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The basics of staying healthy seem pretty easy to follow: Eat well, exercise, get enough sleep and you should be on the right track, right? Surprisingly, it can be more complicated than that. Oftentimes the very choices we make to benefit our health can be the same ones that hurt us in the long run. Read on to learn which unexpected habits—like brushing your teeth after every meal or slipping into a pair of comfortable sandals—might be causing you harm. If you reach for hand sanitizer any time you make contact with the outside world, you might want to take pause. Unless you’re in an especially germ-prone place like a hospital, soap and water will work just fine, says Richard Gallo, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Dermatology at the University of California-San Diego. When you’re not near a sink, hand sanitizing gels can help, but be sure to read the label first. Recent research has shown that those containing triclosan may promote bacteria and virus resistance to antibiotic medications (this goes for antibacterial hand soaps that contain triclosan, too). Instead, choose brands like Purell, that contain at least 60% alcohol, which will kill 99% of bacteria on contact. Photo: Janine Lamontagne / iStock.Who isn’t tempted to buy the latest skin creams and serums promising to shed years from your face? While looking for something that works for you is a good idea, overhauling your routine every few weeks in search of the fountain of youth isn’t. “I’ve always encouraged my patients to create a daily regimen and stick with it,” says Jody Levine, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. “Women get easily bored with their beauty routine, especially if they don’t see results right away. It can take between six and eight weeks to see changes; if you’re using a product to increase collagen, expect to wait six months to see results.” She often cautions patients against constantly changing products, noting that it may cause adult rosacea (a condition that results in red, patchy and sometimes inflamed skin). “People may be forming sensitive skin by trying out too many different products with high levels of fragrance and other sensitizers,” Dr. Levine says. In lieu of always trying something new, stick with what works for you, or see your dermatologist to develop a new routine. And manage your expectations—according to Dr. Levine, a consistent regime should “keep your skin clear, clean and smooth. Make that your rule of thumb and don’t expect miracles, especially when it comes to over-the-counter antiaging products.” Photo: Shutterstock
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