We all love a good pampering session after a hard day, especially if apart from giving us a well-deserved dose of relaxation it also comes with the extra benefit of a smoother skin or a self-esteem boost. But not all the rituals that feel good and make us feel beautiful are actually healthy. In fact, doctors say, the average woman has at least three beauty habits that do more harm than good and that can take their toll on your health when practiced for years. Here are a few of the most dangerous and controversial ones that fortunately have healthier alternatives.
There is nothing wrong with wanting sun-kissed legs, especially when the warmer weather rolls in, but be very careful how you get a tan, because getting a tan is, in essence, burning your skin. Dermatologists everywhere warn us that there is simply no such thing as a healthy tan and prolonged exposure to UV rays leads to premature skin aging and increases the risk of skin cancer.
You shouldn’t go outside without applying a thick layer of SPF 50 in summer and SPF 30 in winter and the use of tanning beds is simply out of the question if you care about your health. Although the negative effects of tanning beds are already well-known, their cosmetic use hasn’t been banned everywhere and there are still women who think that the occasional tanning session won’t do any harm. However, you should know that even a few minutes spent under the ultraviolent light of a tanning bed are enough to raise your risk of skin cancer and the procedure instantly becomes riskier if you have moles. One of the reasons why so many women are skeptical of the negative health effects of tanning is that there are no immediate consequences, but, just how one cigarette doesn’t feel dangerous, neither does one tanning session.
If you really want to make your skin a couple of shades darker, the only healthy, risk-free way of doing that is by using a self-tanner. Self-tanning lotions have come a long way from the orange, biscuit-smelling products used in the 90s and you will be amazed to discover that a cheap, drugstore self-tanner can give you a nice, all-over glow that doesn’t transfer on clothes.
Shaving with a razor
We know, you’ve had a long day, you’ve forgotten about that hair removal appointment and you simply must wear that short skirt tonight. The razor might sound like a quick and easy solution to your problems, but this is hardly the healthiest way to get rid of unwanted hair. Using a razor for a long period of time increases the amount of ingrown hair and, if you don’t keep your razor in a cool, clean, dry place (which most of us don’t anyway), you might get an infection if you cut yourself.
Wax hair removal at the salon is a safer alternative to razors, but you should avoid this procedure if you have sensitive skin and struggle with redness and inflammation. Although laser hair removal is quite an investment, it’s definitely recommended as a long term solution. When done by a trained professional in an accredited skin clinic, laser hair removal solves the problem for good.
Scrubbing away at your skin when it feels dull and full of pimples can feel very satisfying, but it comes at the cost of micro-lesions that break the skins natural moisture barrier and make matters worse. Physical scrubs that contain plastic micro-beads are on the list of skincare products you should avoid and, if the dermatologist advice is not enough, then note that in many countries these scrubs are forbidden because those tiny beads pollute water.
But, as harmful as scrubs may be, exfoliating your skin is not dangerous if done right. In fact, gentle exfoliation with chemical ingredients is a great way of removing the outer layer of dead skin cells and promoting cell turnover. Look for toners and masks with lactic acid and glycolic acid, as these are effective enough to remove dead skin, but not harsh enough to cause irritation.
At-home teeth bleaching
Considering that having your teeth whitened at the dentists’ office can cost a good couple of dollars, many women chose the DIY solution and decide to whiten their teeth using commercial whitening strips, which can be found in just about any online store. However, these at-home whitening kits are not regulated and they contain a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide than your dentist would use. As a result, you could end up with irritated gums, stained teeth and even burns in the worst cases. If you cannot go to a dentist to whiten your teeth professionally, then it’s best to avoid DIY teeth bleaching altogether.
Bath bombs make your tub look fantastic and they help your muscle relax after a long day. However, there are very few companies that do truly safe bath bombs using non-toxic ingredients. Most of the time, to create fizzy, glittery, delicious-smelling products, manufacturers use synthetic scents, phthalates, artificial dies and actual glitter. The combination of all of these ingredients can cause rashes and irritations on sensitive skin and increases the risk of UTIs and yeast infections. Showers are much healthier, say dermatologists, but if you must have a bath, use all-natural bath bombs and bath foams instead.