You cleanse, tone, and moisturize every night, you’ve finally realised the importance of serums, and you even managed to do a face mask last weekend while binge-watching Orange Is The New Black. Good job! Unfortunately, we come bearing bad news—even with all your newly developed good skin habits, you could still be doing damage to your skin without even knowing it. Luckily, we’re here to help. We spoke with Dr. Gary Goldfaden, dermatologist and founder of the eponymous all-natural skincare line, and asked him to spill the top skin mistakes that people don’t know they’re making.
Flip through the slideshow and banish these skin-ruiners for good!
#1: Your Diet
“People have a hard time realizing that what you’re putting in your body reflects on your skin,” Goldfaden says. “I’m a firm believer that we are what we eat.” He recommends avoiding fatty, greasy foods, and loading up on foods that are high in antioxidants, like blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes, and leafy greens.
#2: Your Alcohol Intake
You might know that alcohol can be extremely drying when applied topically, but did you know that drinking it can have a negative effect on your dermis, too? “Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can definitely dry and dehydrate your skin,” Goldfaden says.
#3: Your Sweet Tooth
We hate this news as much as you do—consuming too much sugar can prematurely age your skin. The same is true with foods that have a high glycemic index. “Foods that have a high glycemic index—like potatoes, sugary cereals, and corn—spike your blood sugar and insulin levels, which can cause breakdown of protein and collagen in your skin and increase wrinkles,” Goldfaden says. “It’s very similar to what happens when free radicals from the sunlight break down your DNA and cause premature aging.”
#4: Your Lax SPF Use
“Most people don’t put on SPF frequently enough,” Goldfaden says. He suggests going by the 20-minute rule: “Put it on 20 minutes before you go outside, and if you’re outside for an extended period, put it on every 20 minutes after,” he says. We love Goldfaden’s Sun Visor SPF 30 ($45), which comes in an easy-to-use, gentle, non-aerosol spray form—so you have no excuse not to reapply.
#5: Your Smoker Friend
You might know by now that smoking is horrible for your skin, but what about secondhand smoke? “When you breathe in smoke—whether you’re smoking or secondhand—inot only prematurely ages your lungs and heart, but does the same thing to your skin,” Goldfaden says. “It tends to alter the DNA of your cells, change the connective tissue and collagen, and cause wrinkling.” Secondhand smoke and smog are all toxins that irritate your skin physically. (For our guide on taking care of your skin based on where you live, click here).
#6: Your Penchant For Popping Pimples
There’s no doubt about it—popping a whitehead (or two) can feel bizarrely satisfying—but it may be ruining your skin. “If you take a blackhead or whitehead and try to remove it, you’re producing an acne-like reaction to your skin by introducing new bacteria,” Goldfaden says. “The number one thing you should avoid is introducing bacteria or germs into your skin—if you push the grease and oil deeper into your skin, you could start a whole new reaction.”
Pictured: Ling Drying Lotion ($32)
#7: Your Shades (And Cellphone)
So you spent a good portion of your paycheck on those Karen Walker shades—you better make sure they’re not the cause for all your random breakouts. “Oil and bacteria build up on glasses and cellphones,” Goldfaden says. “In addition to that, whenever you set them down, you’re picking up bacteria and germs and introducing them to your skin, which can lead to irritation.” He recommends using a disinfectant wipe to clean your glasses and cellphone, which will keep them from clogging your pores.
Pictured: Karen Walker Harvest Sunglasses ($280)
#8: Your Love For Clarisonic
“Don’t get me wrong—I think exfoliating is great,” Goldfaden says. “I think it’s terrific to expose new skin, but you don’t want to overdo it. Once or twice a week is enough.” Over-exfoliating can leave your skin raw and exposed, making it more prone to infections and sensitivity.
Pictured: Clarisonic Mia ($99)
#9: Your Bikini Wax
We all want smooth limbs for the summer months, but Goldfaden warns against the dangers of waxing too often. “Every time you wax, you’re actually removing the outer layer of your skin,” he says. “Doing it too often can leave your skin exposed, making it easier for infections to happen.”
Click here for five more weird waxing facts you should know.
#10: Your Shower
Yes—there is a right way to shower. “Using water that’s too hot takes oils out of your skin and leaves it dry,” Goldfaden says. To find out how to shower correctly, click here.
#11: Your Flair For The Dramatic
Squinting and raising your eyebrows excessively can actually contribute to the development of wrinkles. “Squinting outdoors without sunglasses on is especially bad,” Goldfaden says. We’re not saying you should be a lifeless mannequin, but it’s something to keep in mind if you tend to have a flair for the dramatic.
Are you guilty of any of these skin-ruining sins? Tell us in the comments!