I’m an Esthetician and These Are 10 Skin-Care Habits Every Person Should Make

Photo: Tamon George
In my 10-plus years as an esthetician, I've treated an innumerable amount of folks who all want to know one thing: the secret to beautiful, youthful-looking skin. Ninety percent of them ask about the most effective serums and masks on the market, even if those comes with an extravagant price tag.

But, what if I told you that there isn't just one secret to youthful skin, but many—and none of them involve a single product? It's true: Daily lifestyle habits can make a serious impact in your skin's health, and I've seen the results firsthand from my clients. Because, let's be frank: Do you think any magical serum will amount to anything if you're going to sleep with your makeup on or pull all-nighters to binge-watch Game of Thrones? I don't think so. However, instilling these habits into your daily lifestyle will not only help your skin flourish, but boost your overall well being as well. Keep on scrolling to find out what they are and to add them to your routine now.

1. Figure out your skin type

During the initial consultation with any new client I see, I examine their skin thoroughly to figure out what their skin type is and sometimes it takes more than their initial visit. Everyone's skin is different, which means there's no one-size-fits-all routine. When you know your skin type, you'll know which ingredients and routines will work best for you. If you're unsure of how to find your correct skin type in its current state, consult a professional esthetician.

2. Take your makeup off

Please listen to me when I say that removing all of your makeup at night is key to maintaining youthful skin. Wearing makeup to sleep can clog your pores, which can result in blemishes. Would you go to work without brushing your teeth? The same goes for your skin, so don't lay down on that pretty pillowcase until you've cleansed your skin before bed.

3. Wear sunscreen everyday, even when there's no sun

Ninety percent of skin aging is caused by the sun. There's a big misconception that just because it’s a cloudy day, you’re safe to walk around without sunscreen. This is one hundred percent false. You're still getting a significant dose of UV rays peeking through the clouds. Wear at least SPF 40 daily, whether you’re indoors or outdoors or whether it’s winter or summer, you have to wear it year-round. I promise you'll thank me later.

4. Don't pick your skin

I know skin picking can be the source of a deeper issue such as stress, anxiety, and excoriation, but if you can help it, try to refrain from picking your pimples. You're exposing yourself to infection that can potentially spread and cause more blemishes. "Don't pick any pimples that comes to the surface of the skin," says board-certified dermatologist Michelle Henry, MD. "Picking acne can cause long-lasting scarring and hyperpigmentation."

5. Break a sweat

On top of it being one of the greatest stress relievers, exercising has been proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. "When you sweat, you're releasing toxins from the body while also increasing blood circulation, providing more oxygen to the body," says Los Angeles-based esthetician Candace Crowder, owner of Great Skin by Candace. "When this happens, more nutrients are delivered to the skin". Pro Tip: Cleanse your skin immediately after physical activity. If you cannot cleanse with a traditional cleanser at that moment, rinse skin with cool water to decrease inflammation and ensure all of the grime and bacteria doesn't dry and absorb right back into the skin.

6. Wash your pillowcases weekly

Your sheets hold a lot of sweat, dirt, dead skin cells, and residual oil from hair care and body care products. Something as small as this can cause blackheads and blemishes, so always wash your pillowcases weekly or at the very least swap them with another fresh pair. FYI: Cotton is old news, so be sure to invest in silk pillowcases. A smooth surface will provide less friction to the skin while tossing and turning. Less friction, fewer wrinkles.

7. Your gut affects your glow

Skin care is more than just what we put on our skin, it's also what we put in our bodies. Eating foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins are imperative for the health of our skin. Load up on dark leafy greens, nuts, and fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, oranges, blackberries and refrain from anything processed. "Avoid empty carbohydrates which can cause your insulin to spike and trigger an acne-causing cascade of chemical and hormonal reactions as well as excessive dairy intake which is naturally inflammatory," says Dr. Henry.

8. Get plenty of ZZZs

Where do you think the saying "beauty sleep" comes from. Sleep is a vital part of skin health, and lack of sleep produces more stress hormones, cortisol. Lack of sleep also contributes to dehydrated skin, puffy eyes and dark circles.

9. Don't touch your face

Frequently placing your hands on your face has the potential to cause serious damage to the skin. Allergens and bacteria can be transferred from your fingertips to your face. We're constantly touching our phones, doorknobs, subway handrails, and more.

10. Get yearly skin scans

We have to remember to treat our skin, as we would any other organ. I recommend everyone get a skin check by a board certified dermatologist annually. Skin cancer affects everyone of all different colors and backgrounds. Examine your skin monthly and make a note of any new moles and freckles that appear. If any of them look a bit funky and abnormal, make an appointment with your dermatologist for a thorough examination.

What else can help? Some derms say cold showers and of course, they second the sunscreen use. Make sure to put it on every single day.

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