10 Unexpected Ways You Are Aging Your Skin
Chances are that you are doing all you can to maintain youthful looking skin. You may be diligent about wearing sunscreen daily, using an anti-aging product, and applying moisturizer. However, there are a few mistakes that people often make, not realizing that they are sabotaging their skin and causing extra wrinkles. Dr. Kally Papantoniou is a board certified New York Dermatologist. She sees many a patient who are unknowingly “skin saboteurs.” She asks, are you guilty of any of the following?
Sitting in front of a fire
Sun damage isn’t the only light source responsible for aging. New studies show that the heat emitted by fire affects the skin similarly to UV rays, resulting in thinner skin, blotchiness, dryness, and free radical damage. Dr. Papanatoniou cautions to, “Be sure to sit at least 3 feet away from fireplaces and keep your exposure brief.”
Not wearing sunglasses
This one is especially important to protect your eyes against that especially bright sun. However, sunglasses do more than just protect your eyes; they also play a role in protecting your skin against aging. Dr. Papantoniou says, “Repetitive squinting in bright light can lead to crow’s feet, which often require dermal fillers to smooth again. Try to keep sunglasses in your car so you’re less likely to find yourself out and about without them.”
Substituting sunscreen for a moisturizer
While it’s great that you have made using sunscreen part of your daily routine, it doesn’t provide the same benefits as your moisturizer. Dr. Papantoniou stresses that, “Not all sunscreens hydrate, and some may even add oil or dry out your skin. Apply both moisturizer and sunscreen for days out in the sun, or use a moisturizer with SPF for daily use.”
Going unprotected in the evening
While the middle of the day, 10:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon, is the most dangerous time for your skin, that doesn’t mean that you should be skipping your sunscreen regimen if you’re planning on being outside later in the day. ‘As long as the sun is up, you are susceptible to burns, even on cloudy, overcast days,” says Dr. Papantoniou.
Bathing in hot water
A steamy shower or dip in the hot tub may be great for sore muscles, but studies show it’s bad for your skin. That’s because hot water breaks down skin elasticity and causes premature wrinkling and sagging. When bathing, keep the water warm rather than piping hot and save the hot tub soaks for special occasions.
Eating refined sugar
Now there’s one more reason to curb your sweet tooth: Sugar damages collagen and elastin, youthful proteins that give the skin its firmness and elasticity. To keep your skin looking its best, swap sugary candy for fruit, skip the soda, and cut back on processed, packaged foods.
Pillow creases may be more than a temporary problem. Sleeping on your face for an extended period of time can cause permanent wrinkles to develop. Train yourself to sleep on your back or try a wrinkle-reducing pillow like JuveRest®, which minimizes the amount of contact between the fabric and your skin.
Sipping through a straw
“The puckering motion you use to drink through a straw is like that of smoking a cigarette, and can result in similar consequences. Using a straw etches vertical lines around your mouth that become more pronounced over time. Drink from a cup when possible to prolong a youthful pout, says Dr. Papantoniou.
Driving sans sunscreen
Did you know that the sun’s harmful rays actually penetrate the windows of your car? Protect your skin by lathering SPF 30 or higher onto your face, arms and especially your hands to prevent wrinkles and spots down the road. Any normal glass will block all UVB rays, so you won’t burn, but sadly none of the dangerous UVA rays. Dr. Papantoniou points out that, “UVA rays are the ones that prematurely age the skin and contribute to skin cancer.”
Squinting at your computer
Staring, frowning or squinting at a screen for too long can cause an unwanted line between your eyebrows and may lead to crow’s-feet around your eyes. It’s important to regularly visit your optometrist to have your eyes checked and be sure to take a break away from your desk every couple of hours.
About Dr. Kally Papantoniou:
Dr. Kally Papantoniou is a Cosmetic Dermatologist, Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology. She specializes in Injectables, Lasers, Body Contouring, Surgical and Medical Dermatology. Dr. Papantoniou is a clinical instructor in New York City at Mount Sinai Health Center, and can be seen at locations on Long Island and Queens. She is a New York trained Dermatologist, and applies expert technique and the newest technologies to treat her patients. Dr. Papantoniou focuses on providing her patients with the highest level of care, with special interests in natural and healthy alternatives to treatments and disease prevention.