Smiling woman looking at herself in the mirror

8 Signs You’re Not Cleansing Your Skin Properly

With how busy life gets and the number of tasks and responsibilities that keep piling up, it is easy to neglect skin care habits that take some of our time.

There are days where we don’t have the energy to go through even a 5 step cleansing routine and go straight to bed. You probably experience a phase wherein some days you would forget to take off your makeup because you were super exhausted from work and the morning after your skin will feel sticky and greasy. Gross right? As a college student or a working adult, you can definitely relate. 

However,  you will realize the time that costs you a few minutes every morning and every night are an investment making your skin retain its youth. Doing otherwise may sentence you to suffer some consequences such as these: 

1.    Breaking Out

Although acne is a skin condition that both the rich and poor experiences, there is an underlying stigma making people who have it feel insecure and uncomfortable with their looks. Though somehow, having the hormonal misfortune of triggering acne is inevitable, there are some preventive and remedial measures we can take. 

What Happens to Your Skin?

Before going into detail on how to cure and prevent acne, it is best to learn about this skin condition for us to have a better picture. 

The cause of acne is very simple. The pores are like the vents that help our skin to breathe. It helps our skin by disposing some of our bodies’ excess in the form of oil. Pimples then are formed when oil gets clogged in our pores. 

Furthermore, these residues clogged in the pores may be infected by airborne bacteria brought by exposure to external agents such as dust. The bacteria that infects pimples and triggers acne is called Propionibacterium acnes. 

Infographic on clogged pores

Causes of Acne

One prevalent cause of acne is a hormonal imbalance. The main factors that come into play are the hormones known as androgen in adolescents and estrogen in adults. As the level of androgen rises, oil glands under the skin grow. Enlarged oil glands produce more sebum. Excessive sebum causes clogged pores and bacteria.  This hormonal imbalance can be traced from internal bodily processes caused by:

    • Medications and prescription drugs
    • Stress
    • Hormonal changes in adolescence
    • Greasy cosmetics
    • Menstruation
    • Dehydration

What to Do to Prevent Acne?

Types of acne vary. Of course, severe acne will require more intensive medication. But for mild to moderate condition, there are easy and practical ways to go about your everyday skincare routine:

  • Wash your face twice a day: It is best to use warm water, and mild cleansing products made for acne. Try to avoid antibacterial soaps because these products tend to make the skin coarse and dry.
  • DO NOT pop your pimples: Although it is very tempting to do so, please refrain from popping because these will leave marks on your face that may be permanent scars. 
  • Be very selective of your cosmetics: Choose the makeup that is suitable for your sensitive skin type. Also, do not put too much makeup on your face especially when you are still recovering from acne. Chemicals in them may clog the pores and trigger more pimples. 

2.    Your Skin is Super Dry 

The roughness of the skin is due to the low amount of natural oils and lubricants that should keep the skin soft and smooth. Although, this condition is most common among the elderly, dry skin can be triggered by various environmental factors such as temperature and humidity.

Development of Cracks and Dry Patches

The epidermis, the outer layer of our skin, is made up of lipids and proteins. They prevent skin dehydration and retain moisture. Thus, deficiency of proteins and lipids makes the moisture evaporate quickly leading to rashes and cracks on the skin. 

Xerosis (dry skin) is very common especially during hot weathers. However, leaving it untreated may lead to bacterial infections and severe skin diseases.

How to Treat Dry Skin?

Although in the offset of developing dry skin is usually mild, it is important to take caution to treat this skin condition as soon as possible. Here are some essential tips for your skin care routine:

  • Do not over wash your face.
  • Avoid using harsh soaps and cleansers.
  • Do not over exfoliate.
  • Religiously use lotions and moisturizers especially when going out. 

3.   Your Skin is Too Oily

People with this condition will likely develop acne. For the most part, having persistent oily skin has to do with stress, hormones, and genetics. Having oily skin is practically harmless, but it may sabotage your fresh look and makeup effort when you go out.  

Common Symptoms

Other than the obvious fact that the face looks shinier more frequently than most people, there are a few telltales of having excessive oil production in your pores:

  • Prevalence of whiteheads and blackheads
  • Persistent development of pimples
  • Skin looks rough and thick

These signs may also be caused by various factors such as frequent exposure to heat and humidity which makes your pores get used to producing more oil to hydrate the skin. In time, even in cold places, oil glands may switch to autopilot and generate unnecessary oil. 

How Do I Manage Excessive Facial Oil?

As having oily skin is inevitable for people who are born with it, proper skin care handling might as well be the key to look fresh as much as you can. This includes the right routine with the right products that should be done on an everyday basis:

Woman applying skincare with cotton pad

  • Consider using a toner. A toner is always best used after washing your face for deeper cleansing. Toners have soothing properties for the skin such as natural astringents. For oily skin, the best products to use are those with witch hazel contents. 
  • Facials masks. The facial masks are good deterrents for oily skin. They contain minerals that can absorb oils, sebum levels, and shininess without causing irritation. 
  • Use moisturizers regularly. Some people steer clear of moisturizers because they think these will make their skin greasier. On the contrary, moisturizers are very important in preventing oiliness. As it was mentioned earlier, oil glands tend to produce more oil when dehydrated. Moisturizers act as an external aid to prevent dehydration striking a balance in the body’s processes. 

4.    Redness of Skin

Swollen and reddish skin is often a symptom of acne, seborrhea, and rosacea. It is usually caused by irritation due to too much exposure to dust and the sun. Facial redness comes with itching and rough skin texture that can be very painful.

Things You Don’t Know Causing This Skin Condition

Although facial redness can be the side effect of other diseases such as lupus and eczema, there are certain practices and pet peeves that can trigger this type of irritation:

  • Drinking too much alcohol. Although our faces turn reddish when we are drunk, frequent and excessive amount of alcohol in the body makes small blood vessels to widen in your skin and causes capillaries to break leading to irritation.
  • Using low-quality cosmetics. Beauty products do not need to be expensive to be considered of high quality. Be very selective in buying your beauty cosmetics what use is a great deal if it irritates and damages your skin?
  • Skipping your daily cleansing routine. We are inevitably exposed to airborne chemical agents that are harmful to our skin. These may build up in our skin and cause irritation. Yes, it is tempting to go straight to bed after a hard day’s work, but you should not neglect washing up. It will make your skin look better, and you will be refreshed and get a better good night’s sleep.

5.    Burning and Stinging

Pain receptors are our bodies’ signal to tell us that there is something wrong. These sensations in our skin may entail damage or allergic reactions to external agents we have been exposed to. The same as facial redness, burning and stinging may also be side effects of various skin diseases or irritation from harsh skincare products. 

How to Soothe Your Skin 

To be able to get to the bottom of this, you should first figure out what is causing this irritation. Whether it is allergies or the use of harsh skin care products, it’s better to consult first your doctor or dermatologist for you to know proper remedial and preventive measures that are suitable for your condition. In the meantime, before you visit your doctor, try to:

  • avoid scratching damaged areas (no matter how itchy it may get);
  • use unfamiliar skin products; and
  • always wash the areas properly with mild cleansers only.

6.    Presence of Milia

Milia is a type of acne that is caused by skin disorders such as bullous lichen planus and bullous pemphigoid. These tiny white bumps are nothing to worry about because usually, they disappear after a few days. But of course, it would be better to sport a smooth, flawless skin. 

Types of Milia

There are four types of milia. These are practically the same kinds. The only difference is where in the body does it appear.

  • Primary Milia: The most common and typically appears on the face.
  • Secondary Milia: This can appear anywhere in the body.
  • Eruptive milia: This appears as small white bumps in the neck and head.
  • Milia en Plaque– This is the rarest type, and it appears near the ear and upper eyelids.

Milia are practically harmless but if you notice any abnormalities such as the unlikely size and prevalence to your body, be sure to pay a visit to your doctor right away. 

7.    Peeling

Peeling is caused by other skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and essentially dry skin. It is also called exfoliative dermatitis when the peeling has spread in a large portion of your body. This may cause discomforts such as itchiness and bruises.  Skin can also be rough, patchy and affected areas may be swollen.

Some Effective Remedies

Organic home remedies are always one of the best ways to medicate mild skin condition. Although as much as it is fun to play beauty guru in the kitchen, consult your doctors before trying anything new to treat your skin. 

However, if you do not have time to make organic facial masks, here are some tips that will be useful to heal and prevent peeling:

  • Use lukewarm water in your bath to open up your pores.
  • Use a gentle exfoliator as a facial cleanser.
  • Use soft towels to dry your skin.
  • Apply topical anti-inflammatory cream with aloe vera after cleansing your face.

8.    Signs of Aging

These are those wrinkles and fine lines that will eventually grace our facial features. Having these earlier can be side effects of stress, hormones, genetics and also dry and coarse skin.

Worried woman looking at her face in mirror

Aging, of course, is inevitable and every second that passes makes our bodies older by the moment. It is not a skin condition, but this is what most of us try to delay its telltales. To do so, we must be very particular not just in our skin care routine, but also in our day to day activities. 

Essentials in Fighting the Signs of Aging

Preventing wrinkles and fine lines to show does not only take topical moisturizers and night creams. This goal requires a good and healthy lifestyle. Because what we do to our bodies manifests through how we display ourselves and looking younger means looking healthier and happier. Therefore, here are some tips that you definitely have to live by to achieve that younger looking skin:

Follow these tips and make it part of your daily routine and in no time, you may be surprised to look five years younger!

Taking care of your skin is both a lifestyle and a sacred commitment to your body. It does not only entail your morning and evening cleansing routine but also your diet and day to day activities.  So before skipping that sunscreen, ditching the evening routine to go to bed and neglecting to wash your face because you are already super late for work, think about the consequences that may show in your skin.

Remember, wanting to look good is not vanity, it is simply our right to feel confident with our bodies. So, do things that make you look your best and be kind to your skin, always. 

Workout friends high-five each other, resting

Setting Realistic Workout Expectations

When it comes to working out, consistency is key. Pushing yourself too hard will only damage your motivation, making it far less likely that you will stick to a regular workout routine. 

This is why it is so important to set yourself realistic workout expectations, as this is what will give you the best results. 

How do you make sure that your aims and goals are realistic? 

Here are some tips: 

Smart Goals

When it comes to setting goals, SMART is an acronym that can really help you. 

What does SMART stand for? 

  • Specific – your goal should be clear and succinct. Read on for advice on choosing these specific goals 
  • Measurable – this basically means that you need to add a number to your goal. Make sure that there is a way to numerically track your progress 
  • Attainable – this is the tricky part. Your specific, measurable goal needs to be difficult enough to challenge and motivate you but attainable enough for you to actually achieve 
  • Realistic – make sure that your goal is realistic and relevant to you, and that it is the right time in your life to be putting your time and focus into achieving it 
  • Timely – give your goal a realistic deadline 

Infographic on SMART goals

Confused? 

An example would be “I will go running four days a week for an hour each time, so that I can lose 5% of my body weight in six weeks time.”

Choosing Realistic Goals and Expectations

For many people, especially those who are new to working out, the main goal tends to be weight loss. 

There is nothing wrong with this, but you do need to make sure that you are still being realistic…

How can you set a realistic weight loss goal? 

You need to first take into account your current weight, along with your body fat percentage. The heavier you are, and the more body fat you have, the faster you will be able to lose this. 

Once your body fat percentage and weight starts to decrease, it will then take you longer to lose the rest. 

For many people out there, a good expectation to aim for would be to lose about one percent of your body weight a week. 

How about for those who are trying to build muscle and strength? 

Well, as above, those who are new to strength training will make progress faster. 

Ideally, you should be able to add five pounds to the amount you lift each week. 

For those who are beginners, you could aim to increase your body weight by between 1% to 1.5% each year. Those who are intermediate lifters should aim for about 0.5%, while those who are experts should aim for around 0.25%. 

As you can see, there is quite a bit to take into account when setting your goal. You will need to do some research into making sure that your goal is a realistic one, so that you know that you will be able to achieve it. 

Measuring and Documenting Your Progress 

To begin with, you need to write your goals down. 

Why? 

Because not only does this make them more definite and real, but research shows that those who write down their workout plans and aims exercise around twice as much as those who do not. 

Once you get started with your workouts, it is important to keep monitoring your progress. This will go a long way when it comes to keeping you on track to accomplishing your goal. 

How should you monitor your progress?

Here are a few ideas: 

  • Keep a log book – your log book should contain the following information: your workout schedule, the actual exercises you have done, the amount of time you spent working out and numbers relating to your goal. This could be weight loss numbers, fitness levels, or anything else. Keeping track of your energy levels and your mood can also be beneficial 
  • Use an app – there are so many different workout apps out there that will help you to track your progress. Many of these can be accompanied by pieces of wearable technology, enabling you to obtain the highest in accuracy 

Checking watch and mobile phone app for workout statistics

  • Keep a calender – this is similar to a log book, but laying it all out on a calendar will make it easier to visually see your overall progress 
  • Take pictures – taking pictures throughout your workout journey will enable you to compare any aesthetic changes side by side. They will also provide you with extra motivation when it comes to continuing on to making improvements to your body. Posting these photos on a social media account can also help to keep you accountable when it comes to sticking to your aims and goals 

Sticking to Your Goals

For those of you who already regularly work out, you have likely had those days where you just can’t seem to muster up the motivation to exercise. 

Sticking to your workout goals can be tough, but here are a few tips to help you out: 

  • Reward yourself – set yourself mini goals and then reward yourself each time you achieve one of these. The rewards could be anything from a pampering spa session to a short break away, depending on how much motivation you need 
  • Keep your workout bag packed – this makes it easier to just “grab and go” before a workout, rather than having to waste time sorting through your belongings and packing your bag 
  • Work out with friends and family – this not only makes working out more enjoyable, but will also hold you more accountable to your goals 
  • Plan some form of exercise for each day – even if you only plan to work out in the gym four times a week, you should still try to plan an active exercise for the remaining days of the week. This could be as simple as a bike ride, a hike with the dog, or even an evening stroll around your neighborhood 
  • Go public – whether you simply announce your goals to your friends and family, or set up a social media account where you post your progress, putting your goals out there in the big wide world makes it much harder to ignore them when things are feeling difficult 
  • Work with a personal trainer – this will give you some extra motivation, while the advice given to you during your workout will help to make your workout even more effective 

Aligning Your Diet with Your Workout Goals 

You are likely already well aware of the fact that your diet will have a huge impact when it comes to achieving your workout goals.

Eating the right foods before your workout will give your body the energy it needs to really thrive and be active, while eating certain foods afterwards will help when it comes to building muscle and reducing fat. 

So, which foods should you be eating? 

Well, before a workout, try to eat foods that are low in fiber and fat, but contain a moderate amount of protein and carbohydrates. Stay away from anything fried, greasy or filled with sugar. 

Drinking plenty of fluids with your food is also important. 

Why? 

Because the water in these fluids acts as a cooling mechanism for your body, while also preventing it from becoming dehydrated. 

What about sports drinks? 

All you really need is water. However, if you tend to sweat quite a bit, or are working out in a humid environment, then a sports drink could be quite beneficial. Of course, if weight loss is your end goal, then make sure that the sports drink you choose does not contain too many calories. There are many diet versions of sports drinks available, so these may be better suited to you. 

What should you be eating after your workout? 

Ideally, you want to be eating foods that contain plenty of protein. This is what your muscles need in order to recover from all the exercise, as well as to grow. 

However, don’t go overboard…

Your body only needs about 10 to 20 grams of protein after a workout.

Do you struggle to stick to a healthy diet? 

Here are some tips to follow to make it easier: 

  • Eat smaller meals, but eat these more frequently throughout the day. This will help to naturally raise your metabolism, enabling you to burn more calories in the end 
  • Give food prep a try. Sorting your meals from before will make it much easier to stick to a healthy diet 
  • Try not to skip meals. This may seem beneficial in the short run, but it only means that you are much more likely to over-eat during your next meal 
  • A journal that documents your diet will help you to eat healthier 

Keep Your Workouts Enjoyable

Working out can sometimes seem a bit tedious, and this only makes it so much harder to achieve your goals and expectations. 

The key here is to make sure that you are keeping your workouts fun and enjoyable. 

How? 

Well, to begin with, choose some exercises that you genuinely enjoy. For example, if you hate going to the gym, then coming up with a workout plan that revolves around the gym isn’t something that is going to fill you with excitement. 

In fact, working out outdoors can really give you a mental boost. Spending time in nature is extremely therapeutic, and you will likely find that you have a much clearer head after an outdoor workout. Research shows that exercising outdoors is much more effective at reducing feelings of stress than exercising indoors.

Yoga group in the park, morning

Try to keep mixing your workouts up, so that you aren’t doing the same exercises day in and day out. There are so many new and inventive exercises constantly being put out there, and trying something that you’ve never tried before will not only help in stimulating your body and muscles, but also your mind. 

This is especially the case for those who haven’t been seeing the results that they have been expecting. This could be a sign that the exercises you have chosen aren’t quite right for your goal, and it would be worth exploring other options. 

Listening to music while working out can also really be a game-changer…

Music has been shown to improve performance while also boosting motivation. 

Wondering if there is a particular genre of music you should be listening to? 

This all depends on the type of workout you are doing…

If you are warming up, something with a slightly slower tempo would be beneficial, while speed or endurance exercises would require a faster tune. 

There are many BPM (beats per minute) calculators online that can help you to work out the tempo of a particular song.

Here are some guidelines to follow: 

  • Warming up – 100 to 110 BPM
  • Stretching – 90 to 100 BPM 
  • Strength training – 110 to 120 BPM 
  • Endurance, agility and speed training – anything over 120 BPM 

Another way to make your workouts more fun is to exercise with someone else. As mentioned above, this also has the added advantage of giving you some extra motivation while also making you more accountable to your goals. 

Don’t have any friends or family who want to work out? 

That’s ok because there are plenty of workout groups that you can join. Whether you join a more informal workout meet-up or an actual class, working out with others will give you a support system that will make your workouts so much more enjoyable. 

Not only can it be difficult to decide upon workout expectations, but then you also have to make sure that you stick to your goals in order to actually achieve your expectations. This is why it is so important that any goals or expectations you set for yourself are realistic, as setting yourself up for success is key when it comes to successfully making progress with your workouts.