4 Common Habits That May Be Damaging Your Skin

You've been eating the right kind of foods, maintaining a good sleep schedule, and even wearing sunscreen on a daily basis. So if your skin still showing some signs of damage, one or more of these common habits might be to blame.

1. Sleeping on your front or your side

Going to bed in the prone position (i.e. sleeping on your stomach) could affect the quality of skin in certain individuals. As this position requires placing our face directly on the pillow, it exposes us to a whole night of direct friction as well as the dirt and bacteria in our pillowcases.

Of course, sleeping on your side might also have the same effect in a limited manner. "Side sleepers often see deeper wrinkles or creases on the side of their face that they naturally turn to each night, as well as vertical creases down their cheeks and chin," said Joel Schlessinger, a board-certified dermatologist.

2. Not cleaning your phone screen

Having a breakout only on one side of your face? It might be related to your smartphone.

It may come as a surprise to some that bacteria is not necessarily the trigger for acne here. The real culprits are other impurities and grime which build up on the phone screen, according to Dr. Estee Williams, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York.

They can contain the likes of oil, dirt, and makeup which end up on the surface of the device if it is not cleaned enough.

"If there’s a lot of buildup on the phone, theoretically that can clog your pores and that sort of plugging of the pores can trigger acne, but not because of the bacteria," Williams explained.

3. Constantly touching your face

It can be tempting to rub your eyes, especially when you feel tired. But when done excessively over a long period, the habit might damage the skin around your eyes (by breaking the "delicate capillaries under the skin," according to an expert) and accelerate wrinkle development.

According to research from Brazil, people touch their faces an average of 3.6 times per hour. So just like smartphones, our hands can also transfer impurities onto our face after coming into contact with other people, doorknobs, stationery, shoes, and more. In some cases, it could also encourage the habit of unnecessarily picking at your skin, leading to scarring.

4. Using too many skincare products

Certain skincare products, such as retinol paired with acne treatments and alpha hydroxy acids, can end up reacting in a harsh way when used together. 

"Piling on multiple active ingredients can often lead to redness, inflammation, and peeling," said Sonia Batra, a dermatologist based in Santa Monica, California.

Her recommendation is to wait a full minute between application of different products or opt for fragrance-free varieties that are less likely to react with one another. Even in the broader sense, the best skincare routines are said to be the most consistent ones. So try not switch between products too much without a good reason to.