As if your beauty routine wasn’t packed enough, we’re here to expose the areas in which your efforts are sorely lacking. (We only have your best interests in mind.) Between all of the exfoliating, cleansing, and moisturizing, it’s only natural for a few of the finer points to fall through the cracks. But when they do, you open yourself up to premature aging, damaged skin and nails, and even health risks. Read on to find out where you need to bump up the beauty efforts!
Before you start telling yourself you’re at the top of your sunscreen game, consider this: The ears are the third most frequent location for basal cell carcinomas (which is the most common type of skin cancer). According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, fewer than 33 percent of people routinely apply sunscreen to their ears. If you exercise outdoors (or just wear your hair up a lot), take extra care to apply SPF behind your ears too.
If your answer to chipping, cracking, and splitting nails is getting regular manicures, you’ve got it backwards. Studies have shown that those who indulge in regular professional manicures are more likely to suffer from dry, brittle nails, thanks to the harsher chemicals and rough handling. Keep your nails and cuticles moisturized to avoid breakage. And remember, moisturizing your hands is not the same as moisturizing your nails and cuticles, which dry out very easily and require thicker ointments or oils to hold in the hydration.
Beyond your face, the two main age giveaways are your hands and neck. The skin on your neck and décolletage is just as delicate and even thinner than the skin on your face, so sunspots, skin laxity, and fine lines and wrinkles show up there first. But these areas are often overlooked when it comes to skincare and sunscreen. You don’t need to run out and buy an expensive neck cream, but do treat your neck and chest to the same anti-aging skincare routine your face gets. Most importantly, use retinol at least two to three times a week to boost cell turnover.
Dry, ashy elbows and knees are one of those beauty faux pas that you usually don’t notice until they’re past the point of no return. But getting ahead of the situation doesn’t require too much extra effort. The skin on your elbows and knees is much thicker than the skin on the rest of your body, so it needs to be exfoliated more aggressively. Physical exfoliators like your in-shower scrubs are only part of the equation. Add daily chemical exfoliation with glycolic acid pads or a glycolic acid lotion. Since the darkening of elbows and knees is also a concern, look for moisturizers with ingredients like vitamin C and licorice root to brighten the skin.
Your hands are one of the first spots to lose fat and elasticity as you age. Because they’re constantly exposed to the elements (including the sun) and they endure repeated washing and drying, which is extremely dehydrating, your hands age faster than the rest of your body. Moisturizing and protecting your skin from the sun’s rays are the best precautions you can take to ward off signs of aging. Always apply hand lotion directly after washing and apply SPF 30 or higher every morning. If you spend a considerable amount of time commuting to and from work with your hands on the steering wheel (a.k.a. baking in the sun), popping on pair of gloves for your drive might not be such a bad idea either.
Were you aware of these holes in your beauty routine?