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. Your beauty routines and habits can impact wrinkling as well. See the bad habits that affect your skin's aging process so you can cut them out ASAP.
Smoking is the most common cause of wrinkles. "There have been studies of twins that showed proof of this in stunning detail," says Joel Schlessinger, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon and founder of LovelySkin.com. "So skip cigarettes and lose the wrinkles!"
If you want to keep your skin healthy and young, the old saying that you are what you eat is definitely true. Eating too much sugar and high-glycemic foods doesn't just impact your weight—it could make you look older, too. "Through a damaging process called glycation, sugar molecules attach to the proteins in your skin (including collagen), causing them to become stiff and malformed," says Roshini Rajapaksa, M.D., a gastroenterologist, balanced health advocate, and co-founder of TULA. "This results in a loss of facial elasticity, as well as 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." So cut down on refined sugar and simple carbohydrates—your skin will thank you!
All alcohol dehydrates the skin, explains James C. Marotta, M.D., a dual-board-certified facial plastic surgeon. This means your skin will appear less plump and fresh the morning after you drink alcohol. 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 and 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 Marotta. Collagen and elasticity 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 Schlessinger. Additionally, it causes other issues in the mouth structure. This is an easy habit to give up in the name of preserving your skin.
Not Removing Makeup
When you sleep in your makeup, you're basically asking for wrinkles. 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 and leave you with fine lines and wrinkles. Cleanse and moisturize your skin every night before bed.
Stop picking at 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.
Stretching Your Skin to Apply Makeup
This practice creates wrinkles—and is generally frowned upon in the makeup world. "You should do your makeup how everyone else is going to see you, and hopefully it's not with your mouth stretched opened and eyebrows lifted so you can put on your mascara," says makeup artist Donna Kelly. "Don't pull on your eyes and stretch them so you can put on your eyeliner. It's about moving your whole face when you're applying makeup, not stretching it so it's flat."
We've all been told to never skip the sunscreen, but it's often tempting when many of us spend our days indoors. Even a few minutes of sun exposure can lead to a breakdown of collagen, though, and that leads 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 Debra Jaliman, M.D., 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," says Jaliman. "The other alternative is to sleep on your back."