Posted on July 31 2019
Youth might be wasted on the young, but often it’s wasted by the not-so-young. Chances are, you prematurely age yourself and needlessly irritate your skin in many ways every day without even realizing it. And dozens of those habits are easy, even effortless, to change. For example, did you know you could forestall wrinkling by just changing your pillowcase or skipping a straw at Starbucks?
We asked some of the country’s top experts to reveal what they consider simple, quick and inexpensive routes to the fountain of youth (which you should ultimately drink from using a glass; read on to learn why).
“Squinting your eyes for long periods of time can lead to wrinkles around the eyes,” says A. Kouri, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the University. “Not using sunglasses, or using outdated glasses or contacts, causes us to squint more and creates wrinkles.”
Recommendation: “It is best to use sunglasses with UV protection when outside and to make sure your prescription glasses are updated,” says Kouri.
You’re Using Straws
“When we repetitively use straws, we can create wrinkling around the lips,” says Kouri. “The more frequently the muscles around the mouth are pinched together, the more likely we are to develop wrinkles in this area.”
Recommendation: “Though occasionally using straws will not cause wrinkles, it’s best to drink straight from the glass when possible,” says Kouri.
You’re Rubbing Your Face
“Rubbing your face breaks down collagen and elastin connections in the dermal layers leading to less tight, more saggy and wrinkled skin, particularly the delicate skin around your eyes,” says D. Barbour: “The oils and grime from your hands are being massaged into your pores.”
Recommendation: Keep your hands where you can see ’em—just not on your face.
You’re Shampooing Too Much
“Shampooing and conditioning our hair on a regular frequency can lead to removing the natural oils that keep the luster on our hair and provide the appearance of volume,” says R. Torbeck, MD, a board-certified dermatologist.
Recommendation: “I recommend washing your hair only a few times a week, or if it’s physically soiled,” he says.
You probably knew that smoking cigarettes can age your skin, but puffing away can cause even more serious damage to your dermis. “Cigarette smoke has been linked to poor wound healing, acceleration of skin aging like wrinkles and [a loss of] skin elasticity, and skin cancer, particularly squamous cell carcinoma on the skin,” says Torbeck.
Recommendation: Kick the habit now! The hundreds of toxins that lurk within cigarette smoke have no place near your face.
You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
“Staying up late, waking up in the middle of the night and not having restful sleep can seriously impact overall skin health,” says S. Parikh, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. “Collagen synthesis occurs during rest. Cortisol levels decrease during the latter part of the sleep cycle, reducing the harsh effects of adrenal overdrive on the skin and hair. Moisture levels reset overnight. Puffy and tired eyes become evident for some people within a few bad nights.”
Recommendation: The National Sleep Foundation says adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep each night for optimum health—no more, no less. “A calm, uninterrupted sleep is key to resetting from the day’s ravages, both environmental and stressful,” says Parikh. “Skin health thrives on healthy sleep.”
You’re Not Washing Your Face At Night
“During the day, various air pollutants accumulate on the skin causing skin damage. These pollutants must be washed off,” says V. Tonkovic, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. He says it’s especially important to wash off makeup every evening: “Makeup is not FDA regulated, and it is a chemical and pharmacological mystery. Therefore it is best to wash it off as soon as it is socially acceptable to do so.”
Recommendation: Wash your face morning and night with a gentle cleanser. If you wear makeup, Tonkovic-Capin notes that liquid, pasty, or pressed cosmetics may plug pores and cause acne. He recommends loose mineral makeup instead.
You’re Sleeping On Your Stomach or Side
“Your pillow could be causing you to look older,” says A. Youn, MD. “Sleeping on your face creates creases in your cheeks that can progress to permanent ‘sleep’ wrinkles. This also applies to sleeping on your side, and especially worse with rougher pillowcases, like polyester.”
Recommendation: “Sleep on your back, or if you can’t, then change your pillowcase to a silk or a satin pillowcase,” says Youn.