You use a loofah
You may think you’re scrubbing away dirt when you wash with a loofah, but you could actually be harming the delicate balance of good bacteria on your skin. “We now understand that to maintain skin health, we must protect our skin’s healthy rain forest of powerful bugs that comprise the skin’s microbiome,” says dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin. “Research has shown that our good bugs can prevent infection, control inflammation, aid in wound healing, and keep skin looking younger.” Instead of harsh cleansing that can cause skin damage, exfoliate—using your hands—no more than twice a week, Dr. Bowe says.
You take hot showers
Maybe you think you need hot water to kill germs, or maybe you just like how the warmth relaxes your muscles—but hot showers are no friend to your skin. “Hot showers strip your skin of its natural oils, drying it out, while also potentially causing a breeding ground for unfriendly skin bugs to proliferate,” Dr. Bowe says. “I encourage my patients to take a warm shower—not too hot—to preserve their skin’s moisture barrier and overall health.” Read about more habits that are sucking the hydration out of your skin.