Wrinkles are a part of aging—and life. While we know to expect wrinkles as we get older, some of the battle has nothing to do with age. Our beauty routines and habits can impact wrinkling as well. See the bad habits you’re unknowingly participating in.
Smoking is the most common cause of wrinkles that we see. “There have been studies of twins that showed proof of this in stunning detail. So skip cigarettes and lose the wrinkles!” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a board certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon and founder of LovelySkin.com.
If you want to keep your skin healthy and young, the old saying that you are what you eat has never been more true. Aside from adding extra pounds to your weight, eating too much sugar and high-glycemic foods may also be aging you. “Through a damaging process called glycation, sugar molecules attach to the proteins (including collagen) in your skin, causing them to become stiff and malformed. This results in a loss of facial elasticity and contours, puffiness and fine lines. Refined sugar and other simple carbohydrates also trigger inflammation throughout the body by causing insulin levels to skyrocket. Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, which leads to sagging and wrinkles,” says Dr. Roshini Raj, co-founder of TULA.
“Alcohol is a hepatotoxin, meaning it specifically damages the liver. It’s a toxin to the cells that detoxify your body,” explains Dr. James C. Marotta, a dual-board certified facial plastic surgeon. All alcohol dehydrates the skin. This means your skin will appear less plump and fresh the next morning. Over time, your skin will lose elasticity and form wrinkles due to a lack of hydration. “Additionally, alcohol can have a huge negative impact on your vitamin A level, which is a very important antioxidant for your skin/body, and it is vital in the regeneration of new cells. Vitamin A is also extremely important in the production of collagen. When you have lower amounts of collagen, you lose elasticity in your skin,” says Dr. Marotta. Collagen and elasticity are what keep your skin supple, taut and looking young.
“Gum chewing produces a type of wrinkle that I see quite often on the lower mouth,” says Dr. Schlessinger. Additionally, it causes other issues in the mouth structure. This is an easy habit to give up in the name of looking better.
Not Removing Makeup
When you sleep in your makeup, you are basically inviting wrinkles to your skin. The makeup and environmental pollutants you accumulate during the day seep into your pores, breaking down collagen and elastin. This can speed up the aging process, leaving you with fine lines and wrinkles. Cleanse and moisturize your skin every night before bed.
Exfoliation removes dirt, debris, excess oil and dulling skin cells that can make your skin appear old and wrinkled. By exfoliating regularly, your skin will appear more radiant and youthful, and it will help your anti-aging products penetrate your skin easier.
At the same time, don’t exfoliate too much. Did you know that scrubbing away at your skin can cause aging? By over-exfoliating you’re actually removing the only protective barrier that your skin has. If you remove the barrier then your skin is exposed to environmental toxins, not to mention the sun which causes the most damage to your skin. “Any damage, inflammation, and harm done to your skin will bring aging faster, including loss off hydration, elasticity and wrinkles. So the key is to use products that encourage a natural cell turn over,” says Dr. Ben Johnson, MD, founder of Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare.
Stop picking at those pesky zits and let them come out on their own, or use natural products to help eliminate them. Any time you pick or pull at your skin, you’re causing damage and creating irritation, scars, and yes, even wrinkles.
This is bad for creating more wrinkles but also just bad makeup practice in general. “You should do your makeup how everyone else is going to see you and hopefully its not with your mouth stretched opened and eyebrows lifted so you can put on your mascara. Don’t pull on your eyes and stretch them so you can put on your eye liner. It is about moving your whole face when you are applying makeup, not stretching it so it is flat,” says makeup artist Donna Kelly.
We’ve all been told to never skip the sunscreen, but it’s often tempting when many of us spend our days indoors. Exposure to the sun for even a few minutes can lead to a breakdown of collagen, leading to fine lines and wrinkles. “Wear sunscreen every day, rain or shine, so that you don’t get sun damage. Choose an SPF 30 and one that has zinc oxide or titanium dioxide,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a New York-based dermatologist and author of Skin Rules.
If you sleep on your face you can get sleep wrinkles from the pillow. “It’s best to sleep on a satin pillowcase that slides across your face. The other alternative is to sleep on your back,” says Dr. Jaliman.
Read more: How to Keep Hands Looking Young Forever