Tag Archives: Hygiene

The Three Most Common Mistakes People Make When Washing Their Face

It’s important to wash your face, but it’s even more important to do it right so you don’t actually make things worse for your skin. It all comes down to how often you should wash, and what you wash with.

In this video from the Tech Insider YouTube channel, dermatologist Dr. Erin Gilbert goes over some common mistakes when it comes basic skincare:

  1. Not washing enough: People think that not washing their face helps preserve the natural oils of their skin, and while that’s partially true, you still should wash regularly if you want to avoid breakouts. Dr. Gilbert recommends washing at least once a day.
  2. Using the wrong products: You should be washing your face with different types of products based on the seasons. During warmer months, you should use a cleanser that is more astringent and sudsy, and contains salicylic acid if you’re acne prone. During the colder months, you want to use a gentler cleanser that isn’t soap based so you don’t strip your skin of natural oils and cause dry skin problems.
  3. Overly-intense washing: Using a wash cloth or Clearsonic tool to wash your face is okay, but doing it too often or pressing to hard while washing will irritate your skin even more.

It’s also a good idea to find face washes that work best for your type of skin. And if your skin-related issues seem beyond normal care, don’t hesitate to find a dermatologist near you and get to the bottom of it.

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3 Worst Things When Washing Your Face | YouTube

More Reasons You Need to Wash Your Hands After Working Out At the Gym

More Reasons You Need to Wash Your Hands After Working Out At the Gym

Skin infections like MRSA and other illnesses can easily spread in gym and locker room settings. You probably already know to wash up after hitting the gym, but pay special attention to washing your hands. It’s no fun to come down with something avoidable during your pursuit of health.

Who knows what the dude that finished using your go-to treadmill or favorite bench without wiping it down might have left behind. Skin diseases among athletes are extremely common, according to this 2010 position statement issued by the National Athletic Trainer’s Association. Some of the most common skin infections, including athlete’s foot, herpes simplex, impetigo, and the more serious MRSA, a certain strain of hard-to-treat staph bacteria are all often found in gym settings.

Minimize your chances of bringing something home by washing your hands with soap and water after your workout. If you hit the locker room showers after, use your own soap and towels too.

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A squirt or two of the hand-sanitizer won’t cut it either (but if there’s really no other option, make sure it’s at least 60% alcohol). Also, avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most gyms will also have a sort of disinfectant spray, which could help slow the spread of germs, but one study in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine finds that they’re not always effective. It might give a little peace of mind, but that doesn’t excuse you from not scrubbing up and properly laundering your clothes after.

It’s not like you need to work out in a bubble or avoid the gym altogether though. This is just a friendly PSA to be aware and wash your hands after using gym equipment before you head out for that post-workout grub. It’s simply good hygiene.

National Athletic Trainer’s Association Position Statement: Skin Diseases | National Athletic Trainer’s Association via The Nation’s Health

Image by CherryPoint.

Boost Your Happiness With This Exercise You Can Do While Brushing Your Teeth

Boost Your Happiness With This Exercise You Can Do While Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth only takes a couple minutes, and so does increasing your happiness. Here’s a super easy way to train yourself to look on the bright side.

Being happier is often as simple as finding appreciation for the little things in your life. To make gratitude a more regular thing in your life, happiness researcher Shawn Achor, from GoodThink and the author of The Happiness Advantage, recommends this simple exercise:

Try to think of three new things you’re happy about while brushing your teeth at night.

The key is to make sure the three things you come up with are actually new. Be specific, don’t ever repeat items, and try not to default to some lazy variation of “family, friends, and health.” Over time, you brain will start to make mental notes of things you can include on your list throughout the day. This makes you appreciate things more in the moment as well as later on when you reflect.

Achor experimented with this simple exercise on a group of people that tested as “mild pessimists” for 21 days. By the end of the study, the same group of people ended up testing as “mild optimists.” Sometimes being happier really is a matter of finding the silver lining, but you have to train yourself to look for it if you don’t do it naturally.

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The Weirdly Easy Way to Make Yourself More Optimistic | Mental Floss

Photo by Jakob Renpening.

Your Blackheads May Not Be Blackheads (and Other Skin Science)

Most of us deal with acne in some form or another, and blackheads can be particularly irritating because they’re so noticeable. However, SciShow explains that sometimes those blackheads aren’t actually blackheads, and you probably shouldn’t mess with them.

Blackheads are clogged pores that get plugged up with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. They turn a dark color because, unlike other zits, they’re exposed to the air—there’s no layer of skin covering them— so they’re oxidized.

However, the tiny spots on your nose you think are blackheads are probably just tiny hair follicles doing what they’re supposed to do, as SciShow’s Hank Green points out. He says:

…if blackheads are caused by a buildup of oil debris, what’s going on with those tiny little spots on your nose that you should not be concerned about? Those spots are different and totally normal features of your skin that are called sebaceous filaments. And these filaments are just collections of oil and dead skin that build up around tiny hair follicles…unlike blackheads, which are clogged pores, these filaments are natural products of sebum production, not an infection.

This is why, should you try to squeeze them out, those “blackheads” just keep coming back. In general, it’s best to just let your skin do its thing and resist the urge to squeeze, lest you deal with inflammation and scarring. Check out the full video for more detail.

Are Those Really Blackheads? | SciShow (YouTube)

Your Blackheads May Not Be Blackheads (and Other Skin Science)

Most of us deal with acne in some form or another, and blackheads can be particularly irritating because they’re so noticeable. However, SciShow explains that sometimes those blackheads aren’t actually blackheads, and you probably shouldn’t mess with them.

Blackheads are clogged pores that get plugged up with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. They turn a dark color because, unlike other zits, they’re exposed to the air—there’s no layer of skin covering them— so they’re oxidized.

However, the tiny spots on your nose you think are blackheads are probably just tiny hair follicles doing what they’re supposed to do, as SciShow’s Hank Green points out. He says:

…if blackheads are caused by a buildup of oil debris, what’s going on with those tiny little spots on your nose that you should not be concerned about? Those spots are different and totally normal features of your skin that are called sebaceous filaments. And these filaments are just collections of oil and dead skin that build up around tiny hair follicles…unlike blackheads, which are clogged pores, these filaments are natural products of sebum production, not an infection.

This is why, should you try to squeeze them out, those “blackheads” just keep coming back. In general, it’s best to just let your skin do its thing and resist the urge to squeeze, lest you deal with inflammation and scarring. Check out the full video for more detail.

Are Those Really Blackheads? | SciShow (YouTube)

You Probably Don’t Need to Shower As Often As You Think

You Probably Don't Need to Shower As Often As You Think

If you’re showering every day (as many Americans do), you’re probably over doing it. In fact, showering too often can actually hurt your body in the long run.

As Time’s public health column explains, daily showers are common due to societal norms more than any legitimate health need. We associate being freshly showered with being attractive and pleasing, so we tend towards showering often to feel better. However, for strictly hygienic reasons, showering as little as one or two times a week could be sufficient, depending on your lifestyle:

So what’s the ideal shower frequency? In terms of your health—not how you look or smell—probably once or twice a week, [assistant professor of dermatology at George Washington University, Dr. C. Brandon Mitchell] says. “Your body is naturally a well-oiled machine,” he says. “A daily shower isn’t necessary.”

Of course, your situation may vary. If you have a filth-intensive job like car maintenance or construction, you’ll obviously have a visible layer of grime you’ll need to wash off every single day. Similarly, if you work out every day, you may not have any health risks by washing every day, but you’ll still stink. If you feel like you need to take daily showers for aesthetic reasons, at least make most of them light showers:

“I tell patients who shower daily not to lather their whole bodies,” Mitchell says. Hit your pits, butt and groin, which are the areas that produce strong-smelling secretions. The rest of your body doesn’t need much soaping, he says.

Too much time spent under the hot water, lathering and scrubbing can dry out your skin, cause cracks that can lead to infections or germs getting into your skin, and strips your skin of its natural oils that help keep it healthy. So, even if you’re aiming to be your most presentable, be sure to keep it moderate to avoid hurting your skin in the long run.

You Asked: How Often Should I Shower? | Time

Photo by Geoffrey Fairchild.

How to Choose and Use the Best Face Wash for Healthy, Great-Looking Skin

How to Choose and Use the Best Face Wash for Healthy, Great-Looking Skin

I used to think my mom’s 20-minute skin care regimen was overkill, but maybe she was onto something. Her face looks amazing and her skin is healthy in her older years. And now that I’m older and have researched the topic, I realize that the way you clean your money-maker now makes a difference in your skin’s health and looks, even years later.

The world is filthy and gross. As you go about your day, your face gets coated with all sorts of gunk, including dirt, bacteria, dead skin, and oil that you naturally produce (called sebum). So, the purpose of washing your face is to clear all of that up and maintain healthier, good-looking skin. But hey, if you ignore or overlook proper facial hygiene, what’s the worst that can happen?

Well, you probably won’t look like the Cryptkeeper, but for most of us, proper face washing prevents clogged pores (that goes double for those of you who wear makeup, as makeup is notorious for that) because backed up pores are where the trouble begins.

Underneath your skin are sebaceous glands that excrete sebum, and as this paper in the Journal of Lipid Research explains, sebum has many functions. It binds to dead skin cells and travels out via your hair follicles and through your pores as a way to protect your skin, but also possibly as a way to deliver antioxidants, like vitamin E, to the skin’s surface. The delivery of vitamin E through sebum, the research paper’s authors hypothesize, may play a role in maintaining skin health.

If your pores are clogged from a mixture of sebum and outside pollutants, the process backs up and builds up, potentially along with bacteria. The result? Whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, blemishes, and acne. So, for those of us who have oilier skin, sweat a lot, have skin conditions that require it, or wear makeup—there’s no other way to skin it—we need wash our faces right.

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Choose the Right Facial Cleanser for Your Type of Skin

The point of a face-washing cleanser is to remove dirt, sweat, and makeup without also completely drying out your skin. When navigating the health and beauty section, your safest bet is to go with descriptors like fragrance-free and gentle (unless you’ve been instructed otherwise by your dermatologist), but oh, the choices! Do you go with a cream or a gel? Do you buy oily or acne-specific washes?

First, note that many products are created for specific skin types. Some help with heavier-duty cleansing, and others are better at safeguarding delicate skin. Here’s how to choose based on your skin type.

For People with Dry Skin

Dry skin has a hard time hydrating itself because it lacks lipids (fats), water, or both. Your skin may feel tight and look flaky. Oftentimes winter exacerbates the dryness or symptoms of skin conditions like eczema. I have eczema myself, so I personally fear winter as much as the Game of Thrones world does because it means much more careful management to fight off breakouts. So when Winter Is Coming, I switch to an oil-based cleanser and a heavier face cream for moisturizing multiple times throughout the day, as needed.

Of course, not everyone with dry skin has to go to the same lengths or use the same products. If you have dry skin, look for cream- or milk-based cleansers to keep your precious oils and prevent further drying. Specific brands like CeraVe, SkinCeuticals, or my current (non-winter) favorite Caudalie could work.

For People with Oily Skin

Oily skin overproduces sebum and is more prone to breakouts, but holds moisture pretty well. You probably think your oily skin has sealed an acne-filled fate, but as this paper in Clinics of Dermatology explains, we’re not quite clear on the relationship between sebum and development of acne. Acne is influenced by many factors, including genes and hormones, so the best thing to manage it is to work with a dermatologist and properly wash your face.

For oily skin, Dr. Badreshia-Bansal, MD, a fellow at the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), noted on this AAD page that an oil-free foaming cleanser that doesn’t block pores but also contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can help to prevent breakouts.

For People with a Combination of Oily and Dry Skin

For many people, different areas of your skin may be normal, dry, or oily. The most common oily areas are the forehead, nose, and chin (nicknamed the “T-zone”), whereas the cheeks, neck, and area around the eyes tend to be dry or normal. Badreshia-Bansal recommends a mild cleanser, like Cetaphil or if you stretch the budget a bit more Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser, that isn’t too harsh on the skin and doesn’t remove much sebum. You’ll know if you’ve scrubbed away too much if your face is left feeling “tight” after washing.

For People with Sensitive Skin

This is, for lack of a better word, a sensitive category. Most people will have reactions of varying severity to specific cosmetics, soaps, lotions, and other common household products, and then think they have sensitive skin. That’s not necessarily the case, however. Sometimes irritation is a matter of overusing a specific product, or just using the wrong product for them. Check with your dermatologist or immunologist to run patch tests to see what may be irritating your skin if you’re unsure, or think you might have sensitive skin.

In most cases, people with true skin sensitivity also have skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis, among others. They tend to have a thinner outer skin layer which is easily irritated and reacts readily. I feel you, sensitive skin-sufferers. Luckily for me, the right cleanser and moisturizer for my skin (along with not eating foods that triggered my eczema) were game-changers.

Dr. Badreshia-Bansal suggests staying away from products that contain fragrances or alcohols, and look for “calming” ingredients like green tea polyphenols, chamomile, and aloe. She adds that in general, the fewer the ingredients on the label, the better. Some active ingredients, such as lipoic acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid are well-known skin irritants. People with darker skin may want to pay extra attention to those ingredients because their differences in skin anatomy (such as having more skin pigments called melanin) could make them especially sensitive, according to the AAD.

For People with “Normal” (Not Especially Dry or Oily) Skin

This skin type doesn’t get very greasy nor very dry. Bust out the confetti because you have the least problematic skin type! Most cleansers will work for you, but as with the combination skin type, look for mild cleansers that remove dirt and grease, but preserves the natural sebum you have. The usual recommendation is a neutral cleanser like Cetaphil, but I encourage you to try different gentle-cleansing products—whether it’s gel, a cream, or a foaming wash—to find out what gives you the best clean, non-drying feeling.

The video above, from Glamrs.com, shows you how to figure out your skin type. As it notes, using the wrong products could worsen skin issues you may already be prone to. For example, if you have dry skin, as nice as an “exfoliating” wash sounds, it’ll likely make your skin even drier and dull-looking.

If you’re trying to tell if a product jives with you and your skin type, Refinery29 has an excellent guide that will help you out.

Improve Your Face-Washing Technique

There are better, less harsh techniques to clean your delicate facial skin. To be clear, these techniques apply to both women and men. (In fact, there aren’t gender-specific regimens or products, per se—only gender-specific product marketing.) While we all don’t need a 10-step process, here are important things to keep in mind:

  • Start with clean hands: You don’t want to introduce more dirt and bacteria to your face, or undo the work you’re about to put into cleaning it.
  • Use lukewarm water: Water temperature is important, but not for the reason you think. Pores don’t open or close in response to hot or cold water. Rather, hot water dilates blood vessels, which can irritate or dry out your skin, and cold water is less effective at loosening dirt. What about washing your face in the shower? Don’t do it unless your showers are quick and lukewarm, Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist, told Marie Claire.
  • Gently massage your skin in circular motions: After rinsing your face, apply your preferred cleaning product to your fingertips and massage in small, circular motions. Pay special attention to your T-zone, where there tends to be more oil, and areas where you sweat, like along your jawline and hairline, as beauty vlogger Michelle Phan writes.
  • Take your time: After you work the cleanser into your face and it foams up, it’s tempting to cut this process short, but Phan recommends lathering between 30 seconds and up to a minute.
  • Use your fingers: When washing your face, easy does it. Among the face-washing tips provided by the AAD, they say to avoid scrubbing or using anything other than your fingertips. Washcloths, scrubbing pads, or other rough fabrics will probably irritate your skin.
  • Pat your face dry: Be gentle. Use a clean, soft towel to pat your face dry, and don’t focus on getting every drop of moisture off.

Once you have the technique down, how often should you wash your face? Well, the jury is still out on that one. Most people stick with the oft-repeated twice a day rule, once in the morning and once at night. Of course, that recommendation isn’t for everyone, and too often will dry out your face. For others, too infrequently will leave their face oily and dirty. How often you wash your face depends on your skin type as well. Those with oily and acne-prone skin generally should wash twice a day. People with especially sensitive or dry skin would do just fine once a day, preferably at night to remove the day’s grime.

Don’t Overdo It, Your Skin Only Needs a Little Help

For those of us with problematic skin, it’s easy to hate on sebum and want to wash our way to a clearer and cleaner tomorrow, but some sebum is healthy and helpful for keeping our skin hydrated.

We mentioned that sebum forms a protective layer, but in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Menas Kizoulis, a member of the Johnson & Johnson Consumer R&D team, explained that in the process of removing debris, cleansers also stripped away this oily ally, which can over-dry your skin and lead to irritation. What’s more, over-washing can actually lead to increased oil production, noted Badreshia-Bansal.

Meanwhile, exfoliation, which scrapes away dead skin cells, can also lead to really dry skin or worsen irritated skin, especially in the midst of an acne breakout. For most people, once or twice a week of exfoliation is more than sufficient, and even then you don’t need to be rough. It’s a bit befuddling because we want clean but not squeaky clean, when there’s no more oil. The saying “Too much of a good thing can become bad!” applies to face-washing, too.

Who knew that washing your face was as deceptively complex as the right way to care for your teeth or maintain your ears? You probably don’t need to spend nearly as much time on your own regimen as my mom does on hers, but a proper one that takes your skin type into account is better for your skin health and your looks than the old-school splash and scrub, regardless of whether you’re a dude or lady.

Illustration by Fruzsina Kuhári.


Contact the author at stephanie.lee@lifehacker.com.

Give Yourself an Extra Hour of Grooming Time Before a Job Interview

Give Yourself an Extra Hour of Grooming Time Before a Job Interview

You need to put your best foot forward when being interviewed for a job, so it’s a good idea to give yourself extra time to get ready. You’ll look your best and be capable of handling any emergencies that pop up.

Sarah Strambouli, career coach and head of Strambouli Consulting, suggests you give yourself an extra hour of time to get ready for your job interview. This gives you extra time to make sure you’re dressed sharp, your hair looks nice, your makeup is on point, and you’re presenting the neatest version of yourself. Take your time and don’t rush yourself. Maybe listen to some music to pump yourself up, or go over your answers to some of the questions you’ll probably be asked. This also gives you time make fixes if something goes wrong. You can iron your shirt if it got wrinkled, or think of a clever way to hide or remove a stain in your jacket. The more confident you feel in the way you look, the more that will shine through in your interview and the more comfortable you’ll feel.

http://lifehacker.com/5971473/how-to…

8 Expert Tips for Choosing the Perfect Job Interview Outfit | Mental Floss

Photo by Paul Stocker.


Why You Should Never Wash or Store Your Contact Lenses With Water

Water is great for cleaning most things, but not so much for your contacts—unless you want an eye infection. Here’s why you should never clean or store your contacts with water, and why should always use the cleaning solution your eye doctor recommends instead.

This video from the Reactions YouTube channel explains that a contact related infection can potentially leave you blind, and those types of infections are more likely to occur when you store or clean your contacts in water. Even if you’re using water that’s safe to drink, there are still microbes and bacteria that live in it—and now live on your contact lens. Your stomach and eyes can normally handle those microbes just fine, but contacts are a game-changer when it comes to your eye’s defenses. Contacts can impair the eye’s immune responses, and they interfere with the movement and mixing of your tears. Not only do improperly cared for contacts bring the bacteria into in your eyes, they also give bacteria an advantage. So, never let water mix with your contacts, regardless of how clean you think it is. The CDC also recommends you follow this checklist to keep your eyes healthy and your contact lenses fresh.

http://lifehacker.com/properly-care-…

You’re Cleaning Your Contacts Wrong (Probably) | YouTube

Find Your Perfect Perfume or Cologne with a Cheap Sample Kit

Find Your Perfect Perfume or Cologne with a Cheap Sample Kit

Cologne and perfume are great to spruce yourself up for a special event or when you want to feel fancy, but it’s tough to find that perfect scent, and it’s expensive to try. Instead, try sample kits to test multiple scents without spending a fortune. They’re available from more companies than you might think.

Good colognes and perfumes are pricey, so instead of dropping your hard earned money on an entire bottle of a scent you don’t end up liking, a sample kit lets you try several scents for a lower price. If you have a favorite brand, check to see if they sell a sample kit. I checked to make sure several major brands offer sample kits, but you’ll need to search specifically for them on a brand’s site or ask in store. Each sample in the kit should give you enough to try for a few days to test. Once you’ve found a scent or two you like most, you can invest in an entire bottle knowing it works for you.

7 Grooming Swaps You Should Make ASAP | GQ

Image from Lisa.