Special Report

27 Bad Skin Habits You Need to Break Right Now

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11. Applying lotions, instead of creams

The skin’s natural oils act as barriers and keep water in, preventing the skin from dehydrating. Creams are far superior to lotions and do a much better job at protecting the skin because creams have more oils and lotions are mostly water, English explained.

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12. Avoiding fatty foods

You may be thinking that you’re doing your body a favor by not consuming fat, but this is not entirely true. You should avoid trans fats, which can wreak havoc on your body, but your body needs healthy fats, especially essential fatty acids (EFAs).

Certain foods are rich in essential fatty acids, including fish, nuts, avocado, eggs, chia seeds, olive oil, and some fortified foods. Omega-3s and omega-6s fatty acids can help support cell health. They help produce the skin’s natural oil, which keeps it hydrated and glowing.

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13. Exercising too much

No one is arguing that exercise is bad for you. Research has shown that a lifetime of regular exercise can actually slow down aging. Overdoing it, however, doesn’t have the same effect. Working out hard for too long puts the body in a stress mode. Stress makes the body release cortisol, which may break down elastin and collagen, two major proteins in the skin that keep it healthy, tight, and plump. Lack of these proteins can accelerate aging and make the skin dry and wrinkly.

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14. Staring at electronic devices

Americans now spend more time on their mobile devices than watching TV. You may not have thought about it, but this affects your skin. “Although the majority of skin damage comes from UV light, we now know that other wavelengths on the electromagnetic spectrum can contribute to breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers and result in more rapid aging,” Richmond said.

These wavelengths include infrared light and high energy visible light (HEV), which is in the blue/violet colors. The visible light wavelengths are emitted from devices such as phones and computers, and they may theoretically augment wrinkles over long periods of cumulative exposure, Richmond explained. HEV may also flare photosensitive skin conditions such as melasma or lupus, she added.

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15. Smoking only a little bit

Everybody knows that smoking is terrible for you because of the numerous negative effects it has on the body, many of which are immediate. In general, smoking increases the risk of several serious diseases. Some people may say, however, that they are only “social smokers.” But your skin doesn’t care. “Smoking is seriously aging to the skin,” Richmond said.

We all know about smokers’ lines around the lips, but that’s not all. The carbon monoxide in cigarettes replaces the oxygen in your skin, and nicotine reduces blood circulation, leaving the skin dry, Richmond explained.