If you want healthy and attractive skin, you’re not alone. Everyone hopes to keep their skin beautiful for as long as possible.
Taking good care of your skin keeps it free from blemishes and prevents premature aging. Unfortunately, your habits can contribute to poor skin health and appearance.
At HK Dermatology in San Juan Capistrano, California, our experienced providers not only give our patients personalized medical and cosmetic skin care recommendations, but we also take time to discuss what not to do for the best skin health.
Here, Dr. Jeffrey Klein, MD, Dr. Norma Kassardjian, Atoussa Cameron, NP, and Elena Novak, PA take a look at some of the worst things you can do for your skin and the actions to consider taking instead.
1. Not wearing sunscreen every day
Without a doubt, one of the worst things you can do for your skin is to forget about wearing sunscreen every day — especially here in California, where the sun’s rays stay bright and strong nearly all year long.
Make sure to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to block harmful UV rays. That reduces your chances of photodamage (sun damage and premature aging) and skin cancer.
When using sunscreen, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Apply sunscreen daily — even on overcast or cloudy days!
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more often if you sweat or go in the water
- Be generous when applying sunscreen — use at least 2 ounces for full-body coverage
- Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the tops of your ears and back of your neck
Wearing sunscreen doesn’t just apply to adults. It goes for children and teens, too. If you have children, get them in the habit of applying sunscreen daily for the best skin health.
2. Frequently picking at or touching your skin
Whether you’re tempted to pick at acne or have a habit of scratching or touching scars, scabs, or dry skin, the habit can lead to significant skin problems.
Picking at your skin increases the risk of skin inflammation, a condition that can cause inflammatory acne, permanent scarring, or dark areas of skin (hyperpigmentation). Scratching at dry skin can also irritate your nerve endings and make your skin look and feel worse.
3. Not getting enough sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep, your skin doesn’t get a chance to repair itself. Your body increases the production of the stress hormone cortisol and less of the hormones and proteins, like collagen, needed to help your skin turnover and stay looking great.
This spells bad news for the appearance and health of your skin. Without those essential repairs, you’re more likely to have premature aging, skin problems, and other health concerns.
Instead, aim for at least 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep every night. Not only will the extra sleep improve your overall health, but your skin will thank you as well.
4. Not drinking enough water
Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is key to your overall health — including the health of your skin! Your skin has three layers: the topmost layer (epidermis), the middle layer (dermis), and the subcutaneous tissue layer.
When you don’t drink enough water, your epidermis can’t get the hydration it needs. That leads to a loss of skin elasticity and can cause dry and rough skin.
Instead, be sure to drink water throughout the day. You can also try “eating” your water by snacking on fruits and vegetables high in water content, like watermelon or cucumbers.
5. Drinking alcohol and smoking
Drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco are among the worst things you can do for your skin.
Alcohol not only dehydrates your skin, causing flaking and dry skin, but it also interrupts your sleep, exacerbating the effects of too little sleep on your skin. And long term, it can cause serious skin changes, including dark skin around your eyes and jaundice.
You already know smoking is bad for your overall health, but did you know that it also increases your risk of skin cancer and causes premature lines and wrinkles? Plus, smoking damages your blood vessels, making it more difficult for your skin to get the oxygen and nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
6. Not seeing a dermatologist
You wouldn’t skip a trip to the dentist or your annual flu shot. But many people wait until they have a problem to see a dermatologist. Unfortunately, that can mean bad news for your skin.
Dermatologists are trained to catch any skin problems before they become complicated and possibly serious health conditions. Be sure to add an annual skin check to your regular medical care.
Keep your skin healthy by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone with a provider at HK Dermatology in San Juan Capistrano, California.