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6 gross beauty habits you’ve got to lose
KARACHI: You carry hand sanitiser with you at all times, avoid touching anything in a public restroom and wouldn’t dream of popping your pimples, but there’s still a good chance you’re unwittingly exposing yourself to infection-causing bacteria, mould or simply sabotaging your appearance. As compiled from, Vogue and Prevention magazines, here are common habits wrecking your beauty routine.

1. You let hair collect in your hairbrush
Research suggests it’s normal to lose up to 150 hairs a day and many of those strands pile up in your brush along with residue from styling products, natural scalp oils and dead skin. While a fuzzy brush isn’t essentially a threat to your health, it will affect the way your hair looks. “That build-up can make your freshly-washed hair greasy,” says Dr Francesca Fusco, clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Use a comb or your fingers to remove the strands from your brush’s bristles daily and wash the brush in a mixture of water and shampoo at least once a month, says Fusco.

2. You keep cotton pads and swabs on your countertop
When you flush your toilet, little bits of bacteria spray into the air and land on exposed surfaces in the bathroom, so you don’t want cotton swabs or anything else you’ll be putting directly on your face sitting on the countertop, says Dr Keri Peterson, an internal medicine specialist in New York City. While it’s unlikely you’ll catch an infection this way, it is pretty unhygienic. Close the lid when you flush your toilet to contain the spray and move cotton swabs to a drawer or cabinet, or store your cotton swabs in closed containers on the countertop.

3. You sleep with make-up on
We all have those nights when fatigue gets the better of us and all we want to do is drown in our bed with the day’s make-up still lathered on. While we empathise, we also encourage you to resist the urge to do so. Sleeping with make-up can be detrimental for your skin. While you’re sleeping, make-up can clog your pores and oil glands and even lead to inflammation and collagen-breakdown, which could further give rise to wrinkles. So, even if you’re ready to let exhaustion take over your nightly face-washing regimen, try to at least wipe your face with cleansing wipes before you hit the sack.

4. You dip your fingers into face cream
If you dip anything but just-washed fingers into the container, you’re introducing dirt, oil and germs to your cream and, thus, to your face. But even if you cleanse your hands and face right before slathering it on, double-dipping is a threat to your skin’s health, says Dr Ranella Hirsch, a Boston-based dermatologist. If you rub the cream over any open acne spots or cold sores and then stick your fingers back in the jar, it’ll get contaminated with bacteria. Always wash your hands before applying any product on your skin and use a clean cotton swab to scoop a dime-sized dollop into the palm of your hand.

5. You don’t wash your make-up brushes
If you hardly ever cleanse your cosmetic brushes (a British study found that 72 per cent of women never do), you’re putting on more than make-up when you swipe them across your skin. “Brushes pick up dirt, oil and grime and you’re putting that on your face,” says Peterson. This bad habit can clog pores and cause breakouts. Dirty eyeliner and shadow brushes can, in fact, lead to nasty infections, such as pink eye. Make it a point to wash your brushes with an anti-bacterial soap or shampoo once a week, and prioritise eye and lip products, since these can transmit the most germs, says Fusco. Place them flat to air dry, as this helps the brush maintain its shape.

6. You use a loofah in the shower
If it’s hanging out in the humid shower, your scrubber or body sponge is a breeding ground for mould, fungus and bacteria, including serious ones, such as staphylococcal (staph). “Staph lives on the skin naturally, but becomes a problem if it gets into the skin,” says Peterson. “If you have any open cuts or you scratch your skin with the loofah, the bacteria can get in and cause an infection.” Even if you let it dry between uses, research shows that loofahs can harbour a type of bacteria that causes a skin rash known as folliculitis, which results in red, itchy bumps around the hair follicles. The fix? Lose the loofah altogether. Instead, wash off dead skin cells by hand using an exfoliating body wash, recommends Peterson.

Updated: 4/30/2015  


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