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12 Ways to Wreck Your Skin

Skip these skincare no-nos and say “yes” to beautiful, youthful skin.

3. Head to the Tanning Bed

Think a tanning bed is safer than being outside in the sun? Think again.

Tanning beds give you a concentrated burst of ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B light. These rays cause skin aging and could triple your risk for melanoma skin cancer. "Never go into a tanning parlor," Levine says. "There couldn't be a worse thing to do to your skin."

4. Smoke

You know about the health risks of smoking, including  lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and stroke. But did you know that smoking can also lead to wrinkles? Study after study shows how extensively smoking ages the skin. "It does a lot of what the sun does. It just does it inside [the body] instead of outside," Dover says. "It makes the skin weak, tired, and listless looking."

Smoking also yellows the skin, interferes with its blood supply, and slows wound healing. "So if you injure your skin, it may not heal as well if you're a smoker," Levine says.

5. Use the Wrong Cleanser

A big mistake people make when they wash their face is using a harsh soap that's meant for their body. Keep the bar soap in the shower. Use only a mild cleanser for your face, especially if you have sensitive skin, Stein says.

If your skin is acne-prone, make sure the cleanser you use is oil-free and non-comedogenic. People whose skin is on the dry side should follow up each wash by applying a layer of lotion (preferably one that contains sunscreen) to seal in the skin's moisture.

6. Scrub Your Skin

Washing your face is a good idea. Scrubbing it isn't. 

"Scrubbing can be very irritating to the skin," Stein says. "A lot of times, people who have acne will feel like they have to scrub the skin to make it better, but that can actually worsen the acne."

Be gentle to your skin. Wash your face using a soft, circular motion.

7. Pop Your Pimples

Control any sudden urge to pop a pimple. "Picking can actually make the acne worse and lead to permanent scarring," Stein says. "Better to leave it alone."

Instead of popping pimples, try an over-the-counter pimple remedy containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Call your dermatologist if your skin doesn’t clear.

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