Sometimes it can feel like having good skin is an impossible feat. We take off our makeup every night, eat the right foods, and religiously use moisturize, but unbeknownst to us, there are a number of surprising things that can ruin our skin. Despite our seemingly perfect beauty rituals, there are other, outside factors that are responsible for those pesky breakouts or our dry and lackluster skin. They sometimes are so sneaky that we don't even realize they have a connection to our skin health.
"From a dermatologist’s perspective, I think it’s important to point out things we tend to do to help our skin, but in reality, we actually can hurt it too," says Dermatologist Jill Waibel, MD over email. "We know there are a lot of things out in the world that can negatively affect our skin and health."
Bad skin isn't something that just affects teenagers. Many women suffer from adult acne or dry skin, not to mention wrinkles, but no matter the age, there are habits you can adopt to help keep your skin healthy and nourished.
If you're having some issues with your skin and you're not quite sure why, it may be one of the following seven factors, which may seem harmless, but can actually wreak havoc on your complexion.
1. Dirty Bedding
If you're not washing your bed sheets or pillowcases frequently enough, you may be unknowingly causing harm to your skin. Leaving the same sheets on your bed means you're sleeping in the buildup of oil, dirt, and sweat from your skin, so wash your bedding frequently, or at least change your pillowcase, to avoid any breakouts.
2. Too Many Showers
"Hot water and bar soap combine to strip our skin of essential oils, causing the skin to be dry, flaky, and even look more wrinkled," says Dr. Anthony Youn, MD to Bustle over email. "One shower a day with water that isn't too hot is preferable."
3. Skipping Meals
Most of us already know that good skin comes from the nutrients we consume, and if we aren't consuming those nutrients, our skin won't be properly hydrated and nourished. Signs of nutritional deficiency can show in our skin, so make sure you are loading up on foods filled with vitamins and healthy fats at every meal.
4. Cell Phone Use
"[The cellphone] is one of the dirtiest items we own, as we eat with it in our hands, use the toilet with it, and almost never clean it," says Youn. "The bacteria that can live on our phones can potentially expose us to higher risk of acne, especially if we talk right into it and don't use earbuds."
If you're not consuming enough water, your skin could end up dry and flaky. But it's not just water that helps hydrate your skin: Natural oils such as flaxseed oil and olive oil can help keep skin cells hydrated.
6. Lack Of Sleep
Sleep deprivation can cause a number of skin problems, including premature aging, eczema, and psoriasis. Not getting enough sleep can decrease collagen production, raise cortisol levels, and cause inflammation, which can all contribute to bad skin.
"Cleansing, moisturizing and exfoliating is important to keep the skin healthy, but over-moisturizing or over-exfoliating the skin can be hazardous," says Weibel. "Exfoliating too much can cause the skin to dry out and become irritated."
Keeping skin healthy and hydrated is hard enough without unknowingly sabotaging it, so