Dermatologists really, really want you to have your best skin possible—so much so that the American Academy of Dermatology created the National Healthy Skin Month awareness campaign. Every November, it’s a great reminder to get back to healthy skin habits.
Healthy skin looks beautiful at any age, but great skin is about much more than just looks. Since your skin is the largest organ of your body, it helps protect you from lots of scary stuff out there. Bacteria and viruses on your skin can make you sick, while pollution and UV radiation can cause free-radical damage that accelerates signs of aging like fine lines, dullness and loss of elasticity. The healthy habits you build during National Healthy Skin Month will last all year long. Here’s how to start.
Wash Your Face Twice a Day
The best skin care routines start with a thoughtful cleansing regimen. That means double cleansing. Start off with an oil-based cleanser to bind with makeup, sebum and sunscreen. Follow with a lathering cleanser to rinse away impurities like sweat and pollutants.
In the evenings this cleansing regimen allows your nighttime serums and moisturizers to absorb better overnight. In the morning, take the time to cleanse right. “Even if you cleansed and removed all makeup the night before, a splash of water in the morning or standing under the shower is not enough,” writes Debra Jaliman, MD, in Skin Rules: Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist(Macmillan). “During the night, as you sleep, bacteria builds up on your skin, along with a lot of unwanted oil.”
Dermatologists recommend you moisturize your skin not only for the beauty benefits, but because it can help prevent extreme dryness or oiliness by pH-balancing the skin. Choose a moisturizer rich in antioxidants for even more skin-protecting power.
Change Your Makeup
Every time you dip your fingers and brushes into makeup, it increases the risk of bacterial contamination. Take those expiration dates on your makeup seriously if you want optimal skin—experts recommend throwing out foundation, eye shadow, primer and blush after two years, lipstick after 12 months, and liquid liner and mascara after just three months.
Clean Your Makeup Brushes
Dirty brushes caked with old powder and makeup can trigger breakouts. Plus, the brushes themselves take on a rough texture when they’re not properly cleaned, leading to irritated skin. Did you know Deep Cleansing Oil is the perfect brush cleaner?
Change Your Cleansing Tools
That loofah or konjac sponge in your shower can also trap bacteria. Do you want to scrub anything nasty into your skin? We didn’t think so. Toss them out after 3 months.
This one’s a no-brainer. UV radiation has been proven to age skin and cause cancer by damaging the DNA of cells. Make sunscreen a daily go-to.
Cut Out Unhealthy Habits
Smoking adds years to your looks by chronically depriving skin of oxygen, and the chemicals in tobacco smoke (yes, that means vaped tobacco, too) lead to the destruction of vital collagen and elastin. Keep an eye on your alcohol intake, since too much can leave you dehydrated. And need we remind you that skipping a good night’s sleep is one of your complexion’s worst enemies?
Here’s your reminder to keep a bottle of water nearby so you can hydrate your skin from the inside out—even during November’s chilly temps. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women drink around 9 cups, or a little over 2 liters, of water per day.
Here’s hoping National Healthy Skin Month will help you break some of your bad habits—and jumpstart some great ones.