Tricks of the Trade: Protect your skin by following these easy steps


I am clueless about skin care. Are there any do’s and don’t’s that you can recommend to keep my skin nice and clear?

A lot of times we hear advice on what to do to keep skin looking young and blemish-free. We tend to forget, though, that the things we don’t do also matter. Yes, sometimes things are better left untouched. A little skin problem can actually get worse when we take action too swiftly or too radically. Sometimes it is better to just wait it out.

At the same time, we might have a few bad habits that we can do away with. Tweaking a few things here and there can do us a world of good—it can keep us healthy and, in the process, make our skin look amazing. Here are a couple of skin sins you must steer clear from.

1.) Picking your face. We all have a tendency to do it, especially when we’re alone and in front of our magnifying mirrors. All our blemishes begin to look like icky towers of dirt, sweat and oil just waiting to be torn down. Before you touch your face again, think about what you’re actually doing—spreading bacteria from your dirty fingers and nails to your skin, making the problem worse.

Solution: See your dermatologist. That’s their job—to give expert advice and apply tried-and-tested solutions using sterile tools and medicine. This shouldn’t be considered a luxury if you want to maintain great skin.

2.) Smoking. We already know that smoking is bad for our health, so it should make perfect sense that this habit also causes damage on our skin. Not only does it lead to dry skin, it also destroys new skin cells. This causes apparent dullness and an ashen complexion. Likewise, it hastens the development of wrinkles around the eyes and lips from constant puckering motion and squinting.

Solution: Quit smoking. Try using nicotine gum or patches, or switch to an e-cigarette that uses water vapor instead of tobacco.

3.) Sleeping face down. Who would’ve thought that our sleeping position could have an effect on our skin? Well, apparently, it can. When we sleep on our faces, we are constantly pulling and stretching skin for a good number of hours. Multiply that  every night and you’ll notice problems like fine lines and sagging.

Solution: Buy a satin pillowcase. This allows your skin to glide over the pillow without tugging on the skin.

4.) Using products that make you break out. This is where the sayang mentality kicks in, especially when we paid quite a lot to buy the product. Continuing to use a product that causes an adverse reaction to our skin will only make things worse—our skin will not get used to the product. Also, even if it works for one person (like your best friend, for example), it may not work for you, so lower your expectations and keep an open mind for other products.

Solution: Ask for testers from the beauty brands you want to try. This allows you to sample the product without actually having to commit using it. This way, you won’t feel bad when the product doesn’t work for you.

5.) Sleeping with makeup on. Cleansing your face should obviously be a huge part of skincare routine. But there are still some people who ignore this warning and sleep with a face full of makeup. This is a huge no-no as skin needs to breathe especially when we sleep (this is when the body recharges and regenerates). Being tired shouldn’t be an excuse. Just imagining how clogged the pores must be with all that makeup on your face—plus dirt, oil and bacteria—should get you worried about waking up with a huge zit in the morning.

Solution: Buy facial or makeup remover wipes and keep them handy in your bag or car. This will ensure that you’s be able to take off your makeup (or at least begin removing it) even before you get home.

6.) Lying under the sun. As much as I can understand how addicting tanning can be, I have to say this is the worst thing you can do to your skin. Getting that golden brown complexion you aspire for (if you have a natural light skin tone) can be dangerous, as UV rays can damage skin and even cause skin cancer. You may think getting a tan for a good week is cool, until your skin starts peeling and all that “hard work” is lost.

Solution: Apply sunscreen every two to three hours when you’re on the beach, and every time you get out of the water. If you don’t want to be bothered by applying and reapplying sunscreen, use a wide-brimmed hat or umbrella, or find any means of protecting yourself from the harsh rays of the sun.

This article was published in the Lifestyle Section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on December 13, 2013.

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