7 Healthy Habits For Great Skin
By Clare Oparo
When it comes to skin care, we can get distracted by ingredients and products, forgetting the benefits of healthy skin care habits. Well, we shouldn’t. Consistent healthy skin habits are just as important as the products we use. Whether it comes to acne, dehydration or aging well; these tips will get the best results out of your skin care routine.
1. Cleansing Your Face Everyday
Never underestimate the importance of properly cleansing your face, especially before you go to bed. It’s never a good idea. Your face goes through a lot every day and cleansing will get rid of makeup, dirt, sweat and dead skin cells that would otherwise lead to breakouts and a dull tired complexion.
Cleansing also prepares your skin for the next vital steps in your routine, letting whatever beneficial ingredients like antioxidants, easily penetrate, heal and repair the skin.
I would not advocate the daily use of just makeup wipes either; you need to properly cleanse your face. Asia introduced the world to the art of the double cleanse. The double cleanse is a gentle yet thorough way to ensure a clean face. Basically, first, you use an oil cleanser to remove an oil based impurities like makeup, sunscreen and excess sebum (your skin’s natural oil). Next, use a water based cleanser to remove the residue from the oil cleanse and any water based impurities like sweat.
The double cleanse will guarantee a wonderful fresh face and mascara free pillow. You can also take it a step further (erm, triple step?) and use a damp cotton round to make sure all your eye makeup is gone before hitting the hay! Falling asleep with eye makeup on could result in irritated eyes in the morning.
2. Gently Drying Your Face
We read it on wash off skin care labels all the time. “Gently pat dry.” This is extremely important. Constantly pulling and tagging your skin can cause broken capillaries which can only be dealt with using laser surgery. What a high price to pay for an avoidable mistake!
After gently massaging your cleanser(s) and rinsing your face with lukewarm water, use a clean face towel or disposable paper towel to gently pat your face dry (this is my preferred method). No tugging or pulling necessary. You can even let your face air dry!
If you prefer to use a towel, change your towels at least every other day. Warm humid bathrooms are great breeding grounds for bacteria.
3. Using Clean Bed Linen
For the love of cleanliness, don’t go through the joy of properly cleansing and drying your face only to sleep on a dirty, grimy pillowcase soaked with hair oil. Any bacteria that you have gotten rid of will just transfer from the pillowcase and probably result in breakouts. Change your pillowcases daily and your sheets at least once a week. If you can’t swap pillowcases daily, then at least cover the pillow with a clean fresh towel every night.
4. Washing Your Hands
Before you touch your face, wash your hands. Hands are great transfer vehicles for bacteria. Think about it, all day we are touching things; money, steering wheels, work surfaces…it can get icky really fast. This is why clean hands are a must before you cleanse your face or apply skin care.
Also, if you usually pick at spots on your face, dirty hands will spread the infection from one part of your face to the other. So, please stop!
5. Cleaning your Makeup Brushes
I believe you’re getting the gist now, (I’m a clean freak) if it touches your face, it must be clean, that includes tools. A dirty makeup brush not only applies old makeup to your clean skin, it also spreads old sebum and bacteria.
Once a week, clean your brushes with shampoo and warm water and let them air dry. While using your brushes, keep them in a separate container from the clean ones to avoid contamination. The separation will also make it easier at the end of the week, to know which ones to clean.
Oh and fun fact, a clean makeup brush applies better than a dirty one. You can read this article on Bustle to find out the 8 gross things that happen if you don’t clean your makeup brushes.
6. Refusing to believe that Beauty should hurt
Contrary to popular belief, beauty should not hurt. If you are using skin care that leaves your skin irritated, itchy, red, raw or painful, that is not normal. There is no getting used to this. You could be allergic to a certain ingredient in the formulation.
The exception to this is mild flaking after using some retinol treatments. In this case your skin actually is getting used to the new treatment. However even this has its limits. If your skin is red, inflamed, sensitive or even painful, stop that particular retinol treatment immediately.
7. Properly Storing Your Skin Care
Unless it’s a cleanser, bathrooms are not ideal place to keep your skin care. They are warm, humid and all microbes you could ask for breed and thrive. Keep your leave-on products like moisturizers, serums, masks and essences away from the bathroom and in cool dry places out of direct sunlight and heat. Masks and eye creams kept in the fridge are a welcome, cool application to bring any swelling/inflammation down.
What are some of your healthy skin habits?
Clare Oparo is the Founder and Editor of Wolf + Moroko, Africa’s Savvy Beauty Resource. She loves skin care, thought provoking literature and fabulous shoes.