9 Common Habits That Do a Number on Your Skin

9 Common Habits That Do a Number on Your Skin

If you’re experiencing skin problems, your first instinct may be to shop the skincare aisle for problem-solving products. But the cause of your skin woes may be simpler than you think. Before spending on new products, check the common habits below to see if any of them could be the culprit.

Washing Too Much

Cleansing day and night is a no-brainer when it comes to skin care, but too much washing can strip skin of its natural oils and leave it irritated. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends washing your face twice a day—morning and night—and after sweating. Massage a gentle cleanser into your skin with your fingertips; a washcloth or loofah can be too harsh. If skin still feels irritated, rinse with water in the morning and use cleanser at night only.

Hot Showers

A lengthy, hot shower may sound appealing after a long day, but the heat can dehydrate skin and strip it of its natural oils. Take a warm shower and then apply a moisturizer to lock in hydration.

Switching Routines

It may be tempting to try new products right when they’re released by your favorite brands, but introducing new ingredients can irritate skin. Unless your skincare routine hasn’t worked out, avoid too much experimenting. The same goes for adding too many products to your daily routine; piling on multiple ingredients could interact with each other and your skin. Stick to products tailored to your skin type and, if needed, switch based on the season and weather.

Not Washing Makeup Brushes

Dirty makeup brushes can lead to acne and other skin problems. Wash brushes weekly with a gentle brush cleanser to disinfect them and remove dirt.

Not Disinfecting Your Phone

Similar to makeup brushes, your phone is a breeding ground for bacteria. A dirty phone can lead to breakouts on your cheek and chin (where your phone rests). Make it a habit to regularly clean your phone with an antibacterial wipe.

Touching Skin

Touching your skin can transfer bacteria from your hands to your face. Even worse, picking at pimples can cause the infection to seep deeper into the skin, which can lead to additional spots and scars. Get into the habit of keeping hands away from your face (that includes leaning on your hands) and use gentle acne products to dry out pimples.

Skipping Sunscreen

Skin damage can occur year-round, so don’t forget to apply SPF before heading outside—even if it’s not super sunny. Without protection, prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging. Add a moisturizer with SPF to your daily routine so your face and neck are never left vulnerable to the sun.

Going to Bed with Makeup On

This bad habit can clog pores and prevent skin from recovery as you snooze. Letting makeup sit on your skin all day and night can also break down collagen, the structural protein in skin that is responsible for strength and elasticity.


Specific foods can contribute to or exacerbate skin issues. On the other hand, avoiding foods (such as antioxidant-packed veggies) can also influence skin health.

9 Common Habits That Do a Number on Your Skin

By Danielle Emig

Danielle Emig is a freelance writer and lipstick lover living in New York City. Originally from Portland, she moved to the big city with only a suitcase full of shoes and a mind bursting with dreams. It was her desire for adventure that led her to NYC, and even working unpaid internships and odd jobs to make ends meet — like cocktail waitressing at a pirate-themed bar — wouldn’t deter her from making it as a writer and editor. Two years later, she landed at InStyle Magazine and hasn’t looked back since. When she’s not sipping out of a lipstick-stained wineglass, Danielle loves to cook, make jewelry, and hang out on her fire escape.