Even the most savvy among you could be inadvertently undoing all your hard work in front of the bathroom mirror every morning and night. Sun exposure, air pollution, poor diet, smoking, stress, lack of sleep – these deleterious things you’re no doubt wise to.
But we’ll bet that you’re sleeping on one or more of the below. Here are 5 ways how you’re harming your appearance without even realising:
Having A Shower
You need a degree of heat just to get the grime off. Just be mindful of temperature and duration. Don’t exceed 40°C maximum. The ideal temperature for skin is lukewarm. And showering for 10-20 minutes is fine, an hour is not.
The other problem area is your products. Generally, shower gels and soaps are okay to wash with, but if your skin gets dry and itchy, consider washing with moisturiser. Creams and moisturising gels can be used as you would a shower gel.
Not using shampoo runs the risk of increasing the microbial content of the hair and scalp, which in turn causes itchy and flaky conditions such as dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.
Having A Man Bun
Wrapping long hair into a tight bun for days, weeks or months on end can cause traction alopecia. That constant tension on your hair results in a micro-inflammation in the hair follicle, which could eventually lead to those areas thinning.
Moisturising Against The Grain
Men’s skin gets dry as well as women’s, so you should moisturise all your skin daily, but don’t rub it in against the grain. Smooth along, especially if you’re using a greasy moisturiser, to reduce the risk of blocking hair follicles – a cause of folliculitis.
As with shaving, the key is to follow the direction of hair growth. On your face and neck, this can vary between areas. But away from there, things get simpler. When moisturising limbs, generally go from the centre of your body towards your extremities, so from upper legs to feet and from upper arms to hands.
Yes, you can enjoy clearer skin as well as a clear conscience by forsaking all animal products: dairy can aggravate acne, particularly if it’s not heat-treated. But there’s one hairy critter who could lose out. Your hair desperately needs sulphur-rich amino acids and iron to grow well, both of which are in abundance in a slab of steak.
That doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to have bad hair, or fellow mammals have to die to preserve your luscious locks: just ensure that you’re taking in the right types of proteins and iron from elsewhere.
The former can be found in soy, sunflower seeds, oats and legumes, while the latter can be located in most nuts, seeds, grains and legumes. Failing that, take a vegetarian-friendly hair supplement. The stakes are high when your steaks are in short supply.
Eating Dinner Too Late
You understand the link between what you put in your body and what it’s wrapped in: mainlining antioxidants is good whereas chocolate is a recipe for pizza face. But your skin isn’t just what you eat, it’s when you eat, according to a study in the journal Cell Reports.
Chowing down outside of a 12-hour window salts the game of your enzymes, one of which, XPA, is responsible for repairing UV damage. A late dinner shifts the cycle of XPA back, which in turn reduces the degree of repair and protection the next day. Table for two at 7pm, then.