5 Bad Habits You Didn’t Know You Had

By on July 1, 2012

Completely You: Appearance

By Sally Wadyka for Completely You

You’re conscientious about your health, so of course you try to avoid obvious bad habits — like pimple-popping — and do everything right. But sometimes you can do your skin and pearly whites more harm than good, without even knowing it. Here, five things that sound like good skin and oral health practices — and why they really aren’t.

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Bad Habit No. 1: You wash your face every morning and evening.

For people with oily (or even combination) skin, twice-daily washing is probably the best approach. But if you have dry skin, that may be too much. Dry types should wash with a gentle cleanser in the evening and just splash the face with water in the morning. And even oily skin types need to be careful. “Over-washing can remove too much oil, leading to a paradoxical response from your body to overproduce oil,” explains Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in the dermatology department at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital. “And that can actually lead to breakouts.”

Bad Habit No. 2: You stick to the same skin care regimen.

It’s a good idea to be consistent with your skin care. But you also have to be ready to adapt. “In areas where winter weather is dry and cold, you may need to switch to products that are gentler,” recommends Zeichner. Swap out your foaming cleanser or soap for a hydrating cream cleanser, and upgrade from a light lotion to a thicker moisturizer.

Bad Habit No. 3: You only moisturize when your skin feels dry.

Moisturizers do more than just hydrate. They also help repair your skin’s barrier so that it doesn’t get as easily irritated by cold, heat, and lack of humidity, so all skin types can benefit from a daily dose of the right cream or lotion. Look for an oil-free formula if you have oily skin, or a heavier one that contains petrolatum if you have dry skin. Of course, everyone can benefit from a moisturizer that contains at least SPF 30, even in winter.

Bad Habit No. 4: You assume more is better.

“Sometimes combinations of products complement each other. But often layering on too many lotions, serums and creams just causes irritation,” says Zeichner. His advice: Check the ingredient labels on your products and don’t combine those that contain retinol, alpha-hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, vitamin C or benzoyl peroxide.

Bad Habit No. 5: You brush your teeth just twice (or once!) a day.

Yes, you need to brush every morning and every night. But if you routinely drink liquids that can easily stain your teeth (like coffee and red wine), it’s a good idea to brush quickly afterwards. If that’s not convenient, dentists recommend at least swishing some water around in your mouth so that staining liquids don’t have a chance to take hold.

Recognize these bad habits? Talk about it below or connect with us @Completely_You

Sally Wadyka is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in health and lifestyle topics. A former staff writer and
editor at such magazines as
Mademoiselle, Women’s Sports & Fitness, Vogue and Glamour, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Prevention, Martha Stewart Living and Real

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5 Bad Habits You Didn’t Know You Had