We saw a lot of pandemic beauty trends like at-home beauty tools, serums, and blue-light-blocking skincare emerge over the past two years. With more people staying at home, many makeup aficionados have dropped their favorite purchases in favor of skincare and self-care — which we definitely applaud.

As spring rolls around, having clear, supple, and youthful-looking skin takes center stage as we spend more time outdoors. Aging may be inevitable, but signs of aging don’t have to be obvious, thanks to good skincare habits like washing off makeup before bed, applying sunscreen religiously, and keeping your hands off your face. If you want maximum positive impact on your skin, however, it’s time to break these four bad habits:

1)Neglecting your overall health

We often think our skincare routine can fix everything wrong with our skin, but we can’t rely on skincare alone. We have to take care of our bodies as a whole. The problem is we often indulge in unhealthy habits that negatively affect our skin quality.

We forget to drink enough water, we snack on huge quantities of junk food and alcohol, and we stay up way past our bedtime — all of which can lead to dry, flaky, and dull skin. Here are a few things you can do to help bring back your skin’s glow:

  • Have a healthier diet: To get better skin, you need to ditch the foods and beverages that mess with our hormones. Culprits like sugar, pasteurized dairy, cocoa, and spicy foods have components that trigger conditions like acne, rosacea, and allergies, so try to consume these in moderation. Add more colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet instead, as these contain antioxidants, nutrients, and other ingredients that will build skin moisturization and elasticity from the inside out.
  • Skip the alcohol: Alcohol is a toxin with little nutritional value that dehydrates your body tissues and skin — potentially leading to premature aging and breakouts. Too much alcohol consumption can also dilate the pores of the skin, creating blackheads, whiteheads, and redness which may become permanent over time. Switch out alcoholic drinks for more water to support bodily functions and keep cells alive and healthy. Drinking water can flush out toxins, preserve pH balance, and boost moisture to help your face stay plump, moist, and wrinkle-free.
  • Get more sleep: When we sleep, our body enters a regenerative cycle that maintains a normal cell turnover. Inadequate sleep increases the stress hormone cortisol and inhibits collagen production — collagen being the protein that keeps the skin healthy and wrinkle-free. All these factors will lead to a dull complexion, not to mention dark under-eye bags. Make it a point to get at least 7 – 9 hours of sleep every night for healthy skin.

2)Ignoring Professional Expertise

Due to the vast amount of content on the internet, people have grown into the bad habit of trying to DIY everything, even skincare. Data from search engine trends reveals that people are Googling skin diseases like skin cancer, which suggests the increased prevalence of self-diagnosis and self-treatment. This habit of being our own dermatologists can be detrimental to the long-term condition of our skin, given the wide spread of misinformation online.

3)Endless Trial and Error

The world of skincare is filled with a plethora of choices. What works for our friends and family may not necessarily work for our own skin needs.

We need to listen to our skin and pay attention to the subtle signs as to what we really require. As reactive creatures, it’s perfectly normal for us to instantly search for solutions but taking a step back to observe and confirm our skin needs is ultimately more rewarding in the long run, rather than spiraling into a frenetic buying and trying session. Trying an endless array of beauty products can be counterproductive to having good skin — not to mention expensive and potentially wasteful.

The ultimate goal of skincare is to match your needs to the product, instead of trying to match the product to our skin. The next time you switch up your skincare routine, check-in with how your skin feels.

Are you observing good changes? Not all products are created equally, much less formulated for seasonal changes, specific skin types, and lifestyle. It’s important to find products that suit your skin, rather than chasing.

Ultimately, treat your skin as an equal partner rather than trying to force feed products and overloading with too much at once.

4)Skipping the Bare Necessities

It’s pointless to have the best skincare regime in the world when you skip the most essential step before leaving your house. That’s right – Sunscreen

Even if you’ve barely spent a noticeable period in the sun, those dazzling rays will have touched your skin and left its mark. It’s not just the outdoors, damaging UVA rays are able to penetrate windows when you’re dining indoors and serve up an extra sunbathing experience, alongside your avocado toast and margaritas during Saturday Brunch. 

As winter fades into spring – it’s important to apply sunscreen as regularly as possible to avoid sunburn, rapidly aging skin and skin cancer. It’s a small but mighty step that takes little time and effort but is so often missed out or forgotten, with greater consequences.

One last note…

It’s hard to cultivate healthy habits, but the key is to start slowly. Once you successfully replace one bad habit with a good one, you’ll find it’s easier to be consistent with other habits in turn. 

It’s also important to practice self-love with ourselves. We’re all creatures of habit, and trying to change our habits and essentially our entire lifestyles, won’t be a walk in the park. Trying and falling in our pursuit of good health and good skin is still a step forward. The best skincare habits in the world won’t help if we’re continually hard on ourselves, whether in front of a mirror or alone by ourselves at night. 

This article was written by Camila Harper.