The Harley Medical Group

7 things that could be making your skin worse

Nearly everyone has experienced bad skin at some point: it’s just a fact of life. While we’re told to drink more water and avoid greasy foods, sometimes there’s no stopping small bouts of acne or itchy rashes.

However, dermatologists have highlighted a handful of common habits that could be contributing to agitated skin. We take a look at some of these below.

Relying on manual skincare brushes

While there are positives that come with using manual skincare brushes, overuse of these products can lead to serious skin damage. While the general consensus is that these brushes clean and exfoliate skin, not many people know that overuse, or particularly aggressive brushes, can remove surface skin cells. This can lead to tight, sore or irritated skin. Use of these products should be limited.

Using high SPF sunscreen

A common myth is that higher SPF sunscreen increases skin protection. According to doctors, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Dr. Sharyn Laughlin, board certified dermatologist at Laserderm and founder of Cyberderm, told Bustle:

“Most consumers mistakenly assume that label SPF numbers and claims of 'Broad spectrum — prevents skin cancer and photoaging' are accurate. They succumb to the market seduction that higher SPF means more or better protection. Nothing could be further from the truth”.

Some high SPF sunscreens are, in fact, made from soluble filters. This can expose you to unfiltered UVA radiation, which in turn, can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer and accelerated photo aging.

Not using a humidifier in winter

Not using a humidifier during winter can take its toll on your skin. Dr Laughlin explains:

"Moisturizers, serums, and other hydration products are essential for any optimal skincare routine, but in winter when the heat is on full blast, the lack of ambient humidity is detrimental to healthy skin. With central forced air heating, keep the in-line humidifiers set to maintain a relative humidity at 30-40%. Cold steam humidifiers in specific rooms are an effective way to keep the humidity at a reasonable level, but require regular cleaning."

Over-bathing in winter

As amazing as hot bubble baths are in winter, this can be highly detrimental to your skin. Too many hot baths with too much soap can lead to dry and itchy skin. A better option would be a warm bath containing a small amount of olive oil, to keep skin smooth and moisturised.

Learn how banish dry skin in winter.


Assuming organic skincare products are healthy

Many of us have been tricked into believing that all organic skincare products are good for our skin. ‘Organic’ definitely doesn’t translate into ‘harmless’ or ‘effective’. All ingredients have a chemical formula, and whilst some may be non-toxic and help improve your skin, it shouldn’t be assumed that these ingredients are completely non-allergenic.

Having extractions

What many people don’t realise is that dermatologists rarely recommend extractions on zits/pimples. By having an extraction you can potentially damage the pore and leave a hypotrophic scar, or a depression in the skin. You should first speak to a dermatologist and then work out the best course of action for your skin.


Citrus-based essential oils

Lemon or lime-based oils, when combined with sunlight, can have a damaging effect on your skin. As Dr Laughlin describes, this can lead to a serious condition which makes the skin hypersensitive to ultraviolet light:

“Lemon or lime juice that touches skin and is then exposed to sunlight may result in a phytophotodermatitis — the sudden appearance of brown streaks or spots without any warning, with no preceding redness or blisters. If you have had a spritz of lime juice on your skin in sunlight, you could have this unfortunate experience and develop unsightly brown pigment in the pattern of the contact”.

Read more need to know skin care guide. Which superfoods lead to healthy looking skin.

Do you have any secrets to healthy skin? Are some foods and drinks more important to your skin health than others? We’d love to hear what you think over on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted July 18, 2020
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