We’re optimists. So it’s unsurprising that we usually focus on the positives – on what you can and should do for your skin. But this month we’re going to break form to talk about those hidden little hazards waiting to pounce and trip up your complexion – and even your health.

If you’re like us, your cell phone is an appendage you feel naked and lost without. We jog with it strapped to an armband, scroll through it at the market for our shopping list, and set it down from the gym to the coffee bar. Cell phones have been proven to carry bacteria and even feces. Yeah, no joke. Cut to your cell vibrating and you putting it to your cheek for a chat. Cells can spread dangerous bacteria and cause breakouts if they’re not cleaned on a regular basis. Microfiber clothes do wonders but we’re partial to 40/60 rubbing alcohol-water mixture. Apply with a lightly dampened cloth or cotton ball. But do not apply directly to the phone’s touch screen. For the best and most thorough cleaning, actual touch screens included, order iKlear from Amazon or a product like it.

Props to any of you who run on water, joy, and laughter, but some of us lesser beings require caffeine (and even love it). A little caffeine won’t adversely impact your skin. But three cups of coffee a day might prove a problem. Caffeine is a diuretic and can dehydrate your body and skin if you’re not re-hydrating while drinking. Caffeine is also highly acidic and can alter your hormones, destabilize your gut, lead to breakouts, and exacerbate existing skin conditions.

And while we’re at it, we’d be remiss not to mention inflammation-causing sugar hiding in summer cocktails, juices, barista-made espresso drinks, and bottled teas. Read the label! Ask for ingredient lists!

Is Your Conditioner Out to Get You? No, probably not, but the order in which your conditioning your locks and cleansing your face during that post-workout shower might be. After hitting the gym, trail, or yoga mat we’re eager to wash away the sweat, too. But cleansing your face and then shampooing and conditioning afterwards, can introduce irritants to your complexion, especially around the hairline. Many conditioners have breakout causing oils, minerals, and other less natural ingredients. Always shampoo and condition your hair before cleansing your face to make sure there’s no conditioner residue left to clog or irritate your pores.

Trust us, we want you to cover up with that fly rancher or fedora poolside. But how many afternoons worth of sweat, makeup, and oil has your hate absorbed from your forehead? We have a quick fix for those hats that wouldn’t make it through the spin cycle. Try using a natural cleansing cloth meant to remove makeup and oil. We’ve found that Burts Bees Cleansing Facial Toilettes freshen the inside of hats, without bleaching or harming the hat’s fabric or material. And while we also recommend forgoing foundation or other makeup products on your forehead if you’re opting to wear a hat, we never ever recommend going sans sunscreen.

Being outdoors feels unavoidable during the summertime. From BBQs to beach days to farmers markets. And we’ll spare you the line about wearing sun protection – every single day – because we know you know and we’ve said it all a million times before. But have you considered that the products you’re applying the night before that BBQ are making your skin more vulnerable the next day?

We love using acids and are firm believers in the cellular turnover they catalyze for a fresher and younger complexion. But acids erode the very outer layers of your skin that are your first defense against deeper sun damage. Even wearing sun protection won’t be enough if you haven’t allowed your skin long enough to heal after a treatment, even a gentle overnight peel. A good rule of thumb is to avoid using acids within a week of heavy sun exposure, two weeks if possible. Opt to save more aggressive peels given by estheticians for after the summer months. Silver lining, you’ll be looking years younger in time for the winter holidays.

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