Woman is observing her skin in the mirror
To really care for your skin, you have to avoid ruining your skin in the first place.

Too Much Stress

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How You Are Ruining Your Skin

The importance of your skin is easy to overlook. Most of the time, you take for granted just how much it does for you and how little it asks in return. If you get a cut, it heals. If you burn it, it peels. It sweats when you’re hot and becomes bumpy when you’re cold. After all, your skin is the only thing keeping the outside out and the inside in.

Your skin is quite amazing. You know this is true, but still, you treat it so poorly. You use it and abuse it, and then you act surprised when it turns on you. By the time wrinkles, age spots and dark marks appear, the damage is already done. To care for your skin, you have to avoid hurting it in the first place.

Here are the ten ways you are ruining your skin.

1. Too Much Stress

Stress harms your skin in many ways. On the exterior, people who are stressed tend to carry a lot of tension in their face. If you are known to frown, scowl, squint or wrinkle your forehead when you are stressed, you are doing a disservice to your skin.

On the interior, stress negatively impacts your body on a cellular level. Your body contains countless skin cells. Each cell contains telomeres that shorten each time a cell divides. If you want to look younger and feel better, you want to have long telomeres. Stress inhibits your body’s ability to divide cells and maintain long telomeres. If new cells cannot replace the old, you are left with less desirable skin.

Poor Diet

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2. Poor Diet

By now this shouldn’t surprise you, but you are what you eat. If you want to be healthy inside and out, you need to eat good foods. If you are not eating well, you are damaging your skin.

Fatty, greasy foods will not help your complexion. Sugary foods and foods that are high in carbohydrates will cause your insulin levels to jump, and increased insulin is related to the breaking down of proteins and collagen that help your skin stay resilient and strong.

Diet extends to what you drink as well. Stay away from sugary drinks for the same reason as sugary foods, and beware of alcohol. Drinking too much will dehydrate your skin, which leads to poor results as you age. The same applies to coffee. Lastly, avoid significant changes in weight from yo-yo dieting. Dramatic weight changes will result in looser skin.

Lack of Sleep

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3. Lack of Sleep

Speaking of dehydration, not getting the appropriate amount of rest does not allow your body to be fully replenished and rehydrated. You put a lot of wear on your skin during the course of the day. You need to get enough quality sleep to wipe away the harm to your skin.

Sleep is important in itself, but the role of sleep in reducing stress is also well documented. Even the pillow you sleep on can damage your skin. Old, dirty or rough pillowcases can ruin your skin by grinding in dirt and bacteria while you sleep.

Too Much Sun

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4. Too Much Sun

Sun damage is a widely-accepted fact. Different types of sunrays, including UVA, UVB and infrared radiation each damage your skin in different levels. The process is called photoaging and results in everything from fine lines, wrinkles, and discolorations to changes in the touch of your skin. Sunscreens can help greatly, but on some days avoiding the sun altogether is your best option. Even short amounts of exposure on overcast days can trigger photoaging.

Smoking

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5. Smoking

Whether it is first-hand, second-hand or third-hand, smoke is damaging. It damages your heart, your lungs, and your skin. Smoke is known to injure your skin quicker and more dramatically than overexposure to the sun. Smoking damages your skin in some ways: through the heat of the cigarette; by making the fibers in your skin less elastic; by reducing the blood supply through narrowing blood vessels; by reducing vitamin A; and lastly, by dehydrating you.

As if that wasn’t enough, smoking also hinders the skin’s ability to repair itself. Add skin health to the long list of reasons to give up or never start smoking. Avoid people who are smoking and smoky environments. Using a vapor cigarette may reduce some but not all of these issues.

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Picking and Popping

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6. Picking and Popping

If you see a small blemish on your face, arms, chest or back, you may be tempted to pick and pop in an attempt to relieve the pressure and aid in the healing. Despite its short-term pleasure, this is a terrible idea. What you are doing in this situation is breaking open your skin and pushing more bacteria beneath the surface. This allows for more breakouts to occur, and the popping process starts all over again.

Your Nightly Shower

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7. Your Nightly Shower

Sometimes the things you do to take care of your skin hurt it. Think about your showering routine. Soap, facial scrub, washcloth and hot water all sound like helpers, but they may be hindrances to your skin. Soaps and scrubs may be too harsh and drying out your skin. Your washcloth may be too abrasive and maybe removing needed layers of skin. Lastly, water that is too hot can also strip away the outer layers of skin. With all of this being true, you may want to reconsider your daily showering routine.

Over Grooming

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8. Over Grooming

Along the same lines, your beauty regimen may be taking you further from your goal. Wearing heavy makeup suffocates your skin because it does not permit it to breathe freely. Never wear your makeup to bed.

Be cautious with your hair removal, too. Waxing and tweezing too often will open up your skin to an influx of dirt and bacteria. Be sure to give enough time for your skin to heal between treatments. This will help build your resistance and strengthen your skin.

Wearing the Wrong Sunglasses

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9. Wearing the Wrong Sunglasses

When it comes to your sunglasses, avoid choosing form over function. Sure, it can be tempting to spend large amounts of money on designer shades, but before you do, ensure that they are adequately blocking out the harmful rays of the sun. Choose larger lenses that cover your eyes fully.

Your sunglasses could also be “the wrong sunglasses” if they are too dirty. Think about that fact that they are rubbing against your face all day. If they are dirty, that dirt is burrowing into your beloved skin. When you clean the lenses, be sure to wipe down the frames as well.

Not wearing sunglasses can be problematic when you end up squinting. Squinting can cause wrinkles to grow deeper.

Not Enough Exercise

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10. Not Getting Enough Exercise

Is there anything that exercise can’t do? If it seems that exercise is named on every list of this type, it is for a good reason. Exercise is the best thing you can do for yourself. Exercise works to increase your cardiovascular health, which gets more oxygen to all parts of your body. It also rids the toxins and dead skin cells from your body during perspiration.

Walk, bike, hike and do chores around the house. All will aid in keeping your skin young and vibrant. You may want to avoid swimming, though. The chlorine and other chemicals in the water can be challenging to remove from your skin and are associated with prematurely aging skin.

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