Your genetics, chronological age and the sun play major roles in how well your skin will age, but your lifestyle and habits are huge contributing factors as well. If you’re hell bent on keeping those lines, wrinkles, uneven tone and rough-textured skin at bay, Dr. Mirwat Sami, a Houston board-certified Oculoplastic Surgeon has some recommendations for you:
SLEEP ON YOUR BACK: Sleeping on your side or stomach can cause uneven blood circulation which can deprive certain areas (including your skin) the nourishment it needs. Dr. Sami says that, “Not only do these sleeping positions cause wrinkles, poor blood circulation causes fluids to be stuck around your eyes.” This contributes to under eye bags and dark circles. Also, sleeping on your face or on one side can result in the descent of your features on that side. Dr. Sami adds, “I can usually tell which side my patients sleep on because there is more flattening and deflation of the face on that side.”
TURN DOWN THE HEAT: Dry, dehydrated skin can lead to premature aging and wrinkles. You need to add more moisture into the air to keep it from stealing the moisture from your skin. Turn down the heat and layer your clothing to stay warm and whether it’s the heat or air conditioning drying out the air, Dr. Sami recommends you “keep a glass of water in the room to increase humidity and wear a protective face cream to help relieve dryness.”
DON’T SMOKE: Smoking is ranked second to sun exposure as the leading cause of wrinkles because it “interferes with the absorption of Vitamin A and C, both of which provide us with skin protection,” says Sami. The nicotine in cigarettes also narrows the blood vessels in the outermost layers of the skin, impairing blood flow, depleting it of oxygen and important nutrients and decreasing its healing process. It also damages collagen and elastin, fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity making it sag and wrinkle prematurely. The heat from the cigarette causes irritation around the eyes and forces the smoker to squint more, leading to increased wrinkles around the eye area.
LIMIT YOUR SUGAR-INTAKE: Sugar consumption is also a major cause of wrinkles. “When blood sugar levels are high, glycation occurs which damages the collagen in your skin. Once damaged, the normally springy collagen hardens, leading to wrinkles and sagging,” according to Dr. Sami.
ABSTAIN FROM ALCOHOL: Though moderate alcohol consumption has been credited with everything from a longer life to better cardiovascular health and has even been shown to help prevent diabetes and dementia, when it comes to your skin alcohol is aging. It dehydrates the skin and according to Dr. Sami “can have a huge negative impact on your vitamin A level, which is a very important antioxidant for your skin and body, as it’s vital in the regeneration of new cells. Vitamin A is also extremely important in the production of collagen, which helps keep your skin supple, taut, and looking young.”
GIVE UP THE GUM: “Gum chewing produces a type of wrinkle that I see quite often on the lower mouth,” says Dr. Sami. For most, this is an easy habit to give up in the name of preserving your skin.
REMOVE YOUR MAKEUP EACH AND EVERY NIGHT: Makeup and environmental pollutants that accumulate on your skin during the day will seep into your pores and break down collagen and elastin, eventually causing lines and wrinkles. “Cleanse and moisturize your skin every night before bed,” Dr. Sami cautions.
LEAVE THE STRETCHING AT THE GYM: Avoid stretching your skin taut when applying your makeup. “Don’t pull on your eyes and stretch them so you can put on your eyeliner, which can create wrinkles. Instead, do your makeup how everyone else is going to see you, and hopefully it’s not with your mouth stretched open and eyebrows lifted so you can put on your mascara,” says Dr. Sami.
APPLY SUNSCREEN, REGARDLESS OF THE WEATHER: We all know the importance of sunscreen but it’s easy to skip it when you know you’ll be indoors all day. Don’t do it! Even a few minutes of sun exposure can lead to a breakdown of collagen. Dr. Sami stresses the need for “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.”