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Everyday Items That Might Damage Your Skin

11 sneaky things that are bad for skin and trigger breakouts, dryness, and irritation

1. Your Makeup Brushes

Makeup brushes can help you work all kinds of beauty magic but dirty ones are so bad for skin.

If your breakouts are persisting, how often are you cleaning your brushes? They naturally accumulate dirt and bacteria that you unknowingly spread onto your skin with every use.

Brushes also accumulate dead skin cells and oil, leading to congested and broken out skin. The bristles of a brush caked in old, hard makeup won’t be soft and can cause irritation when you swipe it across your face.


2. The Wrong Skincare Products

Bad skin care products, overuse, or just using the wrong products for your skin type will hurt, not help, your complexion.

Signs the products you’re using are damaging your skin include dryness, breakouts, redness, inflammation, and excessive oil.


3. Synthetic Fabrics...And Even Some Natural Ones

Dealing with acne breakouts on your neck, chest, or back area?

Wearing tight clothes made from synthetic fibres like acrylic, polyester, rayon, acetate, and nylon can be bad for skin.

When fabric rubs against acne-aggravated skin the area can become even more inflamed.

Some synthetic fabrics don’t allow the skin to breathe properly, trapping in sweat and oil. This can spread acne bacteria and cause more pore blockages.

It might be a natural fibre but wool (not the super soft merino type) can damage skin too - exacerbating dry, itchy skin problems and triggering eczema.


4. Laundry Detergent

Sensitive skin types can be super reactive to different fragrances and chemicals used in laundry detergents.

Flare ups of dry, itchy, and red patches of skin known as contact dermatitis are commonly linked back to skin being exposed to solvents and soap chemicals.

The safest bet for sensitive skin is to stick with natural or gentle formulations with no fragrance.


5. Hot Showers

Nothing beats a hot shower on a cold winter morning, right?

As great as it feels to turn up the temperature and soak in the steam, hot water is really bad for skin. Especially if you are already dealing with any skin concerns characterised by dry, flaky, red patches, like dermatitis.

Too long under a hot stream of water can damage your skin barrier as it strips away the protective lipid layer of your skin.

This protective layer is responsible for sealing moisture in while keeping bacteria and irritants out. A damaged skin barrier can’t hold onto moisture and as a result, skin becomes itchy, red, and dry.


6. Hair Products

Are hair care products to blame for your skin woes? Certain ingredients commonly found in hair care formulations are bad for skin, causing breakouts, dryness, and irritation.

These 2 are the worst offenders on our bad things for your skin list -

Propylene glycol - A known irritant you’ll find in many shampoos and conditioners that can cause dryness and sensitivity.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) - An ingredient to avoid in all beauty products. It gives shampoo the ability to ‘foam’ up but it’s cleansing properties are harsh. It strips skin of natural oils and can spark an allergic reaction in sensitive skin types.

If you’re prone to acne, it’s also best to avoid using gels, pomades, heavy creams, or any products that add oil to your hair. These can seep into the skin around your hairline causing blocked pores and breakouts.

Oily hair can contribute to the oil on your face too so make sure you’re washing your hair frequently with a gentle shampoo and conditioner.


7. Sleeping Position

Is the way you sleep speeding up signs of ageing?

Opinions are divided on exactly how bad for skin certain positions are but sleep-related wrinkles are something to be wary of.

If you snooze on your stomach, forehead lines can become more prominent. Sleeping on your side may create creases down your cheeks and chin.

Minimise the chance of accelerating wrinkles by sleeping on your back - you’ll also allow fluid to drain properly and reduce the chance of puffy eyes in the morning.


8. Pillowcases & Towels

Another sleep related habit bad for skin is not changing your pillowcase regularly.

Pillows are a sneaky source of bacteria and pore-clogging debris that your skin comes in contact with every night. Sweat and dead skin cells that are shed while you sleep continue to add to the grimy build-up.

Avoid exposing your face to this cocktail of skin disruptors by regularly changing your pillowcases - at least twice a week.

Bath and face towels also harbour scary amounts of bacteria if not washed regularly. Change your bath towels every 3 uses to prevent bacterial overgrowth and your face towels on a daily basis.

Try esmi Microfibre Face Cleansing Mitt.

Perfect for all skin types, it doesn’t harbour bacteria, and removes 80% more dirt, makeup, and product residue than a regular face washer.


9. Makeup Wipes

Quick and convenient? Yes. Good for your skin? Not so much.

Makeup wipes are loaded with preservatives for the purpose of stopping mould and these ingredients can cause skin to become inflamed and dry.

The idea to ‘cleanse’ without water means the cleansing agents in makeup wipes stay on your face instead of being rinsed off. Also highly irritating for skin!

We recommend sensitive skin types skip makeup wipes altogether. Other skin types may be able to get away with occasional use in a cleansing emergency but definitely not on a daily basis.


10. Skipping Sunscreen

Not applying SPF on a daily basis (all year round - no matter the weather) is a habit bad for skin.

Actually, it’s terrible for skin.

It’s estimated that 90% of skin ageing is due to the effects of the sun. The appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and sunspots happen faster when you skip your daily dose of SPF. Worse, you increase the chance of developing sun related cancer, including melanoma.

To protect skin against both UVA and UVB rays, choose broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Aim for SPF 30 or above and reapply throughout the day - every 2 hours or more frequently when swimming, exercising, or wiping your face.

Try esmi Skin Shield Natural Sunscreen SPF30

Broad-spectrum, non-greasy SPF30 coverage for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. Formulated with additional anti-ageing benefits of carrot root oil, hyaluronic acid, and green tea for hydrated, smoother skin.


11. Milk

Foods bad for acne and other skin complaints vary from person to person but some dairy products, in particular milk, are common triggers.

Studies have found a link between milk products and acne but to discover the impact dairy has on you, temporarily cut it from your diet and monitor your skin for changes.

Before making any radical changes to your diet, we recommend consulting with a health professional.

If you are dealing with severe acne, a change in diet may help but it’s not the entire picture. Take a holistic approach to include the right skincare, alternative therapies, or medication as needed. 

Everyday Items That Might Damage Your Skin