Ten things we do to damage our skin...


So, you think you lead a healthy lifestyle, eat the right stuff, exercise adequately and look after your skin. Stop and take a closer look. Are you doing things that could inadvertently damage your skin? These silent killers may be the reason your appearance is lacklustre despite your best efforts.

1. Not drinking enough water

This is perhaps the most repeated advice and the least followed. Your body needs at least two litres a day to remove toxins from your system, partly through your kidneys and partly through your skin. Lacking this, toxin build-up will affect your skin as well as your general health, making you tired and dull. Keep that bottle on your desk, and drink!

2. Picking your pimples

We do it unconsciously, when nervous, or just as a habit. Pimples don't harm your face permanently. What leaves untreatable scars is your picking, pinching and playing with them -- scars so deep that even dermatologist cannot get rid of them 100 per cent. Prevention is the best cure, so stop touching your face and start proper anti-acne treatment.

3. Shaving the wrong way

And it isn't just men I'm talking to. Women who use razors for body hair also beware -- shaving against the direction of hair growth (ie from below upwards) causes ingrown hair, damaged follicles and introduces infections into your hair roots that can cause painful recurrent boils. Shave only in the direction of hair growth -- this will prevent damage to your skin.

4. Not using sunscreen on a hill station

You've gone for a high altitude vacation and the cold weather makes you believe you don't need sun protection -- wrong! At higher altitudes, there are lesser layers of atmosphere between you and the sun to filter UV rays, so your ultra-violet exposure increases. You need your sunscreen all the more!

5. Taking hormone supplements for body building

It isn't just the men, even women who want a 'toned' look quickly take DHEA (DeHydroEpiAndrosterone) supplements. These are known to cause acne even in normal skin, and flare up existing acne. Protein supplements are fine though, and actually help your skin.

6. Not reapplying moisture / sunscreen

Are you the jet setting type who slaps on lotion in the morning and then spends the next two hours at work without a further thought about your skin? Air conditioned offices sap moisture from your skin in a couple of hours. Also, no sunscreen retains its effect beyond two hours. Apply frequently -- at least during your lunch break, after a quick face wash.

7. Waxing your upper lip / facial hair

A total nightmare for your delicate facial skin -- the trauma causes tiny microscopic bleeding into your hair follicles that, over time, heal with scarring and end up causing roughness and pigmentation that is extremely hard to treat.

8. Going on a 'proteins only' diet

Fad diets deprive your skin (and body) of essential nutrients. You need vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and various micronutrients that a single food diet cannot give you. Talk to a professional dietician before embarking on drastic diet plans and get them to prescribe the appropriate nutritional supplements.

9. Late night partying

Your body sleeps at night, but your skin doesn't -- most of its repair and renewal work is done while you're in bed. Depriving it of the nightly eight hours of rejuvenation will obviously leave it looking dull and tired. Good sleep is a must for good skin!

10. Stressing out

Stress shows up after years on your heart and blood pressure, but almost immediately on your skin. So listen to your skin when it is trying to tell you something -- patchy complexion, blemishes, dullness, itchy redness, rashes appearing at periods of high stress, acne flare-ups -- all point to unwarranted high stress levels. Try yoga, meditation, exercise, or whatever your best stress buster is