8 Bad Beauty Habits You Need to Break
1. Nasty habit: Blowing off sunscreen on cold or cloudy days
Don't kid yourself -- the sun will still damage your skin. Although you get less UVB exposure (the short-wave "burning" rays) in non-summer months, UVA exposure (the longer-wave "aging" rays) is consistent year-round, points out Heidi Waldorf, MD, a New York City dermatologist. Remember, it's the long-term accumulation of both types of rays that causes wrinkles and stubborn brown spots.
Easy fix: Make sun protection as routine as brushing your teeth. Since you moisturize in the a.m. anyway, find a formula that also contains SPF 15 and one or more good UVA protective ingredients like titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone, or Mexoryl.
Try: L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Complete SPF 30 Day Lotion, $17
2. Nasty habit: Mistreating your makeup brushes
Unless you wash them regularly, your beauty tools get piled with old makeup, oil, dead skin, bacteria, even fungi -- bad for your skin and for the life of the brushes. "Microorganisms can damage the bristles and make them fall out," says Wende Zomnir, creative director of Urban Decay. "Dirty brushes also ruin the integrity of the makeup shades you use."
Easy fix: Most pros recommend that you wash your brushes at least once a month with a gentle shampoo -- once a week if you tend to break out. For quick cleaning, mist a brush spray cleaner on a tissue to wipe away buildup on bristles.
Try Bare: Escentuals Quick Change Brush Cleaner, $18
3. Nasty habit: Squeezing your zits
Think your pimple looks bad now? Popping it will only aggravate it, since your fingers push some of the pus deeper into the skin, says Dr. Waldorf. This can cause the pimple to become inflamed, meaning you'll have to wait even longer for it to heal. Worse, you can spread bacteria to other areas of your face, leading to new blemishes.
Easy fix: Keep your hands off your face! Dry out the breakout with a spot treatment that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid and reduce inflammation with a dab of hydrocortisone cream. For big, painful cysts, apply a warm compress and make an appointment with your dermatologist for a corticosteroid injection.
Try: Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Spot Stick, $10
4. Nasty habit: Biting your nails or picking your cuticles
Not only do nibbled nails and shredded cuticles look sloppy, but they can lead to bacterial infections around your nail bed. And let's face it: Sticking your fingers in your mouth is pretty gross (plus it's a good way for you to pick up viruses).
Easy fix: Keep your nails filed short and polished and your hands moisturized. Bitter-flavored polish or treatments like Orly No Bite, $10, also help.
Try: Eucerin Daily Skin Balance Hand Cream, $6
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