Three Skin Care Habits to Break and Nine Habits to Make

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Our skin is the largest organ of our body and is a complex, highly dynamic system that plays a very crucial role to our general well-being. Our skin is also a reflection of our overall health. Our skin is our body's protective layer and it needs care and attention.

Starting a healthy skin care routine and breaking those habits that are detrimental to the skin is the first step towards an overall state of well being and beauty.

The most important bad habits to break are:

Bad Habit #1: Dry Shaving
It is important to note that shaving legs and underarms dry can cause irritation, ingrown hairs, and razor burn. The skin should be softened with shaving cream prior to shaving. In addition, hand soap is not recommended as a softener. Soap has a tendency to dry out the skin, dull your razor, and invite cuts. Additionally, when shaving, long strokes are less stressful to the skin than short strokes. Consider a shaving cream rich in emollients and after shaving, apply a mild body lotion to soothe the shaved area.

Bad Habit #2: Ignoring Incidental Sun Exposure
Sun exposure is the biggest factor in causing wrinkles, age spots, and dullness. While you may think that just walking to the car or running your daily errands on a sunny day doesn't count as sun exposure, you're wrong. Everyday before you leave the house, you should apply a SPF lotion, whether it be in your makeup or in your day cream, don't leave home without it.

Bad Habit #3: Avoiding Exfoliation
Exfoliation of the skin brings out great results. This method of cleansing removes dead skin cells that have developed on the outer surface, and enhances circulation to the skin surface. Exfoliation will reduce blotchiness and even out the skin tone. How much you exfoliate in a week's time is dependent upon your individual skin type. However, all skin types need some sort of an exfoliation treatment in their skin care regime. Add a little cornmeal to your cleanser or consider dead sea salt for a great scrub.

Nine Habits to Maintain

The following habits are actual recommendations shared by most dermatologists as a complete skin care regime.

Good Habit #1: Avoid Too Much Cosmeceuticals
Numerous experts agree that the markets are bombarded with skin care products containing ingredients such as alpha-hydroxy acid, antioxidants, salicylic acids and retinoids. These chemical agents, that are supposed to be beneficial to the skin can sometimes be detrimental and cause damage. A lot of women shopping for a skin care product will try different products from different manufacturers. Combining skin care products from different manufactures can be harmful to you skin. Your cleansing cream and moisturizer may contain chemicals that will interact with each other thus causing irritation, and this could very well be a major component for those with sensitive skin. Additionally a complete skin care line from the same manufacturer is designed to work together to get the most benefit from the product.

So good habit #1 is to stay with one type of skin care product line. Shop for skin care product lines that are chemically formulated to work together. In addition, if you are using any prescription skin care products, talk with your doctor about which over the counter products are safe. This would also apply to any type of prescription drugs you are taking.

Good Habit #2: Hydrate both internally and externally. We all know that drinking water does keep you hydrated internally, but did you know it also hydrates the skin. So, get in the standard of 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses throughout the day.

If you drink a lot of low-cal liquids, drink more water to avoid dehydration. Most of the new sugar substitutes today are dehydrating.

Good Habit #3: Consider a Healthy Exercise
Exercise is great for a beautiful skin. Women that exercise regularly have a healthy glow to their skin. Exercise increases blood flow and circulation thus bringing nutrients to the outer layer of the skin. In addition to a natural glow to your skin, there is a great deal of benefits associated with exercise as you probably know.

Good Habit #4: Intimate with the Phone? Don't Be!
When talking on the phone, leave a safe distance between your mouth and chin to the mouthpiece. Touching the mouthpiece with you mouth and letting it rest against your face or chin may to lead to rashes or pimple breakouts. Although, I do not know if this has been scientifically proven, it just makes sense that you wouldn't want the germs or dirty objects up against your face. In addition, if possible try to avoid letting other people use your cell phone or visa versa. You should sanitize your cell phone and your landline frequently. Rubbing alcohol would work for sanitizing.

Good Habit #5: Examine Your Birthday Suit for Spots
When it comes to skin care, any sudden or suspicious-looking mole, bump or other growth on the skin is a reason to see a dermatologist. As skin cancer rates skyrockets having a full body check up by a professional is recommended if you are unsure of any spots or growths on your body.

In addition, those who belong in a high risk group, meaning having a personal or family history of skin cancer, a lot of moles, fair skin, or light eyes or hair, should consult a specialist for a regular check up. The regular examination should start in their teens and probably no later than age 35. However, even if you do not belong in a high risk group, it is still recommended that between the ages of 20 and 40, people must have a cancer-related check up. The check up must include a skin examination every three to four years. Once you hit your 40s, start undergoing a cancer-related examination with skin exam every year. Aside from that, it is advisable that you do monthly self-exams in order for you to keep an eye out for changes and growths.

Good Habit #6: Eat Healthy Foods
Healthy foods refer to those that help your skin and body fight against the bad forces outside and inside. You must consider antioxidants such as vitamin A, C and E as they are highly beneficial for sun damaged skin and fight certain cancers, including skin cancer. Along with a healthy diet consider a multivitamin that meets the RDA standards.

Good Habit #7: Avoid Wearing Your Makeup to Bed at Night
We all know this rule, but have you thought about how detrimental it is to your skin. Leaving foundation, powder or even blusher on your skin overnight clogs skin pores. Additionally, your skin doesn't breathe all night long and therefore can not replenish and rejuvenate. Clogged pores lead to pimples, blackheads, and blemishes.

When cleaning your skin prior to bedtime, use a good cleanser, followed by a toner and moisturizer. There is no need for your cleanser to have glycolic acid or alpha-hydroxy acids as it is not on your face long enough to actually work. Consider a facial peel whereas the hydroxyl acids or glycolic acid is on the face long enough to be effective.

Good Habit #8: Hands off Those Zits
The best way to get rid of a zit is to leave it alone. Picking, poking, and squeezing just prolong its life. In addition, by picking at the blemish you may cause scarring or spread infection. The best way to get rid of a pimple is to apply a warm compress and dab on an over the counter cream or lotion containing a drying agent such as salicylic acid, benzyl peroxide, witch hazel or sulfur. In addition there are some wonderful home made remedies to reduce outbreaks and clear your complexion.

Good Habit #9: Rest and Get Enough Sleep
While I am not sure of how many studies have been done on skin care and sleep, the signs of not enough sleep based on my own experience are: under-eye bags and dark circles under your eyes. In addition, stress plays a factor on skin care, for instance of eczema has been linked to stress. The benefits of sleep on the body and the skin are exponential and necessary for good health and great skin.

Sleeping position will affect your skin. Sleeping in the same position year after year will naturally cause wrinkles. However finding the right pillow that decreases creasing on the face will reduce premature aging.

As presented there are a lot of habits that we often times ignore, thinking that they don't play a significant role in our lives. If your main goal is attaining beautiful skin and general well-being, then a healthy lifestyle, and skin regime is worth maintaining. Our daily habits impact our health and our skin.

Carol Belanger, author of 300+ Skin Care Recipes

For wonderful homemade skin care recipes, including body scrubs, toners, facial peels, clay masks, etc., and informative skin care articles visit Complete Skin Care Therapy

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