Some habits are bad for you—and you know it. See: Texting your ex, not flossing, and spending more time on your couch than at the gym. (It’s really comfortable, OK?) But others can fly under the radar, especially when it comes to your skin health. Habits that seem like they’d be good for your complexion, like applying SPF every morning, might not be enough to counteract time and gravity. Here, what’s damaging your skin without you even realizing it. Fix them, and you set yourself up for gorgeous, glowing skin through your 30s and beyond.
It’s a universal beauty truth: Sleep is great for your skin, since overnight is when your skin cells get chance to repair the day’s damage. As long as you’re getting eight hours of shut-eye, there’s virtually no way to miss out on its perks—unless you happen to hit the sheets without washing your face first. Not only can that makeup potentially clog your pores, but it can also make matters worse if you happen to have sensitive or easily irritated skin.
Sunscreen only lasts two hours. By the time you run out to grab lunch or hop in the car for your commute home, its protective effects have worn off—but the UV rays are still going strong. That’s why it’s essential to reapply your sunscreen throughout the day. If you don’t want to wreck your makeup, look for a powder formula or a cushion version that you can lightly tap on over it.
Here’s the rub: As your skin ages, dead skin cells more quickly accumulate on the surface. You must clear off dead skin cells first to give the products that follow an opportunity to be effective. For the best results, your best bet is to take a multi-pronged approach to exfoliation.
If you’re burning the midnight oil, you’re not only sacrificing an energy reboot, but also your skin’s health. As we mentioned, your cells are no longer dealing with everything that’s assaulting it during the day—think ultraviolet radiation, pollution, and the everyday grime and grease—so it can finally prioritize taking care of itself. (Think of it as your skin’s equivalent of coming home to a quiet, peaceful spot after a long day at the office.) If you skip it, though, you miss out on the results of that repair, like enhanced radiance and firmer skin—and your skin looks more dull and drawn because of it.
Cleaning your makeup brushes can be a chore, and there’s literally nothing fun about it. But along with other chores (like vacuuming) it’s essential. Every time your brush touches your face, it picks up bacteria, which can then hang out and grow within the bristles—and then return to your face when you use it again. Play it safe and thoroughly cleanse your brushes with a brush cleanser at least once a week. Your skin will thank you.
What monster would swear off gummy bears? But for the sake of your skin, you probably should. Research shows that high-glycemic foods, like white bread and sugary foods, are closely correlated with acne breakouts, while low-glycemic foods, such as most fruits and beans, aren’t. We’re not crazy here: You shouldn’t delete chocolate from your diet. But if you’re eating it on a regular basis and also dealing with acne, try limiting it to once a week.