Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on August 25, 2021
You Brush After Coffee

You Brush After Coffee

1/13

It’s true that the acid or sugar in coffee, sodas, and fruit juice eat away at your teeth’s outer shell, called enamel. But don’t try to scrub them off right away. When you brush your teeth right after you down an acidic food or drink, you will remove that weak enamel. Instead, swish well with water and wait at least 1 hour before you brush. Even better, brush before you sip.

You Skip Water at Cocktail Hour

You Skip Water at Cocktail Hour

2/13

Red wine is an obvious teeth-stainer, but white wine has acid and tannins, too. They can damage your enamel and make teeth easier to stain. Alcohol also dries out your mouth, which means you have less saliva to wash away acid and bacteria. To protect your teeth and prevent staining, rinse your mouth with water after every drink.

You Swim With Dry Hair

You Swim With Dry Hair

3/13

Pool water has chemicals that damage hair and turn blonde locks green. Think of your hair like a dried-out sponge: If you wet it with tap water before you swim, it can’t soak up as much in the pool. When you get out, wash your hair right away, preferably with an after-swim shampoo.

You Shampoo Too Much ... or Too Little

You Shampoo Too Much ... or Too Little

4/13

Shampoo strips hair of your scalp’s natural oils. Do it too much and your locks will get dull and dry. But how often you suds up depends on your hair type. For fine, straight hair, you can shampoo every day if oil and dirt build up, but many experts say you should do it every 2 to 3 days. Thicker or curly hair can go a few days to a week between cleansings. People with very textured hair can wash it once or twice a month. Ask your stylist what routine and products are right for your hair.

You Skip Conditioner

You Skip Conditioner

5/13

Maybe you worry it will weigh your hair down. Or you just don’t have time for it. But without it, hair will get dry and dull. To keep your strands looking smooth and healthy, apply a lightweight conditioner each time you wash your hair. Put it on the ends of your strands (not the roots). Use your fingers to work it in.

You Swab Out Your Ears

You Swab Out Your Ears

6/13

It may feel good, but cotton swabs actually push earwax in deeper. What’s more, you might even damage your eardrum or the tiny bones that help you hear. So how are you supposed to clean out earwax? Ideally, you shouldn’t have to -- your body can clear it out on its own. But if your ears feel full, you hear ringing, or you have trouble hearing, see your doctor. They can decide how to safely remove the wax.

You Use Deodorant to Stop Sweat

You Use Deodorant to Stop Sweat

7/13

Deodorant masks odor, but if you’ve got sticky or sweaty armpits, antiperspirant is what you need. It stops moisture by plugging sweat glands. Do you put it on fresh out of your morning shower? Read the instructions first. Some products should go on at night and again in the morning on dry skin. Got sweaty palms? You can use antiperspirant there, too.

You Shave Right Before a Pedicure

You Shave Right Before a Pedicure

8/13

You may not want your nail technician to feel your hairy legs. But the tiny breaks in your skin right after you shave are the perfect entry point for any bacteria in the foot bath. That could lead to an infection. Don’t shave at least 24 hours before a pedicure. On that note, don’t let your aesthetician cut your cuticles, since that also creates an opening for germs.

You Don’t Swap Your Razor

You Don’t Swap Your Razor

9/13

If you’re using a dull razor to shave, you’ll likely need to pass over the same area multiple times to get smooth. That creates tiny cuts in your skin that can lead to bumps, rashes, irritation, and infection. After about five to seven shaves -- or any time you need to go over an area multiple times -- it’s time to switch blades.

You Linger in Steaming Showers

You Linger in Steaming Showers

10/13

Hot water dries out skin. If you have eczema, that can lead to flare ups. So skip the long, hot showers and baths. Instead, keep the tap on warm. You’ll know the temperature is too hot if your skin is red or feels warm when you step out.

You Scrub Your Face

You Scrub Your Face

11/13

You don’t need to scrub with a washcloth to clear the day’s grime from your face. All your skin needs is a gentle massage with your fingertips and a mild cleanser. Wash your face once or twice a day in lukewarm or cool water. Check the label of your cleanser, and skip those with alcohol or abrasive ingredients. Rinse thoroughly.

You Load Up on Skin Products

You Load Up on Skin Products

12/13

Besides a gentle cleanser on your face, dermatologists say the only essentials are a moisturizer and a broad-spectrum sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher. Serums are pricey with unproven benefits, and toners may lead to dry and irritated skin. For acne, don’t use multiple products with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. They can combine to irritate skin. If drugstore acne treatments aren’t working for you, talk to your dermatologist.

You Soap Up Your Sensitive Areas

You Soap Up Your Sensitive Areas

13/13

The vulva and vagina are super sensitive. So skip harsh soaps that are scented or antiseptic -- they can throw off the balance of bacteria that keep the area healthy. The same goes for douches, scented wipes, and vaginal deodorants. All you need is plain, unperfumed soap to gently wash around the area every day.
 

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SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: “Face Washing 101,” “How to Get the Most from Your Skincare Products,” “How to Shave,” “Tips for Healthy Hair,” “African-American hair: Tips for everyday care,” “Skin Care on a Budget.”

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: “Do’s and Don’ts of Ear Wax.”

American Dental Association: “Top 9 Foods That Damage Your Teeth,” “Do you have dry mouth?”

Brian Kantor, DDS, dentist in New York City.

Bruce Robinson, MD, dermatologist in New York City.

Daniela Kroshinsky, MD, dermatologist in Boston.

James Corbett, director of Clairol Color and hair stylist in New York City.

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Safe Hair Care Spares Hair, Johns Hopkins Dermatologists Report.”

Mark Borukov, hair stylist in New York City.

Mayo Clinic: “Wrinkles,” “Acne,” “Skin care: 5 tips for healthy skin.”

National Health Service: “Keeping your vagina clean and healthy.”

New York University: “New Study Finds That White Wine Can Make Tooth Stains Darker.”

The New England Journal of Medicine: “An Outbreak of Mycobacterial Furnunculosis Associated With Footbaths at a Nail Salon.”