We all strive to have a glowing complexion, shiny hair and a white smile. But overdoing some regular beauty routines can be causing you more harm than good.
Take exfoliating. It is important for the skin, says dermatologist Doris Day. It helps remove the dead skin cells that make skin look uneven and dull. But too much exfoliating can be damaging.
“That dead out layer of skin cells protects us from the sun, when you strip it away, you lose protection,” says Dr. Day.
Too much exfoliating can also dry you out, increasing the chances of wrinkles and making you look older.
Pay attention to your skin, advises Dr. Day. Exfoliating once a week is sufficient for people with normal to dry skin, and two to three times a week for oily and acne-prone skin or as directed by a dermatologist.
Beauty expert Nina Sutton says to look for facial scrubs containing beads instead of natural ingredients like nutshells, which can be too abrasive and irritating to the skin.
“You know you’ve over-exfoliated if skin is red, feels raw, is sensitive and has unusual breakouts,” says Sutton. Stop any type of exfoliation for seven to ten days to allow your skin to heal, she suggests.
It’s not just our skin we need to be more careful with. When it comes to teeth, many people think brushing often with a hard-bristled brush is more effective, says dentist Anne Truong. “Aggressive brushing can lead to loss of enamel, yellowing, increased sensitivity and high susceptibility to cavities.”
Dr. Truong suggests brushing gently twice a day with a soft toothbrush. And be careful with over-whitening, she adds. “Bleaching too often can cause sensitivity, irritated gum tissue — even leave teeth looking translucent or blue.”
That’s not attractive.
Dr. Truong recommends whitening with the supervision of your dentist to ensure the results are ideal and safe.
And what about a healthy looking mane?
Hair ages, too, says Dr. Day. It changes texture as we get older and loses its density.
“Shampooing too often and over-using heating appliances can damage and dry out hair, stripping it of its natural oils,” adds Sutton.
Dr. Day suggests shampooing the scalp and conditioning the ends to prevent hair from drying out.
The key with all of these is to be gentle, urges Sutton. There is no need to be treating our skin, teeth and hair like we’re scrubbing a kitchen sink.