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."


One of the biggest disadvantages of using industrial soaps is that these items are not specially created for people with special skin needs, and are not usually gentle.

Herbal soaps, cleansing soaps, and moisturizing soaps contain mixtures of vitamins, herbs, and natural substances that are specially formulated to promote skin health, while most industrial soaps are made in bulk and are generally safe to use.

If you want to change your skin care routine by using herbal soap or other natural products, you should definitely talk to your dermatologist before making the change to make sure that your skin will not have a negative reaction to this change. You may also want to try bathing with your natural soap first before applying it to your face.

If you are sensitive to the product and need to find something different to cleanse your face with then you may have to explore more. If you are buying herbal soap from your local health food store, you can ask the attendant which natural ingredients would be best for your skin, in order to make sure that you are happy with the product.

You have to be careful in selecting the soap. If you take the wrong one you may even suffer from skin diseases. Since the choices vary extremely from person to person depending on your skin its sensitiveness and other requirements you are advised to consult your dermatologist repeatedly, before taking any important decision.

In the old days, wrinkle fillers like collagen plumped up fine lines and wrinkles, but not much else. Today, dermal fillers, including Restylane and Juvederm, can actually restore volume to your face, plumping up skin under the eyes, filling in sunken cheeks, giving lips more volume, and minimizing the folds around the mouth.

Over time your skin loses collagen, looks less plump, and is more prone to wrinkles — dermal fillers help correct those aging effects by smoothing out and plumping up the skin. Newer fillers have a larger molecule size, which allow them to be placed deeper in the skin and last longer, says Suzan Obagi, MD, president of the Cosmetic Surgery Foundation and associate professor of dermatology and director of the Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Health Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

But now that the market is flooded with fillers, how do you know which one to choose? Doctors make their decisions based on which wrinkle filler will last the longest in the area to be treated, Dr. Obagi says. Here’s what you need to know about each of the popular choices.


Collagen is made from cow skin and treats fine lines, wrinkles, and facial scars. Doctors have been using this wrinkle filler since the 1980s, but today it’s being injected less and less. In 2008, collagen was used in only about 179,000 procedures, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. On the other hand, Botox was used in more than 5 million procedures and hyaluronic acid, in more than 1.1 million.

  • Pros: Collagen is the most affordable dermal filler. An injection may cost around $400, although the price will vary depending on where you live and the expertise of the surgeon.
  • Cons: One of the biggest drawbacks is the risk for allergic reaction. Anyone who wants collagen needs to take a skin test before receiving the injection, which means it takes longer to get the procedure, Obagi says. Collagen also doesn’t last as long as other fillers — only up to six months.
Juvederm and Restylane

Juvederm and Restylane are both made of hyaluronic acid, which is found naturally in the skin. Obagi uses these fillers for the thin skin underneath the eyes, the eyelids, and to lift deeper skin folds around the mouth and nose.

  • Pros: You’ll see results right away and they last up to a year. Also, Restylane and Juvederm are liquid and can be mixed with anesthetic, which lowers the risk for bruising, Obagi says. However, Juvederm Ultra Plus, a longer-lasting variant of Juvederm, doesn’t mix well, she says. Because hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the body, it’s rare to have an allergic reaction.
  • Cons: Although allergic reactions are rare, patients who have severe allergies, especially people who are allergic to bacterial proteins, shouldn’t use Juvederm. Also, both Juvederm and Restylane can cause some redness, tenderness, swelling, and bruising where they’re injected, but those side effects are temporary.
Juvederm and Restylane are more expensive than collagen, with a price tag of roughly $500.

Radiesse and Sculptra

Radiesse and Sculptra are both made of calcium hydroxylapatite and are good for increasing volume. Once they’re injected, your body produces collagen around the molecules. These choices are better for filling in larger areas, such as cheeks, Obagi says.

  • Pros: Results last up to two years and there’s a very low risk of an allergic reaction.
  • Cons: It takes time for the body to produce the collagen around the fillers, so it may take a few months to get the full effect and see the final result, Obagi says. Both of these fillers can cause lumps, which is why Obagi doesn’t use them for the thin skin under the eye. Sculptra may also cause redness and bruising.
Radiesse and Sculptra can be pricey. Radiesse costs $750 to $1,000, while Sculptra is closer to $1,000. However, the price will vary based on geography and your doctor’s expertise, Obagi says.

Choose an Experienced Doctor

When a trained doctor injects fillers, you’ll rarely see an allergic reaction and infection shouldn’t be an issue, Obagi says. So it’s important to find a plastic surgeon who has a good reputation for doing the work, even though that may mean paying more for that expertise.

As you research doctors, be sure to ask what dermal fillers they use, what their experience with the fillers is, and what their other patients say after they’ve been treated with the fillers, Obagi says. Getting the answers to those questions and going to a trained surgeon will give you the best results.


We spend hundreds, perhaps thousands, on professional skin care products in an attempt to repair our skin from the harmful influences of life, stress, and age. However, do we adhere to simple skin beauty tips regularly and consistently? What I am referring to are the basics of skin health: hydration, vitamins, and sleep. While professional skin care products may make good on their promises of younger, smoother skin, they tend to cost a pretty penny. I believe the wonders of water are far underrated. Drinking the typical 8 glasses a day is a start, but go a step further and fill a plant sprayer or mister with filtered water. I spray this on my face frequently throughout the day to hydrate my skin, and to counter some of the environmental dirt and grime that clings to the skin. Have you ever been to a spa or seen someone put slices of cucumbers on their eyes? Doing this feels amazing! Not only do the cucumber slices renew and rejuvenate the eyes but another benefit of this cucumber eye treatment is that the stress relief and relaxation this promotes will reduce your stress thus limiting frown lines and potential wrinkles.

As for nutrition, I think we all now the merits of getting a well-balanced diet and ingesting enough nutrients to influence your skin’s appearance. I like to take a generic brand multi-vitamin daily; while I try and eat well, I feel that this daily supplement gives my regimen a little boost. Also, I try and purchase Vitamin E capsules whenever they are on sale or I have a coupon. These are good to have on hand for any skin burns or skin wounds that need some help healing. Vitamin E also has miraculous scar-fading properties; it will diminish the appearance of scars, soothe burns, and promote healing for literally pennies a day.

Finally, sleep is the secret weapon that the manufacturers of professional skin care products don’t tell you about! Getting a regular, consistent sleep cycle will lend smoothness and that radiant glow that we all seek. Don’t you love skin beauty tips that are virtually free?

Be vigilant about these basic skin beauty tips and you may never spend good money on professional skin care products again!