6 Daily Habits That Are Messing With Your Skin

Natasha Burton


When it comes to taking care of your skin, most of us know the rules: Always wash your makeup off before you go to bed, never pick at your face, wear sunscreen religiously, and so on.

But there are a number of things we do—every single day!—that can wreak havoc on our faces without us even knowing it. To find out what those are, we consulted Jessica Weiser MD of the New York Dermatology Group to find out which seemingly benign habits actually contribute to skin damage. Prepare to be enlightened!

1. Sleeping on your side or stomach:

It’s super important to avoid pressing your skin into your sheets or pillowcase to avoid creating more permanent lines on your face. Ideally, you should sleep on your back to protect your skin and reduce wrinkle formation. Try a C-shaped pillow behind the neck for stability and prop up with pillows on either side to try to keep you on your back overnight.

2. Your cotton pillowcase:

Your pillowcase could also be an issue: Friction on the harsher cotton fibers can accelerate the development of permanent creases as the skin ages and collagen fibers break down. It is also important to change pillowcases weekly (or more if you like) to remove bacteria and dead skin cells, which can accumulate and lead to breakouts.

MORE: Shine Control Tips For Sweaty Days

3. Over-exfoliating:

Exfoliation can increase circulation to the skin and encourage removal of dead skin cells that are ready to be sloughed without damaging or irritating the underlying skin cells that are not yet ready to be pulled away. It also stimulates cell turnover which is beneficial for the skin renewal process and keeps skin from looking dull and lifeless. But! When you do it too much, or with harsh products, you’ll experience redness, inflammation, irritation and breakouts. To make sure you don’t overdo it, use a gentle product like COLBERT MD Intensify Facial Discs.

4. Your sweet tooth:

Eating a high sugar diet—including refined carbohydrates—gives bacteria fuel and can cause spikes of insulin release, which triggers inflammation. As a result, you might experience many skin-related side effects including premature and accelerated aging of the skin, like collagen breakdown, loss of elasticity, and wrinkle development. Eating antioxidant-rich foods can reverse oxidative damage to the skin and turn on repair mechanisms to keep skin younger, healthier and clearer.

MORE: How to Streamline Your Skin Care Routine

5. Your daily coffee habit—and your happy hour habit, too:

To keep skin looking as plump and youthful as possible, avoid or decrease your consumption of alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate the body and deprive skin cells of moisture. Excessive alcohol or inadequate water intake can also cause swelling or puffiness of the eyelids overnight and this is a significant contributor to aging of the skin around the eyes.

6. Staring at your computer screen for too long:

Certain facial movements cause wrinkles—especially when these expressions are repeated or held static for long lengths of time. Jobs that require you to spend hours working in front of a computer or other electronic devices often lead to development of indelible frown lines between the brows (glabella) and squinting lines at the corners of the eyes (crow’s feet). Be sure to have your vision checked regularly by an ophthalmologist to ensure proper vision correction with glasses or contact lenses because this will also help you avoid unnecessary squinting and straining of the eyes.