You may think it's no big deal to skip out on a few basics, but your shortcuts could be doing you more harm than good. Here are a few things you should make time for every day.
1. Wearing your contacts to bed
"Your eyes are terrific at cleaning themselves," says Dr. Adam Cifu, professor of general medicine at the University of Chicago. "Your contact lenses are not great at cleaning themselves." Wearing contacts overnight can lead bacteria build-up, and you may wind up with a corneal infection. If untreated, this might cause severe vision loss.
2. Not drying off completely after a shower
If you leave moisture between your toes or under your breasts, you put yourself at increased risk for skin irritation and even fungal infections, says Dr. Anne Lynn Chang, an assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford University. "It's actually really common, but no one wants to talk about their red rash," says Chang.
3. Leaving your makeup on overnight - or at the gym
"The couple seconds it takes to wipe off your makeup will save you time down the road," says Dr. Adam Friedman, director of dermatologic research at Montefiore-Einstein College of Medicine. Pores blocked by old makeup can lead to little white bumps, called milia, that you'll need a dermatologist to remove. Also, working out in your makeup may block your sweat ducts and even give you heat rash, says Friedman.
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4. Not wearing sunscreen
In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in June, Australian researchers found that adults up to age 55 who regularly put on sunscreen had less skin aging compared with those who rarely used it. "You can see molecular changes [to your skin] from sun exposure within five minutes," says Dr. Anne Lynn Chang, an assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford University. Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before you head outside and reapply every two to four hours. Be sure to use an oil-free facial sunscreen that's labeled as non-comedogenic - that is, non-acne forming, recommends Friedman.
5. Not sitting down to eat
If you don't prepare meals and take a seat, you tend to "grab a bagel or something on the run," says Dr. Michael Rabovsky, vice chair of the Cleveland Clinic's Medicine Institute. Even shakes and smoothies, which may seem like healthy on-the-go options, are not always a smart pick. "They are a lot of calories in each little shake," says Rabovsky.
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6. Hiring others to do your housework
You're getting good exercise when you scrub the shower, weed the garden, and carry your own groceries. "If you vacuum and mop a little faster, you can get yourself quite nicely out of breath and working hard," says Kathy Wasowski, senior physical therapist at Stanford University Medical Center.
7. Not sleeping enough
You may think you gain time by sleeping less, but all you may be gaining is more weight. A growing number of studies indicate that sleep deprivation can change metabolism (in the wrong direction) and can even cause people to eat more calories and junk food. Get at least eight hours of sleep to help keep your weight in check.
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