Do you ever go to sleep with makeup on? Or maybe you bite your lip? Many of us are guilty of at least one bad skin habit. While they may seem harmless, these skin care no-nos can keep us from looking our best.  

Fixing a faux pas

Maybe it’s something we suspect we shouldn’t do, such as using old makeup brushes. Or maybe it’s something we’ve never considered before, such as not changing our sheets and pillowcases enough. Nevertheless, no matter what the bad habit is, there are natural ways to get our skin glowing again!

1: Tanning

This one falls under the “we know we shouldn’t do it” designation. Not only will tanning accelerate our skin’s aging process, leading to prematurely older-looking skin, but it can also lead to skin cancer—definitely not worth it.

If you crave a golden glow, opt for a natural bronzer or sunless tanner, available at natural health retailers. And always make sure to be sun-smart by using a natural mineral-based sunscreen when spending time in the sun.

2: Over-exfoliating

Although regular exfoliation can remove dead, dull skin cells, not going overboard is key. Generally, exfoliating once or twice a week with a natural product (such as one made from oatmeal or sugar) is sufficient. And exfoliation should be avoided altogether for those with sensitive skin prone to allergic reactions, or in the middle of an acne breakout.

3: Wearing makeup to bed

Wearing makeup to bed can be tempting on late nights, but it’s a definite no-no. Sleeping with makeup on can clog our pores so our skin isn’t able to breathe, and not removing eye makeup may even lead to an allergic reaction or an eye infection.

Wash your face with a gentle cleanser for your skin type, and use a natural eye makeup remover—even on lazy evenings!

4: Biting lips

Licking or chewing on our lips can dehydrate them, leading to dried, cracked, and chapped lips, which can be even harder to leave alone. Although this problem can be exacerbated in the winter, it can happen all year long.

Stop the vicious cycle by investing in an exfoliating lip scrub to remove rough skin, and then keep lips moisturized with a natural lip balm. You’ll be less likely to chew on them if they’re soft and smooth.  

5: Using old makeup brushes

Makeup brushes can be a breeding ground for bacteria if not properly cared for. Be sure to clean your makeup brushes at least once a month. Use a natural makeup brush cleaner or a gentle Castile soap, available at health food stores.

Other cosmetic TLC tips include always washing your hands before applying makeup and not sharing cosmetics or cosmetic applicators (be especially cautious when trying out colours at the beauty counter).

6: Not caring for neck and chest skin

Don’t let your skin care routine stop at your face. Our delicate décolletages (our necks and upper chests) are exposed to the elements just like our faces, so they can show signs of aging faster than areas we keep covered up.

Incorporate your neck and chest skin into your daily cleansing, toning, and moisturizing routine—and when you’re in the sun, make sure to wear your natural sunscreen on your décolletage as well.

7: Squeezing pimples

We may try to convince ourselves that popping or picking pimples helps, but in reality it only makes acne worse and can cause scarring. Plus, it can spread bacteria to other areas of the face, leading to more pimples.

Help clear up pimples naturally with a gel or wash made with tea tree oil. Another option is herbal preparations for the skin that contain thyme, which may have a greater antibacterial effect than prescription acne cremes, according to a new study.

8: Using too much product

When it comes to skin care, keep it simple. Although all skin types can benefit from a daily skin care routine that includes a gentle cleanser, toner, and lotion, piling on the products can irritate skin, especially when using products that all have differing formulas and purposes. See the sidebar below to learn which skin type you have and how to best care for it.

9: Taking very hot showers

Sure, hot showers can feel great (even this time of year, since—who are we kidding?—the cold weather isn’t over yet) but they can wreak havoc on our skin’s lipid barriers, leading to dry skin. Lukewarm water is also recommended for those suffering from eczema or dermatitis, as it is gentler on the skin. Keep your showers short and the temperature mild.

10: Not changing sheets and pillowcases often enough

Our pillowcases and sheets absorb oils from our skin, and they can reapply these oils and dirt onto our skin later on. Changing pillowcases and sheets frequently is especially important for those with oily, acne-prone skin.

Skin types 101

Our skin type helps us determine how to craft our daily skin care routine.


Skin with visible pores that looks shiny quickly can be classified as oily. Often, oily skin is also acne prone. Cleanse twice daily, but don’t be afraid of using moisturizer—a lightweight oil-free lotion can still benefit oily skin.


If your cheeks are dry, but your T-zone (forehead, nose, and cheeks) is oily, that’s combination skin. A gentle cleanser and midweight lotion works best with this skin type.


Dry skin can feel tight and is often flaky. A mild creme cleanser can help retain moisture, as can applying moisturizer while skin is still damp after washing.


Sensitive skin can often look red, inflamed, and dry, and can react to irritants with itchiness, burning, and blotchiness. Often, those with sensitive skin suffer from allergic or contact dermatitis, or rosacea.

Although each condition requires slightly different treatment, generally, sensitive skin benefits from products with minimal ingredients. Soothing ingredients such as camomile, aloe, and green tea polyphenols can help, but alcohol and fragrance should be avoided.

About the Author After writing this article, alive editor Leah Karpus vows to include her décolletage in her skin care routine and to clean her makeup brushes more often.

Leah Karpus

OK, we might be exaggerating just a little. But these new face yoga poses promise to relax your fine lines into smooth submission. Worth a shot? We think so...
Ryan Lochte, KStew the "Trampire," and the election are trending right now. You know what else is spreading through the digital world like a cute cat video? Face yoga !

From the Botox-addicted Desperate Housewives to the celebs who will try any and every anti-aging treatment (yes, you, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston), everybody is crazy for face yoga lately. Is one of your eyebrows raised as you read this? That's face yoga! (Kind of.)

Face yoga is a series of exercises that promise to do for your face what yoga does for your body: relax and tone muscles. So, I set out to investigate if making these targeted (not to mention ridiculous) facial expressions can really prevent -- and even reverse -- wrinkles and sagging.

Skip ahead to see the 6 face yoga poses that'll prevent signs of aging.

Some plastic surgeons and derms say sorry, face yoga is absolute nonsense. "The earlier you start face yoga, the earlier you'll get wrinkles," says cosmetic facial plastic surgeon Jeffrey Spiegel, MD. "You don't get wrinkles from loss of elasticity in your muscles; you get wrinkles in your skin. And repetitive movement creates creases in the skin. It's like folding a piece of paper." Translation? Even if you have the facial muscles of the Incredible Hulk, all that flexing and stretching is also stretching out your skin, ultimately causing wrinkles.

But proponents of face yoga say that it can relax your face, which ultimately smoothes those tension-filled expressions we make every day without even realizing it. And just relaxing those usually contorted facial muscles can give you a natural face lift. Who needs Botox to freeze muscles into a smooth, relaxed state when face yoga can do something similar?

"Relaxing the facial muscles, especially where we hold tension -- like the jaw, brow, and forehead -- can counteract the wrinkle-causing grimacing we do on a daily basis," says Annelise Hagen, a New York yoga instructor and author of "The Yoga Face: Eliminate Wrinkles with the Ultimate Natural Facelift."

"Since the muscles on our faces can't lift weights or go on the treadmill, when you apply pressure with your fingertips or make certain facial expressions, you're toning and strengthening the muscles," she says. "I would never say face yoga eradicates all lines, but it can definitely change the downward drift."

Alright, so the jury's still out on just how effective face yoga is. But I was convinced enough to try it myself. If doing these exercises can make me look like I spent a week on the beach reading "50 Shades of Grey," I'm game to give it a go. Here are the six face yoga poses that seem to do more good than harm

Surprise me To smooth your forehead
Widen your eyes, trying to expose as much of the white in your eye as you can. Hold that until your eyes start to water.

How it works:
By holding this expression, Hagen says you're exercising the muscles around your eyes and your forehead, erasing the negative effects of scowling by doing the opposite action

Get cheeky To firm your cheeks
Take a big breath through your mouth, then puff the breath from cheek to cheek like a bullfrog; then release.

How it works:
This pose strengthens your cheek muscles and prevents them from becoming thinner and looking hollow. "If you look at people who play the saxophone, they always have firm cheeks. When you use a muscle in a specific way, it changes the facial appearance. So do this if you want toned,

Crow, crow, fly away To get rid of crow's feet
Imagine winking with your lower lid. Kind of hard, right? Hagen says it'll take some practice, but your brain will learn how to do this quickly. First, lift and release your lower lid gently without moving any other facial muscles. Then add a little bit of fingertip pressure in the outer crease of the crow's feet, which creates some pressure for the muscle to work against. Just make sure you don't drag or pull the skin, says Hagen, since that area is very sensitive. You also want to make sure the skin is clean and slightly moisturized so it's not tight.

How it works:
By exercising the muscles around your eyes, you're firming the skin to keep it from folding into itself, which creates wrinkles.

Puppet face To lift nasal labial folds
Smile with your teeth showing, then gently press your fingertips into the creases between your nose and lips. Lift the muscles up and press your fingertips down into the muscles for slight resistance.

How it works:
One of the best signs of youth are plump, round cheeks, which is why people use injectables to fill the area. Instead, Hagen says to try this exercise, which will "strengthen the muscle so that it doesn't become slack." "When your fingertips push into facial muscles, the muscles push back, which is what makes them stronger and fuller," she says.

Baby bird To prevent your chin and neck from sagging
Press the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, then smile and swallow while pointing your chin at the ceiling.

How it works:
While you may never forget to slather SPF on your face, your neck may often get skipped -- and that's why the neck is one of the first places to show signs of aging. Hagen says this pose is "great at tightening the jaw, since you're working out your chewing muscle and the platysma, which is the muscle that surrounds your upper chest, collarbone, and neck," she says.

Buddha face To reset your face to a neutral, unlined state
Saying your "oms" can relax more than your mind, it may work to relax those lines on your face as well. Good news: This exercise is the easiest of all of the face yoga poses. Hagen says all you have to do is "imagine the face of Buddha superimposed over your face like a Photoshop filter." Just close your eyes, visualize the point between your eyebrows, and make a very slight smile.

How it works:
Hagen says this pose can "reset your facial habits" -- almost like rebooting your computer. "Most people don't realize they're grimacing. It's an unconscious thing. But repeated scowls create wrinkles. This pose helps offset those line-making expressions."


Home Remedies for Stretch Marks :Stretch marks are very common among women, while men are also capable of developing stretch marks (a.k.a. striae). Stretch marks are widely associated with pregnancy, and are created when your body experiences hormonal changes due to puberty or menopause; you can also develop striae when you’re losing or gaining weight.

Going further, the reason these annoying lesions appear on your skin is due to the breakdown of collagen and damaged elastic fibers below the epidermis layer of your skin. Now that we’ve covered the basic causes of stretch marks, let’s move a little deeper into the subject and also talk about how you can treat them.

Causes of Stretch Marks :Common reasons why stretch marks form are due to:

  • pregnancy,
  • losing weight too quickly,
  • gaining weight rapidly,
  • hormonal imbalances/changes,
  • puberty,
  • growth spurts,
  • bodybuilding.
Stretch marks are visible linear scars that pop up on your body where the skin is too thin due to the aforementioned breakdown of collagen and elastic fibers damage. The skin cells are no longer able to bounce back from extreme stretching, thus causing the dermal layer of skin to develop tears that appear as scars on your skin.

The areas of the body that are most affected by stretch marks include the thighs, abdomen, arms, hips, breasts, back, buttocks and the area around belly button. When striae firsts begins to form, it usually appears red, and then turns white over time.

Treating Stretch MarksThere are topical creams, ointments, and oils that claim to remove stretch marks or reduce their appearance; however, these products can cost quite a bit, and hardly deliver on the promises. There are also laser treatments available, but this too is very expensive.

Because stretch marks are scars, there is little chance of getting rid of them completely. So you should avoid wasting money on products that claim to eradicate stretch marks completely, and have realistic expectations when it comes to topical treatments. Using topical treatments requires discipline, and they may even need to be applied more than once a day. But they do have the potential to improve stretch marks’ appearance.

Treating only the symptoms associated with stretch marks or scars will not help lessen the appearance of striae. Furthermore, dry skin can sometimes appear around area of stretch marks; however, dry skin isn’t the cause of stretch marks. It’s also worth mentioning that moisture is good for your skin, but it won’t make a dent in the removal of stretch marks since the marks start deep within the skin’s layers.

Dermabrasion, or laser treatments for stretch marks, only affects the surface of the skin. This is not enough to penetrate deep into the dermis, where the tears have formed in elastic fibers. These treatments may be able to improve the appearance of stretch marks, but the side effects are redness (erythema) and/or scaling on the skin.

One stretch mark treatment that’s overlooked is eating better/keeping a healthy lifestyle. It’s never too late to begin a healthy lifestyle, and there are hundreds of benefits to eating better, including keeping stretch marks at a minimum.

Along with a healthy diet, you should be drinking plenty of water. Keeping your body hydrated will allow your body to function properly, meaning your skin cells are more likely rebuild areas that need repaired. The minimum amount of water needed to stay hydrated is five to eight 8 oz. glasses a day. An easy way to maintain a healthy diet is to eat one cup of fruit or vegetables with a glass of water before each meal. This helps reassure that you are getting healthy nutrients into your body while staying fully hydrated.

Be sure to supply your body with plenty of vitamin A, C and E, as well as zinc since these nutrients help your skin flourish. You’ll be able to find these vitamins and minerals in raw fruits and vegetables, in addition to fish liver oils, leafy greens, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds and fish. By adding more of these things to your diet, you’ll increase your skin’s ability to heal itself.

In some cases, if you’re taking medication such as oral contraceptives, you could be lacking essential nutrients needed to keep your body healthy; consult your doctor about any concerns here. Physicians will be able to prescribe or suggest dietary supplements to counterbalance the nutrients you may be losing to the medications.

Home Remedies to Remove & Treat Stretch Marks
:Homemade stretch mark creams can be used to treat scars, and are also great for other areas of your body that need special attention. You can use these recipes to make extra hydrating lotions that can be applied to stretch marks, dry elbows, knees, hands and/or feet.

Cocoa Butter and Oil Cream / Stretch Marks, Home Remedy #1One of the most effective ingredients in improving the appearance of skin is cocoa butter. This is the main ingredient in the following skin cream for treating stretch marks. Using this homemade cocoa butter and oil skin cream will make your skin moist, soft and supple. Here is what you’ll need to make the cocoa butter and oil stretch mark cream:

  • 1/2 cup cocoa butter
  • 1 Tablespoon wheat germ oil
  • 1 Teaspoon apricot kernel oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Vitamin E oil
  • 2 Teaspoons grated beeswax
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan, and use medium heat to melt the beeswax. Once the beeswax has melted, remove it from the heat, and pour it into an airtight container. Store the cream in the refrigerator, and use after showering, and throughout the day until you have the desired results.

Olive Oil and Aloe Vera / Stretch Marks, Home Remedy #2Olive oil shows up in almost every beauty remedy recipe because it’s loaded with moisturizing nutrients perfect for conditioning skin and hair. To use olive oil as a stretch mark treatment, simply pour the oil onto a cotton pad, and pat the oil onto your stretch marks. To make this treatment even more nourishing, follow these instructions:

  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  • 6 vitamin E capsules
  • 4 vitamin A capsules
Take the six capsules of vitamin E, and the four capsules of vitamin A, and remove the liquid from the capsules into a bowl; then combine the other ingredients with the liquid from the capsules.

Blend the mixture well with a whisk, or by using a blender. This treatment can be applied to any area on your body where you have stretch marks such as the stomach, legs, arms, thighs or breasts.

Use olive oil in combination with aloe vera gel to treat your stretch marks. Aloe vera has been used widely to treat burns, but also provides positive results when used to treat stretch marks. Combine a small amount of aloe vera gel with an equal amount of olive oil, and continue to massage the mixture onto stretch marks. To get even more use out of aloe vera gel, use this recipe to prevent more stretch marks from occurring, and treat the ones that have already formed.

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  • 4 vitamin E capsules
  • 2 vitamin A capsules
In a mixing bowl, combine the liquid from the vitamin E capsules, and the liquid from the vitamin A capsules. Mix the remaining ingredients with the vitamin liquids. Massage into your skin to improve the appearance of stretch marks.

Vitamin C and Sugar / Home Remedy for Stretch Marks #3Use natural white sugar to exfoliate the problem areas of your skin for 3-5 minutes daily. This will remove the dead skin cells, and encourage more skin cells to develop.

This works best if you exfoliate while in the shower. When you’ve finished your shower, take two vitamin C tablets and crush them as finely as you can. Use a small mixing bowl to combine your daily moisturizing lotion and the vitamin C tablets together. Apply the lotion and vitamin C mixture as usual, focusing mostly on your stretch marks. Now saturate a cotton pad or ball with olive oil, and dab onto your stretch marks.

By using this treatment and the previously mentioned ones, you’ll go a long way towards reducing the appearance of stretch marks.