. If you’re looking for something you can do right now that will benefit your entire body for life, quitting smoking is it.