shower

You keep slathering on the lotion, but your skin still feels itchy, dry and irritated. Lotion alone won’t help your parched skin if you have other bad beauty habits going on. A lot of factors influence how your skin looks and feels, even ones you may not realize—like these five bad beauty habits. Find out what they are and fix them!

1. Taking hot showers

Steamy showers feel oh-so lovely. The warm water relaxes and soothes your body and mind, but it’s doing the opposite for your skin. Hot showers strip your skin of the oil that helps it retain moisture. The outermost layer of your skin contains a protective layer of oil that the longer and hotter the shower, the more moisture your skin will lose. That’s why after languishing in the shower for 20 minutes, you’ll usually step out with red, itchy skin. At this point your skin has already dried out considerably. You don’t have to go cold turkey, on the hot water that is. Just keep it to a nice slightly warm temp.

2. Not getting enough water

You’ve heard the drink eight glasses of water a day rule over and over. It’s true that drinking water can hydrate your skin making you look all glowy and lovely. Did you know though that you might actually want to eat your water instead of drink it? Even if you drink glass after glass of water, you might not actually be retaining very much of it. The water just goes straight through you—and straight out—after your frequent trips to the bathroom. Instead, try eating water-rich foods like watermelon and zucchini, and also incorporate more fruits and veggies in general into your diet.

3. Using harsh products

Conventional soaps, cleansers, bath gels, lotions and other products you rub into your skin can contain harmful ingredients and additives that actually irritate and potentially damage your skin. Think nasty ingredients like petroleum waxes, phthalates, parabens, fillers, artificial chemicals and synthetic fragrances. These harsh ingredients don’t do your skin any favors. It’s yet another reason to go organic when it comes to beauty.

For those with sensitive skin, even choosing organic beauty products can dry out your skin. The essential oils used to add fragrance to organic beauty products can often irritate sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, look for organic beauty products with as few ingredients as possible and no scent. S.W. Basics of Brooklyn offers a great face and body cream that contains simply fair trade shea butter, organic coconut oil and organic olive oil.

4. Moisturizing at the wrong time

Wait. What? You can moisturize at a wrong time? Okay, not exactly. Moisturizing can help prevent dry skin period. But, you can moisturize at better times. Slather on your favorite lotions, creams and oils just after you get out of the shower while skin is still damp. This will help lock in moisture and replenish skin far better than if you were applying a lotion to dry skin. Don’t forget to moisturize after you wash your hands and face too.

5. Avoiding oils

Never used body or facial oils? Your skin is missing out! Applying oils to your skin may seem counter-intuitive. Why would you layer your face in oil when you don’t want oily skin? And, using body oil? We’re not in a rap video. Oils may be less well known for moisturizing than the more common lotions and creams, but they actually work better. And, instead of making your face oilier, they balance out your skin. You need supplemental oils to replenish the natural protective layer of oil that already resides on your skin.

Whether for your body or face, get ready to get oily! You’ll love the way oils leave your skin soft and hydrated. Try pure jojoba, argon, or almond oil for body and face. Or, go for an organic facial oil made with a mixture of different oils. We love Primavera Organic Multi-purpose Face Oil and Annmarie Gianni Anti-Aging Facial Oil.

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image: @Doug88888