A number of factors are known to affect your skin adversely, including smoking, eating sugar, drinking alcohol, not sleeping well or enough, and getting a sunburn. But even if you avoid all these behaviors, you still may have skincare-related habits that — even though they seem harmless — are actually damaging your skin.


1. Tanning

Sunburn is a clear sign of skin damage, however, prolonged exposure to the sun (tanning) also negatively impacts the skin and results in photoaging. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, or UVR, impacts the cells that renew your skin and speeds up the aging process that leads to wrinkles and dark spots, or age spots.

Protect your skin from harmful radiation by using different forms of sun protection, such as a wide-brimmed hat and a broad-spectrum sunscreen product that contains zinc oxide.


2. Not Removing Your Makeup

Sleeping with your makeup on can result in premature aging and skin damage. The pores get clogged with product, which causes them to stretch and not shrink back to their original size. Especially true when collagen levels start to decrease, the clogged pores can result in uneven skin texture. Anna Pursglove, writing for the “Daily Mail” in 2013, reports that a experiment was conducted in which a woman did not take off her makeup for one month, and, according to Pursglove, she looked approximately 10 years older by the end of the 30-day period.
 
The best way to remove makeup from your skin is by using a gentle, water-soluble cleanser, which breaks down any product and does not leave pore-clogging residue on the skin. When wearing heavy makeup, you many want to clean your face a second time to ensure that no trace of makeup remains.


3. Over-Exfoliating

Exfoliating helps to remove dead skin cells that may build up on the top layer of your skin and cause dull skin, clogged pores and breakouts. However, over-exfoliating can lead to irritation, sensitivity and even damage to the outer layer of the skin.

Choose exfoliating products based on your skin type. Those with sensitive skin should not use any product that contains large scrubbing particles, which can cause irritation. Safer options for more delicate skin types include mild cleansers and masks that contain fruit enzymes, which exfoliate the skin gently.


4. Using Incorrect Skincare Products

Choosing the right skincare product is a process of trial and error. Finding a balanced routine that works can be a challenging process, especially if you have one of the more difficult skin types. However, always stick to the products that are targeted for your particular skin type to avoid ingredients that are not beneficial.

If your skin burns, stings, looks red, flaky or excessively oily after using a certain skincare product, it probably means that it’s not appropriate for your skin type.


5. Picking Blemishes

Picking blemishes can result in scars and hyper-pigmentation that can be very difficult to heal. Unless the extraction is done by a licensed esthetician — or at home using the right techniques when instructed by a professional — it is best not to squeeze or pop the blemish. Instead, apply an anti-inflammatory, topical treatment to promote healing.