Getting older definitely comes with its share of benefits. For one thing, you’re wiser and more experienced. You’re more level-headed. You’ve figured out what’s really important in life … finally! Then there are the not so nice things that come with the territory – like wrinkles.
Of course, there are a lot of factors that will contribute to how many wrinkles you’ll develop over the years. Some, like genetics, you can’t do much about. However, you can delay their appearance or lower the likelihood of severe wrinkling by paying more attention to how you treat your skin on a daily basis. The following are a few of the most common habits that might be giving you wrinkles (or more of them) one day at a time.
- You’re a smoker.
At this point, we all know that smoking is terrible for you. After all, no one wants lung cancer or emphysema. What many people still don’t fully realize, though, is that smoking is just as bad for your skin as it is your lungs.
Smoking restricts the flow of blood to your skin, which in turn makes it hard for your cells to get the nutrients and oxygen they need in order to function properly. Cell regeneration slows down, and the overall health of your skin takes a nosedive, especially over time.
Cigarette smoke also destroys the elastin that keeps your skin firm, so not only will smoking give you wrinkles, but it will contribute to premature sagging and elasticity loss as well. Do your skin a big favor and kick the habit.
- You’ve got a real sweet tooth.
If you’re the sort of person that eats a pastry for breakfast every morning, snacks on sweets all day long, or can’t even picture dinner without dessert, you’re not just putting your waistline in jeopardy. You’re also contributing to the appearance of wrinkles.
Sugar molecules bind to body tissues via a process known as glycation. Harmful molecules are created in the process. Once these molecules find their way into your bloodstream, they can damage the collagen and elastin your skin counts on to stay firm, supple, and unwrinkled. Try satisfying your sweet tooth with fresh fruit instead.
- You’re inconsistent about using sunscreen.
By now, everyone knows that sun damage is a real thing that can not only give you cancer, but age you prematurely. They also know that wearing sunscreen is important. What they don’t always understand is that sun protection isn’t just for sunny days at the beach.
Sunscreen should be worn every single day, rain or shine, cloudy or sunny, winter or summer if you’re serious about sidestepping sun-related aging. Make sure yours is SPF 30 or higher. It should also be a broad spectrum sunscreen so that you’re protected from both UVB and UVA rays.
- You’re in the habit of chewing gum.
Lots of people count on gum to keep their breath kissing fresh all day long. However, it’s important to be aware that frequent chewing can contribute to the formation and severity of wrinkles. This is because the constant chewing action encourages your mouth to continually form various shapes. What’s more, wrinkles caused by gum chewing are notoriously difficult to treat or undo.
Trade in your gum for fresh alternatives like breath strips or mints. Your breath will stay just as pleasant while your face stays wrinkle-free. A win-win situation for sure!
- You tend to sleep on your stomach.
When you make a habit of applying pressure to your face, you’re bound to cause some creases. Some of those creases will eventually become permanent wrinkles if the behavior isn’t corrected. When you sleep on your stomach, this happens when you press your face into your pillow at night. Some people also frown in their sleep, which naturally also leads to wrinkles.
For best results, try training yourself to sleep on your back instead. If you suspect you might be frowning in your sleep, try applying skin stabilizing tape as part of your bedtime routine.
- You’re positively addicted to your SmartPhone.
Staring at your SmartPhone for hours on end can give you more than a painful crick in your neck. Most people bend their necks at odd angles for long periods so that they can stare down at their phones, which can easily lead to the formation of wrinkles south of your chin area.
Try to become more aware of your posture when you’re using your tablet or SmartPhone. Train yourself to adopt a more ergonomic position instead of constantly staring down, or invest in a stand for your devices.
- You frequently forget to take your make-up off before bed.
By now, we all know wearing make-up to bed is a no-no. However, it’s not just because it can lead to breakouts and permanently enlarged pores. Making a habit of it will also worsen any wrinkles you might already have, not to mention give you a few new ones to boot.
Just the act of going about your business during the day exposes your skin to pollution, dirt, and other irritants. These toxins contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, speeding up the aging process and worsening wrinkles. Leaving old make-up and daily build-up on your skin throughout the night only increases exposure. Always make sure to clean thoroughly with a gentle cleanser and follow up with a night cream each evening before you turn in.
- You drink too much or too frequently.
Have you ever noticed that the morning after you have a few cocktails, your skin feels dryer and less plump than usual? It’s not your imagination. In healthy, moderate amounts, a little red wine can be good for you. However, frequent or heavy drinking can seriously dehydrate your skin.
Excessive alcohol consumption can also affect your body’s levels of Vitamin A, an important antioxidant. Low Vitamin A levels can lead to deficient collagen production, leading to loss of elasticity and the deepening of wrinkles over time.
If you can’t see your way clear to giving up alcohol altogether, monitor your drinking and make sure it stays within healthy recommended levels – no more than two drinks daily for men and one for women. Your skin will thank you for it!