If you ever feel like you have to be "perfect" in order to have healthy skin, then you might be relieved to hear that some bad habits are actually good for your skin. While I can't say it's 100 percent true for everyone, certain things previously deemed "terrible for your face" may actually improve that epidermis of yours. But, before we get into which rules you can toss out the window, let's first talk about the things you should do for your skin everyday — no matter what.
"My basic skin care advice is to keep things basic," Dr. Sandra Lee, aka Dr. Pimple Popper, tells Bustle. Think cleansing, moisturizing, and applying SPF. She also recommends a retinoid to minimize wrinkles (if that's a concern for you), as well as to lighten dark spots, and prevent blackheads and whiteheads from forming.
As long as you're doing this bare minimum, you can take a deep breath and go on livin' your life. Use that bar soap if you want to, have a few drinks, eat some chocolate, and keep indulging in all your other "bad" habits, as they may just be good for your skin. Read on for some reasons why, as well as some bad habits you can officially "get away with."
1. Washing Your Face With Bar Soap
If you're often too tired at night to bother with an elaborate skincare routine, never fear. If you have a quality bar of soap in your bathroom, using it to wash your face can actually be pretty good for your skin. As dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara tells me, bar soaps like the Dove Beauty Bar don't contain any harsh surfactants, which can mess with your skin. So go ahead and scrub away.
2. Using Lotion When You Have Acne
If you've been told to avoid lotion on your acne-prone skin, it may be time to change your ways and add this "bad habit" to your skincare regimen, too. "Keeping the skin well-hydrated ... helps with the healing process," Gohara says. "If your skin is oily, use a lighter lotion instead of a cream to do the trick."
3. Showering Several Times A Day
Another supposedly bad habit? Washing your skin several times a day. "Dermatologists often tell patients to wash their skin less often, especially those with dry skin and in the winter," dermatologist Dr. Gary Goldenberg tells Bustle. "But for patients with oily, acne-prone skin, washing your face and body more than once daily may actually help." Doing so removes all that dirt and oil, which can clog your pores if you leave it sitting around for too long.
4. Having A Few Drinks With Dinner
While heavy drinking can and will lead to health issues with your skin, moderate alcohol consumption may have some skin benefits. And this is (of course) the most true for red wine. "Red wine is packed with antioxidants, like flavonoid, resveratrol, and tannin," says Goldenberg. "Antioxidants have been shown to improve wrinkles and lines, stimulate collagen production, and decrease the risk of skin cancer." Such good news, right?
5. Not Washing Your Face In The Morning
If you want to dash off to work without washing your face, please feel free. "There's no need to deeply cleanse your skin in the morning, as long as you washed it the night before," says Dr. Jeremy Fenton, a dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology Group. "A splash of water or a cotton ball with a micellar water is enough to refresh the skin in the morning."
6. Irritating Your Skin
You know how we're all told to leave our skin alone and not irritate it? Well, with some skin conditions, a little irritation can actually be a good thing. "For example, warts (like plantar warts) have been shown to improve with duct tape applications," Fenton says. "This tape causes irritation, which then leads to stimulating the immune system, and can get the body to fight off the warts." If you have a wart, go ahead and irritate it to your heart's content.
7. Letting Sweat Hang Around
If you want to shower after a workout, then go ahead and do it. But you should't live in fear of sweat sitting on your skin. "A lot of people assume that sweat is terrible for your skin because they think it causes breakouts," said health and lifestyle writer Jessica Booth, on Gurl.com. "But a little sweat won't hurt you ... Sweat can open up your pores and release dirt, and basically forces your skin to work properly." How about that?
8. Eating Lots Of Chocolate
OK, maybe "lots" isn't a quota you should try to fill. But there's definitely nothing wrong with adding chocolate to your diet to get all those wonderful skin benefits. "Dark chocolate can moisturize your skin and increase blood flow, which can make your skin more resistant to sun damage," Booth said. This is all thanks to the antioxidants in chocolate, so snack away.
9. Not Putting A Lot Of Effort Into Your Skincare
I'm not saying you should ignore your skin. But it's true a "less is more" approach is often best. "Conservative exfoliation is actually beneficial for you, especially if you are someone who is prone to active breakouts, because you minimize your chances of scarring," cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss tells Bustle. "Furthermore, when you strip you skin of its' natural oils, your body goes into overdrive to compensate for the loss of moisture." In other words, if you'd like to go bed without scrubbing first, you may actually be doing your skin some good.
10. Wearing Makeup Every Single Day
While you certainly don't want to go to bed with a face full of makeup, there are plenty of benefits to wearing makeup during the day. As Michael H. Wojtanowski, MD, FACS of the Ohio Clinic tell me, products like foundation offer a protective barrier for skin, as well as sun protection (if it contains an SPF, of course). So if makeup's your thing, no need to view it as something that's "bad" for your skin.
11. Getting Oil On Your Face
You've probably been told, over the years, to keep oil off your skin at all costs. But, if you use the right kinds, oil can actually be super good for your skin. "It is actually one of the best ingredients you can use on your skin, especially as a cleanser," says Denise Cartwright, a master esthetician and founder of CRUDE Personal Care. "Oil cleanses the skin deeply (think like attracts like) without disruption or inflammation, allowing the skin to regulate itself." All good things, don't you think?
While there are definitely some bad habits to avoid if you want good skin — like smoking, getting too stressed, or not getting enough sleep — several bad habits are truly great for your skin. If you'd like to have some drinks, or quit washing your face as often, you'd actually be doing yourself some good.
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