8 ways you could be damaging your skin unknowingly

Your skin performs a number of functions, including protecting you from the outside world and regulating your body temperature. However, it is quite sensitive, delicate, and vulnerable to environmental damage. 

There are so many things we do every day unknowingly that can harm our skin. For instance, we wash our faces and use cleansers but never know whether it is the right one for our skin type. 

Another popular example – most of us use sunscreen, but we don’t wear it on all of our exposed skin, putting ourselves at risk. 

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

Let us understand more such ways in which we are causing damage to our skin slowly without realizing it. 

#1 Assuming natural products are better

Who doesn’t love using products that are made from natural ingredients? But we forget a very important thing – a product made of natural ingredients doesn’t mean it is always good for your skin. There are various studies that show that some natural ingredients can harm your skin under certain conditions. Not so long ago, a doctor reported that a woman’s skin suffered from second-degree burns after she used garlic to treat a fungal infection on her foot. 

There are many more such examples. For instance, coconut oil is often considered the miracle solution for all skin issues. Although it is good to use coconut oil as a moisturizer on your hands and legs, using it on your face can cause the pores to clog and worsen acne. 

#2 Thinking hypoallergenic products are better for the sensitive skin

FDA has stated that even a product labeled ‘hypoallergenic’ can cause allergic reactions. A few years ago, researchers tested 135 children’s skincare products that were labeled ‘hypoallergenic.’ The results were shocking as they found almost 90% of these products contained at least one known skin allergen. 

It is also best to stay away from claims like “dermatologist-recommended” and “dermatologist-tested” as these claims are unregulated and have no standard definition. Instead, buy products that are actually recommended by your dermatologist as they know your skin type and can tell you what is ideal for it. 

It is also important to read the ingredients present in the product and find out if you are prone to allergy from any of the ingredients.

#3 Staying long in the sun for vitamin D

It is true that exposure to the sun does improve the levels of vitamin D in your body. And it is also true that vitamin D is a very important component needed by your body for various functions. However, long exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. We never recommend exposure to the sun as a primary source of your vitamin D. Instead you can gain vitamin D through a healthy diet. Most people deficient in Vitamin D take oral supplements, which is also perfectly fine!

#4 Scrub to wash away acne

Most people wrongly believe that acne is caused by a dirty face. As a result, they end up treating it by scrubbing the acne blemishes. Some even over-wash the face in the hope that acne will magically go away. However, these are huge mistakes. Acne is not caused due to hygiene issues; you simply can’t wash it away. In fact, over-washing can dry out your skin which in turn triggers excess sebum production and make your acne worse.

#5 Popping the pimples is harmless

Most of us know that we shouldn’t pop pimples. However, we can’t control the urge to pop it as it is pretty satisfying and also because we think it is harmless. Unfortunately, popping pimples will most likely lead to scarring. Treating scars is far more complicated than treating pimples. 

Also, touching your face and popping pimples using your hand can lead to infections. If you can’t control the urge and want to get rid of it, then visit a dermatologist who will treat the pimple by minimizing inflammation and damage.

#6 Exfoliating too hard and too often

Exfoliating is good for the skin – There is no doubt. However, there is something called over-exfoliating, and most people do that – this can be problematic. It would cause irritation and make your skin go dry. It is best to exfoliate your skin, not more than once or twice a week. 

It is also important to choose the product wisely. Some products have tiny beads in them – though this might feel really promising, they can be quite harsh on your skin. Exfoliating doesn’t necessarily have to be painful or harsh. Try chemical exfoliants like salicylic or glycolic acid; they help in removing the dead skin cells without any scrubbing.

#7 Wearing makeup when going to sleep

It is best to sleep with a clean face by washing away all the makeup. If you fall asleep with makeup, and it happens once in a while, it’s fine. But if it continues for a longer duration, then it can cause various problems. For once, it can clog all the pores. Not washing your face at the end of the day also means that your skin has accumulated a lot of environmental pollutants, oil, and sweat on top. When these combine with your makeup, it can cause irritation and skin infections.

#8 Relying heavily on sunscreen

Never use sunscreen as a justification to spend more time under the sun. Research shows that people who use sunscreen actually don’t report fewer sunburns. It is highly recommended to stay indoors during peak sun hours that is between 10 am to 2 pm. If at all you have to venture out during this time, wear a hat or sunglasses to protect your skin even further. If you travel a lot and you solely rely on sunscreen, make sure to reapply it every two hours. 

Wrapping Up

Our skin is quite delicate and is constantly attacked by harmful elements from the outside world. It’s totally up to us to take care of our skin. Unfortunately, we don’t always do so, and as a result, our skin suffers. Some of us do take care of it by trying self-treatments and consuming OTC medicines without any consultation. This is even worse as it could damage the skin even further. It is always best to consult a dermatologist to better understand your skin and how to take care of it. To book an appointment with Dr. Renu, click here.